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Offering Basin

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Funerary Gallery 3, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Objects like this were called “basins for libations.” Priests used them in tombs to receive poured offerings for the deceased, such as water, beer, or milk. The basin was sunk flush with the floor inside the tomb. According to some Egyptologists, the basin could be interpreted metaphorically as a tree-shaded pool where the deceased could row or relax.
MEDIUM Limestone
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 2345–2195 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 6
    PERIOD Old Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 5 1/8 x 10 1/2 x 15 5/8 in. (13 x 26.7 x 39.7 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Limestone offering table. Viewed from above, the table is oblong in shape with slightly rounded corners. Seen from the side, the sides are vertical for a short distance and then taper towards a very slightly rounded base. On one side of the upper surface there are two concentric rectangular depressions, the interior one being deeper than the exterior depression. On the other side is an unfinished representation, in raised relief, of a large "htp (written in pen)" flanked on one side by a circular bread, and on the other by a circular object decorated with a crescent-shaped depression enclosing a circular depression in the center. Around the rectangular depressions is the following inscription executed in non-raised relief: [hieroglyphic inscription]. The name, according to Dr. Federn, is Khenut. He sees the word "wife" surviving in the title, now largely missing, which would make her "The King's Wife". Condition: Representation of offerings rough without details: either unfinished or worn; large chips out of edges; inscription incomplete.
    CAPTION Offering Basin, ca. 2345–2195 B.C.E. Limestone, 5 1/8 x 10 1/2 x 15 5/8 in. (13 x 26.7 x 39.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1493E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1493E_NegB_glass_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.1493E_NegB_glass_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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