Cosmetic Ibex Vase of Tutankhamun
This alabaster cosmetic vase of King Tutankhamun, which is a unique piece of art, was shaped in the form of an ibex, or goat, with real horns, one of which is missing. The eyes are inlaid and have black lids. The ears of the ibex were pierced but the earrings are missing.
The back of the animal has a hole. The body of the vase is decorated with the name of Tutankhamun in a cartouche below the solar disk flanked by two feathers. The vessel stands on a slab of calcite. It once contained oils, which were stolen soon after the tomb was sealed.
The horn (only one remains) is real; the eyes, made from inlays of bronze and glass paste, are particularly expressive and the painted ivory tongue that protrudes from the lips realistically suggests the animal is bleating.
The unusual container is an excellent indication of the creative freedom of Egyptian artists when they were not bound by the complex regal symbolism of the funerary cult.
New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1332-1323 BC. Height 27.5 cm Length 38.5 cm, width 18.5 cm. Calcite alabaster. From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 62122