Vase with goat handle

This silver vase looks like a pomegranate with a golden handle in the shape of a goat. The goat’s legs give the impression of movement. Around the jug is a decoration of hearts, perhaps as a sign of protection. 

After the hearts there are hieroglyphic texts that may be magical spells for drinking or to purify the contents of the jug. It is inscribed for the “first royal cup bearer” and “envoy to all foreign countries” Atumemtaneb.

Vase with goat handle. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 39867
Vase with goat handle. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 39867

Finds of gold and silver plate are rare as the metals were often melted down to produce other objects. This example was part of a hoard found in a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Bastet.

Wine services do not seem to have a long history in Egypt, but appear to have been introduced in the New Kingdom when wine-drinking became a feature of elite society in the Ramesside Period.

Most if not all of the vessels in Tell Basta find belonged to just such a wine service associated presumably with a temple festival. It is dedicated to the royal butler Atumemtaneb, who was also a royal envoy to all foreign lands.

New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty, reign of Ramesses II, ca. 1279-1213 BC. Height 16.5 cm. From Tell-Basta (Bubastis). Treasure discovered in 1906. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 39867 CG 53262