Vase with goat handle
This silver vase looks like a pomegranate with a golden handle in the shape of a goat. It was discovered in one of the sanctuaries of goddess Bastet in Per-Bast or Bubastis (Tell Basta). 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 vase. It is inscribed for the “first royal cup bearer” and “envoy to all foreign countries” Atumemtaneb.
This vase is regarded as a clear proof of the great skill, wide imagination and creativity of the ancient Egyptian artist who used the gold goat as an elegant handle for the vase. It is adorned with some carvings that make it a good omen for its owner in addition to some prayers for the deities.
The lower base is ornamented with some scenes of everyday life. The neck of the vase is adorned with two rows of hieroglyphic inscriptions and depictions of real and mythical creatures. The body is ornamented with a small drop-shaped motif arranged in a way that forms the shape of a man praying to a goddess.
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 National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), Cairo. JE 39867 CG 53262