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HOME : Egyptian Antiquities : Middle Kingdom : Middle Kingdom Alabaster Jar
Middle Kingdom Alabaster Jar - CK.0194
Origin: Egypt
Circa: 2200 BC to 1800 BC
Dimensions: 1.75" (4.4cm) high x 1.675" (4.3cm) wide
Collection: Egyptian Antiquities
Medium: Alabaster

Location: United States
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Alabaster is a fine-grained, massive, translucent variety of gypsum, a hydrous calcium sulphate. Alabaster occurs naturally in many shades of color, from pure white to reddish-tan. Like all other forms of gypsum, alabaster forms by the evaporation of bedded deposits that are precipitated mainly from evaporating seawater. Indigenous to Egypt, alabaster has been quarried for more than seven thousand years from a source just a few miles behind the Valley of the Kings in ancient Thebes. This stone was prized by the pharaohs for its luminous properties. When held up to the light, the stone absorbs the glow and spreads it evenly throughout its structure, becoming almost translucent if carved thinly enough. The Ancient Egyptians used this wonderful material for many purposes, including household items, ritual objects, and for a number of different funerary uses such as sarcophagi and canopic jars.

Egyptian alabaster vessels were owned by the wealthy, served as royal paraphernalia for ritual libations and for the storage of oils, ointment, cosmetics and other costly substances. The small size of this vessel suggests that it once held expensive and precious materials befitting such a luxurious container. - (CK.0194)


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