Cosmetic Vessel



Container for cosmetics in the form of a servant carrying a jar. The elderly male servant, dressed in a long pleated kilt, bent double under the weight of a large jar carried on his shoulders and held up by his right arm. The wide-mouthed jar has two long vertical handles and is decorated in carved bands of checkerboards, circles and lotus leaves. The hollow jar was intended to contain cosmetic unguents and had a lid, now missing. The left hand of the man is drilled, presumably for the insertion of a small spatula or stick with which the cosmetic was applied. Small traces of paint survive on the jar. The style of this object is very similar to a cosmetic container from the 18th Dynasty tomb of Hatiay, Thebes, excavated by Daressy in 1896 and now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo (museum no. JE 31382). Joseph Mayer bought this object in 1850 from Joseph Sams who had purchased it between 1830 and 1838 from Charles Bogaert, a Bruges businessman. It has been suggested that Bogaert received a group of antiquities as repayment of a debt from Jean-Baptiste de Lescluze, a Belgian ship-owner and merchant who had collected the material in Egypt between 1824 and 1825.