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Tut Exhibit - King Tutankhamun Exhibit, Collection: Statues, Sculptures and Containers - Unguent Vase in the Form of an Ibex


The Tutankhamun Exhibit

Statues, Sculptures and Containers

Unguent vase in the form of an ibex with red coated ivory tongue and real horn

Unguent Vase in the Form of an Ibex


The tomb of Tutankhamun contained a few containers in the shape of animals, and this one, like the one in the shape of a lion, came from the Annex. While animal-form jars were produced in the early periods of Egyptian history, they did not regain their popularity until the latter part of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

Carved of a single piece of calcite, this vase takes the form of an ibex, whose body has been hollowed out to receive its contents. It rests on a low slab of calcite. The opening or mouth of the vessel is on the back of the creature. The oils that it contained were stolen in one of the robberies of the tomb, shortly after the tomb had been sealed.

To heighten the realism of the composition, actual ibex horns were attached to the head, but only one survives. It may have secondary carving to add to its effect. The eyes, inlaid into metal sockets, were formed of glass or crystal, and the details were painted on the underside. The protruding tongue is made of ivory, stained red. The animal's markings and other features such as the hooves were painted on the surface, and a cartouche with the king's throne name appears on the left shoulder. The ears of the animal were pierced, but the earrings have not survived.

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