• Fri. Mar 31st, 2023

Egyptians: Perfume Bottle of Hatshepsut


Sep 20, 2022

Many individuals will bear in mind this fragrance bottle in Germany’s Bonn College Egyptian Museum from an article in 2009 about recreating the fragrance by deconstructing the residue of its contents. There was large fanfare about it belonging to King Hatshepsut, and that the bottle was discovered amongst her belongings. I do know of no excavation by which Hatshepsut’s belongings have been discovered apart from her tomb within the Valley of the Kings which to my data contained largely broken funerary items.

The photograph presents a very good view of the bottles define which bears no symmetry that I might count on from a royal vessel. A finer craftsman would have labored the easy bottle to a way more sharper end. An object with a cartouche on it doesn’t imply that it belonged to a king aside from the technicality that the whole lot belonged to the king. However, when you have been Hatshepsut and wished to reward a courtier for his or her loyalty would you give this shabby manufacturing.

This isn’t appropriate for a queens dressing desk, are you able to see this factor on Queen Victoria’s dressing desk or Queen Elizabeth’s? I’d counsel that the lord of the 2 lands would probably be furnished by the royal workshops and never with provincial mediocrity as is offered right here. I might additionally suspect that such a vessel for a queen’s boudoir is perhaps made out of gold or silver comparable to Tutankhamun’s double cartouche scent field.

Within the tomb of Tutankhamun have been discovered many vessels carved from alabaster together with two formed like lions, and although lots of the vessels could also be seen as gaudy all of them are the creation of the best carvers. The Hatshepsut bottle in Bonn doesn’t belong within the custom of any of Tutankhamun’s alabaster vessels, The bottle in Bonn doesn’t belong to a royal custom.

This custom could be present in quite a few examples of beauty vessels predating Hatshepsut from the Center Kingdom by which some examples have been even carved of obsidian. A way more difficult medium to carve in than alabaster. This custom of high quality in reducing stone vessels goes again to the earliest dynasties main as much as the Previous Kingdom.

The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork in New York has a tremendous alabaster scent bottle within the type of a cat rather more worthy a royal boudoir. Unlucky that the item is with out provenance.

I’ve little doubt that the Bonn bottle and its contents are certainly historic and as a bottle with out the cartouche that it will have had little or no worth as a memento. Carve Hatshepsut’s cartouche on it and it turns into a royal object price many, many instances greater than with out. A particular motive for deception.

So what’s unsuitable with the Hatshepsut cartouche?

The three characters embody the weather of Hatshepsut’s throne title together with the factor within the middle of the goddess Maat, beneath the goddess we discover the upraised arms of the Ka factor and lastly on high the solar disk of the god Re. The hieroglyphs are appropriate it’s the spacing right here that’s in query.

Evidently the engraver began with the cartouche define adopted by the Ka factor which dominates virtually half the area within the cartouche inflicting the Maat and Re components to be crammed into the remaining area above. This factor can be not centered. The flat base of the cartouche, the goddess, and the Re factor have been drilled uncomfortably deep and even the cartouche define is scratchy in look.

It’s for me, nonetheless, the patina inside all these engraved components that’s not proper. If something these particulars ought to be darker than the physique but there’s indicators the colour of the patina has been broken within the space of the cartouche as these engravings seem at the very least from this {photograph} to be lighter than the floor of the bottle itself. It’s, after all, unimaginable to completely choose a murals from one {photograph} as on this case the item seems to have been photographed with a light-weight supply above the bottle and this will intrude with the patina within the cartouche as photographed.

Whether or not I’m proper in regards to the cartouche being pretend or not the bottle’s manufacture is beneath a royal function after all of the king is citizen primary and as such worthy of the best merchandise the workshops produced, and because of this alone, it’s unlikely that Hatshepsut ever got here involved with this meager object.


{Photograph} Courtesy of Bonn University Egyptian Museum
Bonn University
Article on the bottle from National Geographic by Christine Dell’Amore 
Picture of Tutankhamun’s waving lion bottle: Tour Egypt
Cat Cosmetic Vessel: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Hyperlinks to extra Fragrance Bottles;
18th Dynasty perfume bottle: The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork
Trussed ducks bottle: The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork
Harry Burton pictures of vessels in Tutankhamun’s tomb: The Griffith InstituteOxford University

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