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Small Vessel with Banded Neck Decoration Permanent Collection:
Ancient Near Eastern Art:
Small Vessel with Banded Neck Decoration

Levant, Jericho, Tomb J42, ca. 1800 - 1550 B.C. Gypsum. 3 1/8 x 2 3/8 in. (7.8 x 6 cm). 1955.2

Small vessels made from polished translucent stone, like alabaster or gypsum, served as containers for ointments, precious perfumes, and aromatic oils. These delicate and small-mouthed vessels were first produced in Egypt and evolved into a variety of shapes that were imported or imitated and locally produced in the Levant and around the Mediterranean during the second and first millennia B.C. At the site of Jericho, some of the vessels were made locally from a relatively soft gypsum obtained from Beisan, some 70 km from the site.

This vessel's unusual shape reveals a sturdy flat base supporting a broad body and narrow neck that splays outward and conceals a small opening. Like other stone vessels of this type, its decoration is minimal with a simple but elegant ropelike band encircling the base of the neck. Such vessels and their contents were valued and cherished at Jericho, for they accompanied the dead and were placed in tombs for use in the afterlife.

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