Hedgehog Cosmetic Pot

11008262-2004_051_002_Jpa_ARC.tif

Title

Hedgehog Cosmetic Pot

Keywords

vessel, container

Date

664-180 BC

Context

Late Period, Dynasty 26 - early Ptolemaic Period
Egypt
Egyptian

Medium/Dimensions

Faience
2 x 2 1/2 x 1 1/4 in. (5.1 x 6.4 x 3.2 cm)

Object Number

2004.051.002

Description

This small faience vessel in the shape of a hedgehog was most likely a perfume or cosmetic vessel. Texts and images tell us that both men and women wore eye makeup and applied perfume. Perfume was associated with the divine in ancient Egypt and the presence of a deity is sometimes signaled by a sweet smell in Egyptian texts. This charming vessel is one of many in different shapes and sizes representing the hedgehog, a creature that lived in the deserts of Egypt. Hedgehogs were eaten in ancient Egypt but it seems they may have had a greater significance as their images are often included in Old Kingdom tomb scenes. Some small sculptures are found in the Middle Kingdom, and their form is exploited in the New Kingdom for cosmetic vessels, pottery, and jewelry. It has been suggested that the hedgehog has an apotropaic character because of its ability to curl up in a ball and protect the vulnerable parts of its body when danger approached. Also, due to their sharp needles, hedgehogs were largely immune to the bites of venomous creatures such as snakes or scorpions. While this vessel may draw on the aforementioned associations of the creature it is also likely that the Egyptians simply enjoyed the decorative possibilities of the hedgehog form and therefore incorporated it into their vessel design.

Credit Line

Gift of Mohamed Farid Khamis and Oriental Weavers

Exhibits/Publications

From Pharaohs to Emperors: New Egyptian and Classical Antiquities at Emory, Michael C. Carlos Museum, January 14 - April 2, 2006|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, 2008 - Present
Mark A. Brandes, Vom Euphrat zum Nil: Kunst aus dem alten Aegypten und Vorderasien (Bern: Die Gesellschaft, 1985), 55, figure 28.|
Pharaoh's Creatures: Animals from Ancient Egypt (London: Rupert Wace Ancient Art Ltd., 2004), number 70.

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2006.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

Yes

Citation

“Hedgehog Cosmetic Pot,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 21, 2018, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7801.

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