Small model vessels, solid or with only token cavities, first appear in tombs during the early Old Kingdom. They were placed in the subterranean burial apartments to provide symbolic sustenance for the afterlife. Carved from a single piece of banded alabaster, this small model container is of a type known as a nemset jar, well-attested as a libation vessel used in funerary and temple rituals for nearly three thousand years. The cylindrical form, with domed lid and small, pouring spout is less often found, the rounder version being more frequently shown in scenes where the king, holding a round jar in each hand, adores the god.
Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall, a rare and fine example.
Dimensions: Height: 1.5 inches (3.81 cm)
Provenance: Property from the Estate of Joan Conway Crancer, St. Louis, Missouri acquired from Galerie du Sycomore, Paris, 8 November 1990.
Born into an artist’s world, Joan Conway Crancer spent her entire life surrounded by art and artists. The only daughter of legendary St. Louis painter, Fred Conway, Joan grew up watching him work and came to appreciate art in all its forms, as well as the people who create it. Her early experience fostered her love of collecting and over the years, the collection she built with her husband and their commitment to the arts grew. The Crancers became actively involved with the Saint Louis Art Museum, where Joan served for many years as a Museum Trustee and a member of its Acquisitions Committee. Always generous to the Museum, the couple were members of its Beaux Arts Council and were the honorees for the Council’s 1999 Awards Dinner. They also endowed a gallery in the Museum, which is named for Alice and Fred Conway, Joan’s parents. Joan remained an Honorary Trustee of the Museum throughout her life.