Fragment eines verzierten Salblöffels

Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst München


The group of two pinioned enemies shows a so far unique motif for the design of a handle for the bowl of a spoon. Two male figures are bound back to back at the height of their elbows to a pole standing between them that is shown in the guise of a papyrus cluster. The pole ends at the height of the crowns of their heads; above the curved lug of a large, oval bowl of a spoon is preserved. The two figures are marked as foreign by their iconography. The man on the left with long hair, aquiline nose and beard is Asian; the man on the right with curly hair, a flat nose and black face and upper body is Nubian. He represents the South, the Asian man the North, together they stand for all the foreign countries dominated by Egypt.

Since the early Egyptian period (3100-2686 BC), spoons with figurative handles have been known, made from ivory and wood, stone and faience. They served for the storage and offer of ointments. In the private sphere, they were used as toiletries, the handles (or the entire spoon) display plant motifs, such as flowers or bunches of flowers, women playing music or swimming as well as animals, for example ducks and antelopes. In addition, the decorated spoons were also used in the context of sacrificial offerings to the gods in the temple. In this case, foreigners, animals, or the cartouche, the oval enclosing the royal name, appear as motifs on the spoon (handle).

The black dots distributed on the bodies and loincloths are typical for a faience workshop in the delta of the Nile. Together with the dull light-green colour and quality of the faience, they point at a date of creation during the Third Intermediate Period.


Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst München (SMAEK)