An extremely fine Arabian ram-decorated beehive alabastron, engraved from a complete alabaster piece. Its elegant body is conveyed by a smooth, unbroken line that forms a globular bell-shaped body. It has a flat base and a short neck that flares into a wide opening with an everted lip. Two lug handles, asymmetrically arranged at each side of the container, are stylistically sculpted into a recumbent ram. It has a round lid, featuring a slightly convex surface, on which a small recumbent ram is naturalistically sculpted as a lid-knob. The rams are portrayed in a realistic manner, stylistically reminiscent of typical Mesopotamian representations.
This elegant vessel is a rare example, differing from the usual richly-ornamented Mesopotamian stone vessels, that were sculpted either as long, cylindrical forms or as delicate cups. With its protruding knobs and handles, sculpted into a ram terminal, this piece stylistically reflects aesthetic influences coming beyond the traditional Mesopotamian regions. The recumbent rams, ornamenting the lid and the handles of this vessel, are reminiscent of the ram-terminated knobs carved on Sumerian cylinder seals. However, its bell-shaped body and lid indicate a strong exotic cultural exchange that might have taken place during the Early Dynastic period (circa 2900-2350 BC).
Date: Circa 2900 – 2350 BC