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Work Water pot in the name of the vizier Paser

Department of Egyptian Antiquities: The New Kingdom (circa 1550 to circa 1069 BC)

Water pot in the name of the vizier Paser

© Musée du Louvre/C. Décamps

Egyptian Antiquities
The New Kingdom (circa 1550 to circa 1069 BC)

Author(s):
Christophe Barbotin

This faience pot, designed in theory to hold water in which to dip a brush, also represented a sign of submission to the vizier Paser, head of the administration of Upper Egypt during the early reign of Ramesses II: any zealous scribe who recited the offering formula on behalf of his superior would receive a divine reward in return.

A reward for a pious act

This truncated cone-shaped pot, inscribed with a column and three lines of hieroglyphs, was designed to hold water for diluting ink, but more especially for pouring a few drops prior to starting work, while reciting the meal formula on behalf of Paser (mayor of Thebes and vizier in the early reign of Ramesses II): "Any scribe who writes with this pot, who uses it to pour water, and recites (the formula) 'May the king grant the offering of a thousand loaves of bread and jars of beer to the person of his Excellency the noble overseer of the great chamberlains of the Lord of the Two Lands, overseer of the City, the vizier Paser' will be favored by Thoth, Seshat, and the Beloved who listens (to prayers)!" As was often the case with texts of this type, the reader's willingness was stimulated by the prospect of reward—the favor of the gods in this instance.

The overseer and the gods

The "Beloved who listens" was doubtless Amun-Ra, whose sympathetic ear was often called upon. The other gods were Thoth, "Lord of hieroglyphs," and his secretary Seshat, both of whom were renowned as specialists of books and writing; it was natural to invoke them as Paser, vizier of Upper Egypt, headed the administration of the southern half of the country. As the Egyptian administration consisted entirely of scribes, the gods would be delighted to have this legion of civil servants in submission to them…

Bibliography

L'inscription dit : "Que tout scribe sur le point d'écrire en se servant de ce godet fasse une libation (verse quelques gouttes au sol) en disant : une offrande de mille pains et bières au ka de Son Excellence... le vizir Paser."

Technical description

  • Water pot in the name of the vizier Paser

    Nineteenth Dynasty, reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC)

  • Siliceous faience, glaze

    H. 4cm; Diam. 6 cm

  • Purchased in 1868, former Rousset Bey collection

    E 5344

  • Egyptian Antiquities

    Sully wing
    Ground floor
    Writing and scribes
    Room 6

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