The J. Paul Getty Museum

Fragmentary Oinochoe

Object Details


Fragmentary Oinochoe




Greek (Ptolemaic)


Egypt (Place Created)


243–222 B.C.



Object Number:



22.2 × 14 cm (8 3/4 × 5 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

A relief portrait of Berenike II, the queen of Egypt, decorates this fragmentary faience oinochoe or pitcher. Standing between an altar and a pillar, Berenike holds a cornucopia--a symbol of wealth and prosperity--and pours a libation or liquid offering to the gods from a phiale or shallow cup. An inscription in Greek over the altar reads, "To the good fortune of Queen Berenike." She was the wife of Ptolemy III who ruled from 246 to 221 B.C. as part of the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty that controlled Egypt in the Hellenistic period.

Although its neck is missing, this vase is one of the best preserved examples of a class of offering vessels scholars call "Queen's vases." These faience oinochoai depicting Ptolemaic queens offering libations represent a fusion of the Greek and Egyptian elements that co-existed in Ptolemaic Egypt. Faience was a traditional Egyptian material for offering vessels, but the oinochoe shape, the subject matter, and the style of the depiction are Greek. Beginning in 285 B.C. Ptolemaic rulers were worshiped as gods, and these vases were connected with their cult. During religious festivals, these jugs would have held wine for libations in honor of the royal family.

- 1994

The Merrin Gallery (New York, New York), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1994.

1994 - 1996

Barbara Fleischman and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997 (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

Gifts of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Faience (May 10, 1998 to April 25, 1999)
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland), May 10 to July 5, 1998
  • Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (Providence), August 24, 1998 to January 3, 1999
  • Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth), January 31 to April 25, 1999
Pergamon and the Art of the Hellenistic Kingdoms (April 11 to July 17, 2016)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), April 11 to July 17, 2016
Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World (March 27 to September 9, 2018)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 27 to September 9, 2018

Karen Manchester, "A Ptolemaic Oinochoe of Berenike II. The Queen's Vase." Re/Collections, The Merrin Gallery, 1994, no. 3.

Kozloff, Arielle P. "Is There an Alexandrian Style-What is Egyptian about It?" In Alexandria and Alexandrianism. Kenneth Hamma, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996), p. 252; fig. 4.

Friedman, Florence Dunn. "Gifts of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Faience," Minerva 9, 3 (May/June 1998), pp. 8-17, p. 15; fig. 22.

Rhode Island School of Design. Gifts of the Nile. Ancient Egyptian Faience (exh. cat., Florence D. Friedman, ed.). Cleveland Museum of Art, May 10-July 5, 1998; Rhode Island School of Design, August 24, 1998-January 3, 1999; Kimbell Art Museum, Ft. Worth, January 31-April 15, 1999. Providence: 1998, pp. 99, 200, no. 62.

"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997-98), p. 69.

Pfrommer, Michael, with E. Towne Markus. Greek Gold from Hellenistic Egypt. Getty Museum Studies on Art (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), 36 fig. 25.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 99.

van Oppen de Ruiter, Branko F. Berenice II Euergetis: Essays in Early Hellenistic Queenship (New York: Palgrave Macmillian, 2015), pp. 52-3, pl. 3.6.

Picón, Carlos A. and Seán Hemingway, eds. Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2016), pp. 228-229, no. 162, ill., entry by David Saunders.

Spier, Jeffrey, et al., eds. Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World, exh. cat.  (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2018), p. 182, no. 114, ill., entry by Sara E. Cole.