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Egyptian Art                          107
body; sometimes it is the curving part of a vessel, and in such
case the hollow is concealed by a thin lid cut in the form of a
petal, a wing, or a vase.
But what gives such outstanding value to the cosmetic spoons
is the fact that the craftsman usually went much further, in mak-
ing them, than the practical purpose required, finding in them
an opportunity for depicting miniature idylls, or even scenes of
action, such as the lion bringing down its prey, or a dog in the
water, seizing a fat fish by the tail. Other scenes of graceful
fancy take us to an imaginary country where the lotus rears its
flower-crowned stem as high as the papyrus, where tiny skiffs
,can be used for boating, and where life is all dancing, music-
making, flower-picking, and hunting the water-fowl. Probably,
if we knew more of the love-songs of ancient Egypt, we should
recognize in these young men and maidens of the cosmetic
spoons the characters of popular lyrics. Mention must be made,
too, of the pretty nosegay-shaped spoons which ladies of fashion
may, very likely, have carried to society functions, for the same
reason that women of to-day carry a powder compact.
The listing of these cosmetic spoons is one of the archaeo-
logical tasks still remaining. It would produce the most unex-
pected, and no doubt the most brilliant evidence in favour of
Egyptian art.
 xviii. Statues of the Sa'ite period
It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of these
works, created, as they were, at a point when Egyptian civiliza-
tion, in process of decline, arrested for the last time its down-
ward course and strove for a renaissance on the basis of the
traditions of the Memphis period. It was the age, too, when
the Greeks, having established their power round the whole
Aegean coastline, were beginning, under the influence of Eastern
civilizations, to enter on their rapid ascent. Comparison of the
Saite statues with archaic Greek sculpture does not produce the