This masterpiece of Early Dynastic stone carving has the shape of two intricately linked hieroglyphs. The two bent arms that frame three sides of the dish are read "ka," the word for "spirit" in ancient Egyptian. The loop and knot are read "ankh," meaning "life," or "to live." The combination could be interpreted as the phrase "life to thy spirit" or as the name of a person, Ankh-ka. The dish was undoubtedly used to pour a purifying liquid, probably water, that would take on the magical significance of the hieroglyphs.
#3230. Libation Dish Depicting Ka-Arms Presenting an Ankh-Sign
Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part I: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 42-43, fig. 31.