louie on Mar 5 2009, 03:35 PM, said:
It certainly does exist. It's beautifully carved peice of stone made at a time when stone carved accoutrements were in competiton with those made from metal. In the case of the Egyptians, that would have been copper.
The most reasonable explanation appears right there in S8int.com, which is certainly unusual for that site, which someone else pointed out in an earlier post.
A wick system comprising six bundles of rushes, bound together, were held in place by the lobes and thus kept immersed in the oil. If the ends of the four bundles were separated sufficiently, then twelve separate flames may have resulted instead of three.
Similar types of lamps (holders of multiple bundles of rushes)have been found made of stone and of copper, but not so nicely shaped.
Your linked site also states the following:
Turns out the thing is not made of schist, though it was originally reported that it was (most Egyptologists are not geologists, so we can forgive this minor error.)
This allows for fine detail and intricate shapes to be carved into vessels, statues, palettes, and other such objects. Metasiltstone as a material for vessel manufacturing came into use during the middle Predynastic and was used extensively during the Early Dynastic Period (Aston 1994). Besides the tri-lobed bowl there are a number of intricately carved metasiltstone objects known from the Early Dynastic, such as a very ornate toilet tray (Fig. 8), flower-shaped vessels (e.g. 1st Dynasty, UC37063 - Note: identified as greywacke but more likely metasiltstone, metagreywacke was not used until the Old Kingdom and not for vessels (Nicholson & Shaw 2000) -, vessels shaped as leaves (e.g. 1st - 2nd Dynasty, UC35653), vessels shaped to imitate basket-work (e.g. 1st - 2nd Dynasty, UC35654), vessels shaped as hieroglyphic symbols (e.g. 1st Dynasty, libation dish), and even used to imitate metal vessels (e.g. a stone vessel with simulated rivet-heads (Lauer 1976, pl. 109). Many of these sophisticated and creative designs are unique to the Early Dynastic Period, showing a high degree of experimentation in artistic expression during this time.
Plenty more pics at that site. If I'd thought that S8int would link to reasonable info, I could have saved time and gone to the link they provided which, remarkably, is very informative. It contains what I found at the above site along with a detailed explanation of how the "bowl" was probably carved.
The site S8int linked is to a paper by Archae Solenhofen, a name I've come across many times online and one I've never had any reason to be skeptical of. Solenhofen, as far as I can tell (I don't know the man's credentials,) is an expert in Egyptian stone carving.