Alabaster

Alabaster gypsumabovealabastarEgyptian alabastergypsum alabasterredstone
Alabaster is a mineral or rock that is soft, often used for carving, and is processed for plaster powder.wikipedia
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Gypsum

gypsiferouscalcium sulfate dihydrategypseous
The former use is in a wider sense that includes varieties of two different minerals: the fine-grained massive type of gypsum and the fine-grained banded type of calcite. Geologists define alabaster only as the gypsum type. Chemically, gypsum is a hydrous sulfate of calcium, while calcite is a carbonate of calcium.
A massive fine-grained white or lightly tinted variety of gypsum, called alabaster, has been used for sculpture by many cultures including Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Ancient Rome, the Byzantine Empire, and the Nottingham alabasters of Medieval England.

Calcite

calcareouscalciticcalcite crystals
The former use is in a wider sense that includes varieties of two different minerals: the fine-grained massive type of gypsum and the fine-grained banded type of calcite. Chemically, gypsum is a hydrous sulfate of calcium, while calcite is a carbonate of calcium.
When applied by archaeologists and stone trade professionals, the term alabaster is used not just as in geology and mineralogy, where it is reserved for a variety of gypsum; but also for a similar-looking, translucent variety of fine-grained banded deposit of calcite.

Bastet

BastBa'atBaset
The name may be derived further from ancient Egyptian "a-labaste", which refers to vessels of the Egyptian goddess Bast.
The name of the material known as alabaster might, through Greek, come from the name of the goddess.

Sculpture

sculptorsculpturessculpting
There they are cut to the needed size ("squaring"), and then are processed in different techniques: turned on a lathe for round shapes, carved into three-dimensional sculptures, chiselled to produce low relief figures or decoration; and then given an elaborate finish that reveals its transparency, colour, and texture.
Alabaster or mineral gypsum is a soft mineral that is easy to carve for smaller works and still relatively durable.

Assyrian sculpture

Assyrian palace reliefsAssyrian artAssyrian relief
Calcite alabaster, harder than the gypsum variety, was the kind primarily used in ancient Egypt and the wider Middle East (but not Assyrian palace reliefs), and is also used in modern times.
It forms a phase of the art of Mesopotamia, differing in particular because of its much greater use of stone and gypsum alabaster for large sculpture.

Alabastron

alabastra
This was the case with small flasks of the alabastron type made in Cyprus from the Bronze Age into the Classical period.
They originated around the 11th century BC in ancient Egypt as containers carved from alabaster – hence the name – but spread via ancient Greece to other parts of the classical world.

Sir John Soane's Museum

Soane MuseumSir John Soane MuseumMuseum
A sarcophagus discovered in the tomb of Seti I near Thebes is on display in Sir John Soane's Museum, London; it is carved in a single block of translucent calcite alabaster from Alabastron.
As his practice prospered, Soane was able to collect objects worthy of the British Museum, including the alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I, covered in Egyptian hieroglyphs, discovered by Giovanni Battista Belzoni, bought on 12 May 1824 for £2000 —Soane's most expensive art work.

Tell Brak

NagarNagar, Syriamap
Alabaster was used for vessels dedicated for use in the cult of the deity Bast in the culture of the ancient Egyptians, and thousands of gypsum alabaster artifacts dating to the late 4th millennium BC also have been found in Tell Brak (present day Nagar), in Syria.
The first half of period F (designated LC3), saw the erection of the Eye Temple, which was named for the thousands of small alabaster "Eye idols" figurines discovered in it.

Ancient Egypt

EgyptEgyptianAncient Egyptian
This stone variety is the "alabaster" of the ancient Egyptians and Bible and is often termed Oriental alabaster, since the early examples came from the Far East.
Deposits of decorative stones such as porphyry, greywacke, alabaster, and carnelian dotted the eastern desert and were collected even before the First Dynasty.

Nottingham alabaster

Alabasteralabaster reliefsalabaster-carved tomb
In the 14th and 15th centuries its carving into small statues and sets of relief panels for altarpieces was a valuable local industry in Nottingham, as well as a major English export.
Alabaster carvers were at work in London, York and Burton-on-Trent, and many probably worked very close to the rural mines, but the largest concentration was around Nottingham.

Aljafería

Aljafería PalaceAljaferiaAljafería de Zaragoza
The oldest remains in the Aljafería Palace, together with other interesting elements like capitals, reliefs and inscriptions, were made using alabaster, but it was during the artistic and economic blossoming of the Renaissance that Aragonese alabaster reached its golden age.
In its lower part, the tower contains vestiges of the beginning of the heavy walls of alabaster ashlar bond masonry, and continues upwards with plank lining of simple plaster and lime concrete, which is a thinner substance for reaching greater heights.

Chellaston

Chellaston BrickworksChellaston Methodist Church
Gypsum alabaster is a common mineral, which occurs in England in the Keuper marls of the Midlands, especially at Chellaston in Derbyshire, at Fauld in Staffordshire, and near Newark in Nottinghamshire.
Chellaston was once one of the largest producers of mined alabaster in the United Kingdom, which was used to produce Nottingham Alabaster.

Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal

Ashurnasirpal II's hunting of "wild oxenboasted
The Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal and military Lachish reliefs, both 7th century and in the British Museum, are some of the best known.
Neo-Assyrian palaces were very extensively decorated with such reliefs, carved in a very low reliefs on slabs that are mostly of gypsum alabaster, which was plentiful in northern Iraq.

Altarpiece

altar-piecealtarpiecesaltar piece
In the 14th and 15th centuries its carving into small statues and sets of relief panels for altarpieces was a valuable local industry in Nottingham, as well as a major English export.
In Germany, sculpted wooden altarpieces were instead generally preferred, while in England alabaster was used to a large extent.

Art Deco

art-decoArt DécoArt Deco architecture
After a short slump, the industry was revived again by the sale of mass-produced mannerist Expressionist sculptures, and was further enhanced in the 1920s by a new branch creating ceiling and wall lamps in the Art Deco style and culminating in the participation at the 1925 International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts from Paris.
He worked with bronze, marble, ivory, onyx, gold, alabaster and other precious materials.

Alabaster Caverns State Park

Alabaster Caverns
Alabaster Caverns State Park, near Freedom, Oklahoma is home to a natural gypsum cave in which much of the gypsum is in the form of alabaster.
The gypsum is mostly in the form of alabaster.

Castellina Marittima

Castellina
The finest kind, obtained principally from Castellina, is sent to Florence for figure-sculpture, while the common kinds are carved locally, into vases, lights, and various ornamental objects.
For centuries Castellina has been an important source for alabaster.

Penarth

Lower PenarthPenarth, WalesChurch of All Saints
Alabaster also is found, although in smaller quantity, at Watchet in Somerset, near Penarth in Glamorganshire, and elsewhere.
The Penarth cliffs are made of interspersed layers of limestone and alabaster, both of which are dry and crumbly rocks.

Watchet

Watchet harbourWatchet Harbour Marina
Alabaster also is found, although in smaller quantity, at Watchet in Somerset, near Penarth in Glamorganshire, and elsewhere.
The cliffs between Watchet and Blue Anchor show a distinct pale, greenish blue colour, resulting from the coloured alabaster found there.

Mineral

mineralsmineral depositsaccessory mineral
Alabaster is a mineral or rock that is soft, often used for carving, and is processed for plaster powder.

Geologist

geologistsgeoscientistgeoscientists
Archaeologists and the stone processing industry use the word differently from geologists.

Geology

geologicalgeologistgeologic
Geologists define alabaster only as the gypsum type.

Water of crystallization

hydrateshydratehydrated
Chemically, gypsum is a hydrous sulfate of calcium, while calcite is a carbonate of calcium.

Sulfur

sulphurSbrimstone
Chemically, gypsum is a hydrous sulfate of calcium, while calcite is a carbonate of calcium.

Calcium

CaCa 2+ calcium ions
Chemically, gypsum is a hydrous sulfate of calcium, while calcite is a carbonate of calcium.