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Gourd-shaped Jar

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
Pottery Manufacture

Available materials, construction technique, and even social status all played a role in the manufacture of pottery.

Most ancient Egyptian towns had at least one skilled potter who served the entire community. Palaces, estates, and temples employed dozens of craftsmen to fashion luxury and ritual wares.

Potters used two principal materials: alluvial silt (soil deposited by the floodwaters of the Nile) and soft desert shale called marl. Silt contains iron oxides and fires red; marl, rich in calcium carbonate, fires to a buff color. To make both clays more workable, potters added straw, crushed stone, or pulverized pottery.

Potters constructed vessels by hand or on a wheel. Hand building involved shaping the clay manually and with simple tools. To create vessels on a wheel, artisans rotated the clay rapidly on a low, flat turntable and let centrifugal force pull it into shape. Spiral marks, evident on several examples in this case, indicate wheel manufacture.
MEDIUM Clay, pigment
DATES ca. 1470–1400 B.C.E.
DYNASTY Dynasty 18
PERIOD New Kingdom
DIMENSIONS 14 1/8 x greatest diam. 8 11/16 in. (35.8 x 22.1 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented; between December 1907 and January 1908, purchased in Esna, Egypt by Henri de Morgan of Francescas, France and New York, NY; 1909, purchased from Henri de Morgan by the Brooklyn Museum.
Provenance FAQ
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Gourd-shaped jar of buff pottery. Bluntly pointed bottom. Elongated Biconical body. Short concave neck, sloping into body and flaring to beveled protruding lip. Wide, slightly spreading mouth. Painted decoration around and below neck, beginning near lip; a dark brown line, a row of black large dots strung on a dark line between light brown lines, a row of highly stylized single pointed leaves in black, a light brown line between dark brown lines. Condition: Lip chipped. Painting slightly abraded.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
CAPTION Gourd-shaped Jar, ca. 1470–1400 B.C.E. Clay, pigment, 14 1/8 x greatest diam. 8 11/16 in. (35.8 x 22.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 09.889.842. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.09.889.842_NegA_print_bw.jpg)
IMAGE overall, CUR.09.889.842_NegA_print_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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