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Storage 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, painted
  • Place Found: Africa
  • DATES ca. 1426-1390 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY XVIII Dynasty
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 16 15/16 × Diam. 9 1/4 in. (43 × 23.5 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 37.347E
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact reproductions@brooklynmuseum.org (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
    CAPTION Storage Jar, ca. 1426-1390 B.C.E. Clay, painted, 16 15/16 × Diam. 9 1/4 in. (43 × 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.347E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.37.347E_erg456.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, CUR.37.347E_erg456.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 9/5/2007
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Tall pottery cordiform jar with rounded rim, tall neck, and pointed base. The neck and upper part of the body are decorated with painted geometric and floral motifs. The colors used are red and deep red. The pot is of a red-orange ware with a buff slip (?). Condition: Line of oval-shaped depressions running around body which appear to have been made with a cord but after the pot was completed. The paint and slip are chipping off and most of the lower part of the body is red where the slip is gone. Most of the pot is dirty and there are cracks in the bottom in which there are the remains of glue; otherwise good.
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