Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
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.
ca. 1426-1390 B.C.E.
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
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Storage Jar, ca. 1426-1390 B.C.E. Clay, painted, 16 15/16 x 9 1/4 in. (43 x 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.347E. Creative Commons-BY
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 9/5/2007
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