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Dish in Form of Seashell

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
Vessels

Ancient Egyptian artists produced vessels in both glass and faience, producing different effects with each material.


The Egyptians began manufacturing glass vessels during the Eighteenth Dynasty reign of Thutmose III (circa 1479–1425 B.C.E.). Early examples, valued for their rarity and beauty, were luxury items used to store precious oils and perfumes. Craftsmen produced striking effects by adding threads of colored glass to a vessel’s surface while it was still hot and then dragging a pointed object across the surface to produce festooned patterns. The artist who made the fish flask shown here indicated the animal’s scales by pressing blue powdered glass down into the interior.

Early scholars often incorrectly characterized faience as simply an inexpensive substitute for glass, but recent research suggests that the Egyptians favored the material because of its attractive color and its association with water, the source of creation. A characteristic type of Eighteenth Dynasty faience vessel is the shallow bowl. Early in the dynasty, artists painted the interiors of these bowls with marsh scenes including fish and water plants; later painters introduced human figures.
MEDIUM Glass
  • Place Made: Africa
  • DATES ca. 1390-1292 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY XVIII Dynasty
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 7/8 x 2 5/8 x 4 5/8 in. (2.2 x 6.6 x 11.7 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 37.599E
    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 Dish in Form of Seashell, ca. 1390-1292 B.C.E. Glass, 7/8 x 2 5/8 x 4 5/8 in. (2.2 x 6.6 x 11.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.599E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.37.316E_37.599E_erg456.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, CUR.37.316E_37.599E_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 Speckled blue, brown and white glass dish in the shape of a long un-ribbed sea shell. The interior of the dish has more white and brown areas than does the exterior. All colors are opaque. Condition: Long crack through dish at one end.
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