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Egyptian Imitation of Western Asiatic Oil Bottle

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

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

After a pottery vessel had dried to a leathery consistency, it was ready to be decorated and fired.

The simplest technique was to apply a layer of clay, paint, and water—called slip—on the pot’s drab exterior. Other methods included incising designs with pointed objects, polishing the surface with a cloth, or using a stone to burnish it, creating an attractive sheen.

Painted decorations appear on pottery throughout the Eighteenth Dynasty. Early designs included thin lines and long pendant triangles. Around the time of Thutmose III, artists invented a pastel blue paint that eventually dominated pottery decoration. A rare type of pot made exclusively for tombs was painted to reproduce the appearance of stones such as breccia.

After decorating the vessel, the potter placed it in a kiln for firing. Potters wrapped cords around large unfired vessels to prevent them from collapsing. These ropes burned away during firing, but traces of them remain on the sides of some pots.
DATES ca. 1539-1390 B.C.E.
DYNASTY Dynasty 18
PERIOD New Kingdom
DIMENSIONS 12 5/8 x Diam. of foot 2 7/16 in. (32 x 6.2 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented; 1907, collected, possibly at Esna (Ramessid), by Henri de Morgan of Francescas, France and New York, NY for the Brooklyn Museum.
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MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
CAPTION Egyptian Imitation of Western Asiatic Oil Bottle, ca. 1539-1390 B.C.E. Clay, 12 5/8 x Diam. of foot 2 7/16 in. (32 x 6.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 07.447.459. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.07.447.459_erg456.jpg)
IMAGE overall, CUR.07.447.459_erg456.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 9/5/2007
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