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A large Egyptian Black-topped Redware Vessel, Pre-Dynastic Period, 3600-3400 B.C.

EP1803

This very large and impressive vessel is a superb example of Amratian-period black-topped red pottery. The vessel stands on a small, flat base tapering outward to a rounded shoulder under a wide mouth with slightly flared rim. The exterior is beautifully coated with a thin red iron-oxide wash that was burnished to a lustrous finish, probably by using a pebble. The blacktop is carbon, produced by subjecting the top of the vessel to the actions of dense smoke. The vessel was made by hand using coil construction (the process is still visible on the inside).

Called B-ware by W.M. Flinders Petrie because of their distinctive black rims, black-topped beakers and bowls made of riverine clay are a hallmark of the Naqada Ic-IIb Period. For very similar examples refer: 

1) Hayes, William "The Scepter of Egypt, A background study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art" Volume I, Figure 7 page 16;  

2) Cleveland Museum "Catalogue of Egyptian Art" 1999 #48;

3) Detroit Institute of Arts, McKissick Museum and the Earth Sciences and Resources Institute of the University of South Carolina, "The First Egyptians", page 52.

Dimensions: Height: 11.8 inches (30 cm)

Condition:   Aside from a small repair to the rim, the vessel is intact and of museum quality, with some areas of the blacktop showing an almost metallic sheen. The burnished red surface of the vessel exhibits a fine craquelure where preserved, with losses relating to erosion or soluble salt efflorescence. A definite highlight of any Ancient Egyptian collection.

Provenance:  Private Californian collection, acquired prior 1972 and then by descent, thereafter private collection of a Florida doctor from 2002.


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