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Blue-painted Storage Jar

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

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.
MEDIUM Clay, pigment
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1332–1292 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 18
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 11 13/16 x Diam. 6 3/8 in. (30 x 16.2 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 16.580.129
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father Charles Edwin Wilbour
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Storage jar; ovoid, with pointed bottom, wide mouth and slightly flaring, plain wide rim, sharply offset from shoulder. Red clay core, covered with pinkish (formerly white?) slip. Ornamented at shoulder with painted band of rectangular motives, blue with red line running through center and outlined in black, held between red, blue and black rings at neck and a single black ring below shoulder. Ornamented on body with a very wide band of pointed leaves and buds in blue, red and black held between two narrow bands of blue, striped in the center with red and bordered with black. Condition: Deep flaw in pottery in one side and small chips at rim. Paint worn and faded. Slip worn off at bottom.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Blue-painted Storage Jar, ca. 1332–1292 B.C.E. Clay, pigment, 11 13/16 x Diam. 6 3/8 in. (30 x 16.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father Charles Edwin Wilbour, 16.580.129. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.16.580.129_erg456.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, CUR.16.580.129_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.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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