Fragment of faience vessel with the name of Aha

From the Temple of Osiris, Abydos, Egypt
1st Dynasty, around 3000 BC

One of the first kings of Egypt

The temples and tombs of Abydos have provided many of the earliest examples of different types of ancient Egyptian artefacts. This is a fragment of one of the earliest known faience vessels. It was originally coloured green, but the glaze has now decayed to leave a white appearance. The name of King Aha is inlaid in a brown-coloured faience. This is also one of the earliest examples of the technique of inlaying one colour of faience with another.

The fragment was originally part of a large globular vase with a neck; it must have been a very special object, not least because of its size; almost all other faience items of the First Dynasty are quite small. It was probably a donation of the king to the temple, as it is likely that only a king could afford such luxury items.

Aha was the first or second king of the First Dynasty (about 3100-2890 BC), and is probably one of the real rulers whose exploits coalesced into the (later) traditional first king of Egypt, Menes. He was buried at Abydos, but there are also large tombs of his officials at Saqqara; he may also have been responsible for founding the city of Memphis.

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More information


F.D. Friedman (ed.), Gifts of the Nile: ancient Egy (London, Thames and Hudson, 1998)

A.J. Spencer, Catalogue of Egyptian antiqu-4 (London, The British Museum Press, 1980)

A.J. Spencer, Early Egypt, The rise of civil (London, The British Museum Press, 1993)


Length: 14.000 cm (max.)
Width: 11.400 cm (max.)

Museum number

EA 38010


Gift of Egypt Exploration Fund


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