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Pottery ointment jar (alabastron) decorated in the 'Marine Style'


Height: 11.500 cm
Diameter: 20.000 cm

GR 1890.9-22.1 (Vases A 651)

Room 12b: Greece: Mycenaeans

    Pottery ointment jar (alabastron) decorated in the 'Marine Style'

    Mycenaean, about 1500-1450 BC
    Found at Armant, Egypt

    A fine piece of Aegean pottery that travelled to Egypt

    This vase is decorated in the 'Marine Style', in which motifs based on fish, sea-weed, rocks and shells were painted in shiny dark paint on a light background. The style originated in Crete, but became more widely popular. 'Marine Style' pieces were also made in the Mycenaean pottery workshops of the Greek mainland.

    Aegean pottery was attractive to the Egyptians, and small quantities are found in Egypt from the Middle Bronze Age onwards. The fine clay and the display of skill, both in the potting and painting of a vase such as this, would have made it a desirable import. The contents may also have been important. It would have been possible to seal the narrow neck of the vase, and so it could have held, for example, perfumed oil, which we know was produced in Mycenaean Greece.

    P. Betancourt, The history of Minoan pottery (Princeton University Press, 1985)

    R. Higgins, The Greek Bronze Age (London, The British Museum Press, 1977)


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    On display: Room 12b: Greece: Mycenaeans

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