Height: 12.600 cm (to
Diameter: 11.350 cm
Excavated by J.R. Stewart
Room 72: Ancient Cyprus
Red Polished Ware bowl
From tomb 105 in the cemetery (site A) on the
eastern slope of Vounous, Cyprus
About 2300-2100 BC
This bowl shows the prowess of Cypriot potters of the Early Bronze Age
Red Polished pots were always handmade. They were covered by a slip (a specially prepared clay solution) which was burnished (polished) and then often decorated with patterns incised with a sharp cutting tool before being fired. The final colour of the slip, and so the appearance of the vessel, depended on the amount of iron oxide in the solution (more was needed for the pot to become red, less for black) and the condition and temperature of firing. By controlling the cooling as well as the firing conditions, potters were able to produce vessels that were either mottled or, as this example, two-coloured. Two-coloured pots were often red on the outside with a black rim and interior.
Although found in a tomb, this vessel probably originally had a practical purpose and could have stored dried items such as seeds or grains.
E. and J. Stewart, Vounous 1937-38: field-report, Skrifter utgivna av Svenska institutet i Rom. 4o ; 14 (Lund, C.W.K. Gleerup, 1950)
V. Tatton-Brown, Ancient Cyprus, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)