Blue-painted pot

From Tell el-Amarna, Egypt
18th Dynasty, around 1300 BC

Biconical pottery jar, decorated with a design in blue, red and black

This large biconical jar is typical of the 'blue painted ware', made only in the Eighteenth Dynasty. Before this time, decorated pottery had only been made in the Predynastic period, some two thousand years earlier. The design is painted in blue, with highlights in black and red, on a buff background. The motifs are generally floral, with horizontal bands and festoons similar to the elaborate collars worn by wealthy Egyptians.

After the Predynastic period, pottery was generally wheel-made. The wheel was very simple and controlled by hand. It consisted of a stone, on which the turntable was constructed of mud and straw, set into a stone base. The surfaces of the bearing were highly polished and perhaps lubricated with grease. The use of the wheel allowed a potter to make vessels quickly, in a simple form of mass production.

Pottery workshops are, however, known from the Predynastic period. At this time pots were made by the more laborious method of coiling. A potter's house, his wares stacked outside, was found at Hierakonpolis. The house was destroyed by a fire that spread from the potter's nearby kiln. He seems to have learnt a lesson from this, building his next house of stone, and a little farther from the kiln.

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More information


M. Stead, Egyptian life (London, The British Museum Press, 1986)

I. Shaw and P. Nicholson (eds.), British Museum dictionary of A (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)


Height: 72.000 cm

Museum number

EA 56841


Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society, from their excavation at Amarna


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