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ID number:  ECM 10
Named collection:  The Eton Myers Collection
Title / Object name:  Bowl Sherd
Object type:  Vessel fragment
Place made:  Africa: Egypt
Culture:  Egyptian, New Kingdom
Date made:  1550-1069 BCE; Dynasty 18-20
Place collected:  Africa: Egypt
Collector:  Newberry, Percy Edward
Materials:  Glazed composition; Egyptian faience
Measurements:  overall: 8.8 cm x 8.5 cm x 2.2 cm (H x W x D)
Provenance:  Africa: Egypt; Newberry, Percy Edward 1936; Eton College

Description: Fragment from the base and side of a faience bowl (Marsh Bowl). Cobalt blue exterior decorated with a central rosette of petals, concentric circles, and a wave pattern -- interlocking S curve scrolls, in turquoise blue. The interior is also turquoise blue decorated with painted fish (Tilapia), lotus flowers, possibly with a central circle of papyrus or lotus, and a hatched triangle decoration in black.
Cultural Significance: Marsh bowls are common during the early New Kingdom and feature marsh scenes such as fish, lotus, girls in boats, birds, and other marsh wild-life and symbols associated with Hathor such as cows and hathoric heads. They are associated with Hathor and symbols of rebirth. They possibly were used for offerings both funerary and cultic based on documented find spots. Normally they are made in turquoise blue faience with black decoration. This bowl is typical in having tilapia fish and lotus flowers but is unusual in having the dark exterior with lighter paste infill. Similar faience combinations of cobalt and turquoise blue are known from the Middle Kingdom into New Kingdom and are most common during the reign of Amenhotep III. A very similar large fragment of a marsh bowl with similar exterior was in the Macgregor Collection.
Comparanda: Henry Wallis, Egyptian Ceramic Art The Macgregor Collection, 1898, Plate V; within the Eton Myers Collection - ECM 432, ECM 796, ECM 1479, ECM 1590, ECM 1646, ECM 1761, ECM 1880; for similar motifs - Boston Museum of Fine Arts 1977.619; National Museums Liverpool 1977.109.1; Walters Art Museum 48.400; Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Egypt's Golden Age, 1982, p.141-145.

Notes:  Most likely dates 18th Dynasty, but more research on motifs and parallels could confirm or date more closely. Earlier, probably incorrect note, that may reflect lack of familiarity with the use of the S curve scroll in Egyptian design (also see note in Egypt's Golden Age on spirals p. 157): 'The base of this faience bowl is elaborately decorated with two colours of faience. It is likely that the bowl was fired once with a copper colourant to create the turquoise base then fired again after a dark blue faience glaze (using cobalt as the colourant) was added by direct application glazing to create the raised decoration. The Egyptian floral motif mised with the Greek wave pattern point to a date in the Ptolemaic period, while the interior tilapia fish design echoes earlier decorated faience bowls of the Eighteenth Dynasty (c. 1550-1295 BCE). This hybrid of classical Egyptian style and 'modern' Greek design was emblematic of the Ptolemaic Period of Egypt.'
For more information about Egyptian faience, see
S. Boonstra 2016 'Tjehenet: The Brilliant Manufacture of Egyptian Faience' in S. Boonstra (ed.) Objects Come to Life Virtual Exhibition, Birmingham Egyptology.

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