Egyptian Imitation of Western Asiatic Oil Bottle
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
After a pottery vessel had dried to a leathery consistency, it was ready to be decorated and fired.
The simplest technique was to apply a layer of clay, paint, and water—called slip—on the pot’s drab exterior. Other methods included incising designs with pointed objects, polishing the surface with a cloth, or using a stone to burnish it, creating an attractive sheen.
Painted decorations appear on pottery throughout the Eighteenth Dynasty. Early designs included thin lines and long pendant triangles. Around the time of Thutmose III, artists invented a pastel blue paint that eventually dominated pottery decoration. A rare type of pot made exclusively for tombs was painted to reproduce the appearance of stones such as breccia.
After decorating the vessel, the potter placed it in a kiln for firing. Potters wrapped cords around large unfired vessels to prevent them from collapsing. These ropes burned away during firing, but traces of them remain on the sides of some pots.
ca. 1539-1390 B.C.E.
12 5/8 x Diam. of foot 2 7/16 in. (32 x 6.2 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Archaeological provenance not yet documented; 1907, collected, possibly at Esna (Ramessid), by Henri de Morgan for the Brooklyn Museum.
Egyptian Imitation of Western Asiatic Oil Bottle, ca. 1539-1390 B.C.E. Clay, 12 5/8 x Diam. of foot 2 7/16 in. (32 x 6.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 07.447.459. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.07.447.459_erg456.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 9/5/2007
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Are all 3 of these bottles slipped? Only the one on the right says so but they have similar textures.
The texture you see was produced by burnishing, or rubbing the surface of the vessel after the clay had dried. You're right, only the bottle on the right of your photo has a slip applied; the slip would have been applied before the burnishing process.