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Conical Lid

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

A complex locking device once secured this lid to a low, flat pottery base resembling a soup bowl. First, three or four strings were attached to a small, perforated disk—designed much like a modern button. Next, the lid was turned upside down and the strings were passed through a tiny hole at the top, leaving the disk inside. The strings, now projecting out of the top of the lid, were wrapped around the base of the vessel, effectively sealing the two-piece unit. This same method is used to seal baskets in contemporary Sudan.

  • Place Excavated: El Ma'mariya, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 3300-3100 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Predynastic Period, Naqada III Period (probably)
    DIMENSIONS height: 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm); greatest diam.: 4 1/8 in. (10.5 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 07.447.485
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Conical lid. Black clay, burned to light brown on surface. Smooth, but not polished. Top pierced with a small hole. Decorated in an irregular pattern with panels, some filled with pricked dots, some empty. Free around rim. No trace of a white fill in the holes, nor seems one ever to have been there. Condition: A very large piece is missing from rim, with jagged breakage. A crack runs from there to near top. Opposite a chip in rim, a very slight one near top.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Conical Lid, ca. 3300-3100 B.C.E. Clay, height: 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm); greatest diam.: 4 1/8 in. (10.5 cm) . Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 07.447.485. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 07.447.485_side1_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE side, 07.447.485_side1_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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