Posted by: iMalqata Blog | January 16, 2016

Special Sherds

Janice Kamrin and Peter Lacovara

This year, as usual, we are finding a great many sherds scattered throughout the site, both at the Palace and at the West Settlement. At the Palace, most are typical simple jars and bowls, including some of the famous blue painted pottery that is sometimes called “palace ware.” Some of this palace ware was quite elaborately decorated, and in some cases even included three-dimensional additions. An example of this is a lovely vase found during the 1910-11 season of the Metropolitan Museum’s original excavations at the Palace of Amenhotep III. The shoulder was painted with a garland of blue lotus petals as well as the body of an ibex; the head of the ibex was modeled in three dimensions to rise up and join the neck and rim of the vessel.


Blue-Painted Ibex Amphora; New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Amenhotep III, ca. 1390–1353 B.C.; From Egypt, Thebes, Malqata, Palace of Amenhotep III, MMA excavations, 1910–11; Pottery, white cream slip, paint; H. 39.5 cm (15 9/16 in); diam. 21 cm (8 1/4 in); Rogers Fund, 11.215.460

At the beginning of the season, a sherd from a similar vessel turned up in one of the suites in the Palace. The paint had worn off and the head of the ibex was missing, but the rising boss of clay, which to judge by its shape was not the base of a handle, indicated that this must have belonged to a comparable vase.


Sherd from Malqata Palace; Room K4; Pottery, white cream slip; Diam. 36 cm. (14 1/8 inches)

The pottery from the West Settlement is in general less elegant than what is found in the Palace; this year we are finding a preponderance of jar sherds, with only the occasional sherd of blue painted ware. However, as we were writing this blog, we found a piece from an elaborate vessel. This object is the foreleg and part of the body of a three dimensional ungulate modeled in clay. It would have sat on the shoulder of a very large, fancy amphora similar to an example in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


Animal appliqué from the West Settlement; N145/E135; Pottery; L. 9 x W. 7 x Depth 5cm (3.5 x 2.8 x 2 in.)


Amphora with applied decoration and lid; New Kingdom, late Dynasty 18, 1390–1327 B.C.; Height x diameter of rim: 62 x 21cm (24 7/16 x 8 1/4 in.); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 64.9

Such pottery vases were imitations of foreign vases of precious metal brought as diplomatic gifts from Syria and elsewhere, and would have added to the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the Palace in its glory days.


Painting of a presentation vase with ibex head From the Tomb of Amenhotep Huy, Viceroy of Nubia New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1336–1327 B.C. Egypt, Thebes, Qurnet Murrai, TT 40

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