University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Wine Jar [Object of the Day #118]

November 27, 2012

Wine Jar
Wine Jar

Most ancient Egyptian pottery tends to be very utilitarian: rough vessels used for day to day purposes, the pots and pans of the land of the pharaohs. Occasionally, however, Egyptian potters produced beautifully decorated wares. Techniques such as slipping and polishing, incised decoration, modeling, and painted decoration (as in this example) produced Egypt’s fine wares. Blue Painted Pottery is a type of fine pottery that developed during the 18th Dynasty (Egypt’s New Kingdom), and was used especially for large jars such as this wine jar. The blue painted style (added after firing of the vessel) often has bands of floral designs meant to evoke garlands draped over the vessel. Wine produced mostly in Egypt’s Delta (northern Egypt) played a big role in festive occasions. This example dates to the end of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty (ca. 1350 BCE). It has a text stating that it belonged to a woman named Mutnodjmet. This jar, a companion piece in the Penn Museum, and two smaller vessels in the British Museum are part of the contents of Mutnodjmet’s tomb originally located in western Thebes. The wine named Hamu wine was probably connected to Mutnodjmet’s funeral rituals and afterlife. In fact, the shape of this particular wine jar mimics the form of a special offering vessel called a Hes-jar that was used in offering rituals.

Penn Museum Object #E14369A
See this and other objects like it on Penn Museum’s Online Collection Database

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