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  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (made)

  • Date:

    c. 1550 BC - c. 1292 BC

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glazed composition, painted

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Harold Wallis, Esq.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Shallow open bowls made of glazed composition were popular from the late Middle Kingdom, both as part of tomb equipment and also temple offerings, most notably in relation to the cult of the goddess Hathor. The colour of such bowls made reference to Hathor’s epithet of ‘Lady of Turquoise’. Such bowls, often termed ‘marsh bowls’ or ‘Nun bowls’ (the Egyptian word for the primordial waters), frequently displayed decoration of marsh flora and fauna. Typical images included lotus and papyrus plants, and fish, often arranged symmetrically around a central design representing a pond. Such motifs symbolised themes of fertility and rebirth; for example, the lotus represented regeneration for the opening and closing of its petals each morning and night. Other bowls had decoration more overtly referencing Hathor and her cult, often displaying the face of the Goddess herself.

Physical description

Rim sherd from a blue glazed composition 'marsh bowl' with decoration painted in black. The interior surface depicts a tilapia fish, below several registers of geometric decoration spanning the circumference of the bowl. The topmost register is a band of vertical lines, below this a register of black triangles, followed by another, thinner band of vertical lines and finally another register of triangles. The triangles possibly represent schematic lotus petals, as are often found on bowls of this type. The exterior surface depicts a band of vertical black lines around the rim, mirroring those on the interior. Below this are the petals of a large open lotus flower which would have covered the rest of the surface, with the calyx of the flower at the centre of the bowl.

Place of Origin

Egypt (made)


c. 1550 BC - c. 1292 BC

Materials and Techniques

Glazed composition, painted


Length: 7 cm, Height: 5 cm, Thickness: 10 mm Thickness of fabric

Descriptive line

Fragment of a 'marsh bowl', blue glazed composition with painted decoration, Egypt, New Kingdom, likely Dynasty Eighteen


Ceramics Collection

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