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Storage Jar with Boats

This pot probably comes from Upper Egypt, but it could also have been made in Nubia, a neighboring region of North Africa (modern Sudan). An early example of a vessel made from kiln-fired clay, it dates to a period when communities were turning to agriculture and forming settlements, but several centuries before kingdoms were established. The painted decoration presents distinct symbols. The frequent reappearance of these symbols on other pots from this area and period indicate that this decoration is related to the developing hieroglyphic writing system. Nautical references are common, including boats with oars and standards (or sails) and water—all of which appear in this example.

Egyptian or Nubian
Storage Jar with Boats
Predynastic period (Late Naqada II), ca. 3500–3300 BC
Terracotta
H. 8 in. (20.3 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Frederick Stafford, 59.45