Pharaonic Egypt   :|:   Document

Winged ship on a jar of Egypt

ref. : en.1052.2013 | 29 November 2013 | by Francis Leveque
céramique | Third quarter of IVe millennium BC
Egypte (Haute Egypte) ( Egypte )
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From the R.G. Gayer-Anderson collection. Gift from A. Olby

A small, necked vessel with a broad body, modelled rim, tapering to a flat base and two tubular string-hole handles. It has a white surface and an exterior decoration in maroon. It features multiple vertical wavy lines, running from the rim, continues over and terminates shortly beyond the ledges.

Additionally, there are vertical lines below and around the rim of varying length. The main motifs are of two ships, which perhaps were applied in modern times. It has the characteristic ¨bent¨shape, however it has no rudder. Nevertheless it does have a decoration of vertical wavy lines. The prow has a peculiar spiral decoration. In the middle of the ship stands a tree with two large branches which arch up and then descends. Both carry several vertical lines, which may represent twigs or leafy branches which shades the deck.

The deck has two cabins with tall walls and in each there stands a person. The body is rendered limbless and has a triangular body with a dot as head. Outside of each cabin stands a somewhat larger person. Here, the neck figures as a vertical line between the body and head. In between the prow and stern of the two ships, there are rows of horizontal wavy lines. Figural design.

This view of the boat is rare, if not unique. It presents no oars nor standard.

- H. : 7.2 cm
- Ø max : 5.9 cm
- rim Ø : 4.2 cm
- Base Ø : 2.5-2.7 cm


Bibliography :

  • Flinders Petrie, Corpus of prehistoric pottery and palettes, British school of archaeology in Egypt : University College (BASE), Londres , 1921, n° 41A
  • G. Brunton, Modern painting on Predynastic Pots, in ASAE , vol. 34 , 1934
  • H. Kantor, The Final Phase of Predynastic culture, Gerzean or Semainean?, in JNES, vol. 3 , 1944, fig. 5 F, G
  • P. Lucas, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, Londres , 1962, p.383
  • F. El-Yakhy, Remarks on the Armless Human figures represented on Gerzean boats, in SSEA(J), vol. XI, 2, Toronto , 1981, p.78, fig. A4
  • F. El-Yakhy, Clarifications on the Gerzean boat scenes, vol. 85, BIFAO, Le Caire , 1985, p.190, pl. XXIV