Jar, Black-Topped Ware (work of art)
Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- This jar has a red and black color scheme created with a red ochre slip, which is a mixture of clay and water.
- The jar is over seven inches tall and is made from clay produced by the silt of the Nile river.
- This is the oldest object in the North Carolina Museum of Art’s collection. It is prehistoric because it comes from a time before the written history of Egypt and the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, around 3200 B.C.E.
Black-topped redware vessels were handmade using residual Nile clays. Once the potter shaped the vessel, it was left to dry in the sun. Before the vessel was completely dry, it was burnished with a pebble to give it a smooth, glossy look. The vessel was covered with a red ochre slip (a thick liquid mixture) and fired in a kiln. The irregular black band along the top of this jar was achieved by placing the fired vessel upside down in a bed of smoldering ashes or chaff, which reduced the oxygen level and turned the buried part of the vessel black.
Resources for Teachers
- Learn more about Egyptian black-topped pottery ware.
- Read about the Nile river and its silt.
Resources for Students
- Watch a video of a potter making a ceramic vessel.
- Learn more about ancient Egyptian pottery.
- Make your own clay with a step-by-step recipe.