Offering tray

Accession Number
Current Location
In storage
Object Type
Religious or cult object, Offering tray
First Intermediate Period to Middle Kingdom
Diameter: 245mm | Height: 61mm
Number of Elements

This image may be used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. For uses not covered under the Creative Commons license, or to license images for commercial uses, please contact the Egypt Centre.


A red pottery circular offering tray including a bull's head (horns only), a foreleg, and bread. The end of the water channel is closed. Trays such as these were placed above the grave of the deceased. It is thought that water would be poured over the tray and a 'spell' recited. The water then would trickle over the pottery food through drainage channels (which are evident on some trays), and down onto the grave. The tray would thus provide food for the dead. Such trays usually date from the First Intermediate Period to the Middle Kingdom (2181-1650 BCE). This example was part of Rustafjaell collection purchased by Wellcome at auction in 1906.


Kilian, Andrea 2012. Pottery offering trays: general observations and new material from Asyut. In Kahl, Jochem, Mahmoud El- Khadragy, Ursula Verhoeven, and Andrea Kilian (eds), Seven seasons at Asyut: first results of the Egyptian-German cooperation in archaeological fieldwork. Proceedings of an international conference at the University of Sohag, 10th–11th of October, 2009, 105–118. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. Mi, Filippo 2020. Ceramic Offering Trays in the Museo Egizio, Turin: Establishing Typologies and Locating Unprovenanced Specimen, Rivista del Museo Egizio 4, 91–121. Available at:

Other Identity
667 (rectangular serrated label) | W477 (identified as this by description and lot number 18.12.2008)
Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge: 19–21 Dec 1906, Lot 110
Previous Owners
Robert de Rustafjaell (1859–1943) | Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936)
Long-term loan, The Wellcome Trust (15 Feb 1971)
Last modified: 14 Oct 2021

Back | Feedback about this object