Small ellipsoid jar

Accession Number
Current Location
House of Death (ground floor), Domestic piety case
Object Type
Receptacle/vessel, Vase
Graeco-Roman Period
Ptolemaic Period
Height: 132mm | Rim diameter: 43mm | Maximum diameter: 95mm | Height of maximum diameter: 54mm | Base diameter: 48mm | Vessel index: 72
Number of Elements
Divine Name
Vienna System
Marl A

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Small ellipsoid jar made from a fine Marl clay. It is a wheel-made vessel with a ring base and a collar around the transition from the shoulder and the neck. The vessel's rim has been broken and now has an uneven jagged rim. The base has a chip taken out of just above the museum catalogue sticker. The vessel has a stylised depiction of the god Bes made of applied decoration that has been carefully sculpted. Such vessels have been found in Palestine as well as in Egypt. This example dates to the Ptolemaic Period. While their exact function is unknown, it has been suggested that such vessels contained wine or milk to be drunk at festivals. It is believed that this type of vessel was probably made in a single workshop at Saqqara (Kaiser 2006). Bes was a protective deity connected with women in childbirth and children. He is usually depicted as a dwarf, with a lion’s mane, and often with his tongue sticking out. W1283 was purchased in 1922 by Sir Henry Wellcome from the collection of the Reverend William MacGregor (lot 1793).

Munsell Chart reading

Exterior: 10YR 6/4 Light Yellowish Brown


Anonymous. 1996. The face of Egypt: Swansea Festival exhibition: 5 October 1996–5 January 1997. Swansea: Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. [Cat. 44] Arnold, Dorothea and Janine Bourriau (eds) 1993. An introduction to ancient Egyptian pottery. Sonderschrift, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Abteilung Kairo 17. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern. [fig. 100ff] Bubenheimer-Erhart, Friederike 2005. Einflüsse Ägyptens in Etrurien (Kat. 89–98). In Beck, Herbert, Peter C. Bol, and Maraike Bückling (eds), Ägypten Griechenland Rom: Abwehr und Berührung, 154–162, 530–536. Frankfurt am Main: Das Städel. Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie. [p. 534] Gill, James C. R. 2016. A corpus of Late Period and Ptolemaic Bes-vessels from Mut el-Kharab, Western Desert of Egypt. In Bader, Bettina, Christian M. Knoblauch, and E. Christiana Köhler (eds), Vienna 2 - ancient Egyptian ceramics in the 21st century: proceedings of the international conference held at the University of Vienna, 14th–18th of May, 2012, 211–228. Leuven: Peeters. Kaiser, Kevin Robert 2006. Water, milk, beer and wine for the living and the dead: Egyptian and Syro-Palestinian Bes-vessels from the New Kingdom through the Graeco-Roman period. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Dissertation Services. Klassen, Stanley 2016–2017. Persian Period Bes vessels from Tell el-Maskhuta. Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities 43, 101–117.