Quantcast

The "Dolphin Vase"

Period:
Middle Kingdom or Second Intermediate Period
Dynasty:
Dynasty 13–15
Date:
ca. 1750–1550 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, cemetery south of pyramid below House A1:3, Pit 879, MMA 1920–1921
Medium:
Pottery, manganese black, gypsum fill
Dimensions:
h. 14 cm (5 1/2 in); w. 14.5 cm (5 11/16 in); diam. 14.5 cm (5 11/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1922
Accession Number:
22.1.95
  • Description

    No exact parallel to this magnificent vessel has yet been found anywhere. The presence of dolphins and the freedom with which all the animals move around the vessel body have suggested influences from the Aegean to some scholars. The general shape and double handle, however, are Levantine, and a possible source location for the clay has been identified in southern Canaan, while the technique of decoration is similar to, but not the same as, the one used on the "Tell el-Jahudiyeh" pottery.
    Three dolphins move around the foot of the jug, with three large birds (possibly geese) above each of them; a smaller bird is tucked below the handle. Is this perhaps an image of the Levantine coast, with dolphins in the water and migratory geese coming to rest on the beach? A Dynasty 13 date is suggested by other objects found in the same tomb shaft.

  • Provenance

    Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
544822

Close