Globular bottle with guinea-fowl decoration - ROM2011_11750_1


Globular bottle with guinea-fowl decoration

Medium:Ceramic (earthenware, thrown) with slip-painted decoration
Geography: Upper Egypt or Sudan
Date: c. 250 -300 AD
Period: Late Meroitic Period
30.5 x 28.3 cm
Object number: 910.85.153
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Nubia

This Meroitic ceramic narrow-necked globular jar is characterized by a decorative band of four guinea fowl facing right with pendant decoration between them. The feathers of the guinea fowl are rendered by cross-hatching. This feature is found in a number of ceramic vessels in the region of Lower Nubia, which have been attributed to an individual workshop (or painter). Guinea fowl are a fairly frequent motif in Meroitic art, but appear only rarely in Egyptian art. Today guinea fowl are native to sub-Saharan Africa and a few adjacent regions, including Ethiopia and the southwestern Arabian Peninsula. The bird’s wattle below the neck and horny crest on the head are both painted red. The pendant elements between the birds appear to represent snares placed so that the open mouth of the jar forms part of the noose. Below the vessel’s mouth, a triangular area represents the extension of the noose. Next come three or four flat discs which may represent spikes, above a round ball. These form a mechanism which, when triggered, would activate the snare and draw the noose around the bird.

This vessel has been re-assembled from a number of fine redware sherds. It has a circular neck which flares outward at the rim. The base of the neck is decorated by alternating black and white painted bands. The frieze of guinea fowl is famed by black-white-black bands under the neck and brown-red-brown bands under the shoulder. The lower part of the vessel is painted brown. Below the widest extent of the vessel the sides are flattened and curve down to a flat base. This vessel is a fine example of "Nubian fancy style" pottery, N.IA in Adams’ typology. (S.B. Shubert)

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