Nabatean Red Terracotta Jar

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Object Description

A finely modelled Nabatean bright red terracotta jar, featuring a globular, striate body, a short neck leading to a flaring, wide rim. A single applied handle extends from the vessel’s neck to the shoulder. The jar displays a beautiful matte finishing with some traces of white inclusions. Such vessel, in its simplicity and crudeness, can be dated around 150 BC, to the time of Roman conquest.

Nabatean pottery and coroplastic production, recovered since the very first organized archaeological excavations of Petra in Jordan, attest the great skills of Nabatean craftsmen. Since the 1st century BC, the Nabateans developed a specific and characteristic style in their pottery production, without any reference to the Hellenistic artistic tradition. Nabatean pottery is characterised by a bright red terracotta, a fine modelling and by a painted decoration, and displays a smooth and matte finishing. Many different shapes have been recovered, including huge jars, pots, flacons for storage of perfumes and ointments, and bowls, usually the most painted forms. The hand-painted decoration includes dark brown and light red motifs of flowers, leafs and palmettes. Another interesting and most recognisable aspect of Nabatean terracotta wares is the thinness of the vessels’ walls, known as egg-shell vessels. Such vessels, featuring a thickness of 1-3 mm and a metallic hardness, were mostly shallow open bowls, extremely difficult to be potted on the potter’s wheel. With the Roman conquest of the area around 150 AD, Nabatean pottery production started losing its thinness and polychrome decoration, becoming more crude and simple.

Date:Circa 1st-2nd century AD

Object Condition

Fine, complete and intact.

Object Details

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The Gallery
Trent Park Equestrian Centre
Eastpole Farm House, Bramley Road
Oakwood, N14 4UW, United Kingdom

St James's Ancient Art
10 Charles II Street, Ground Floor
St James
London
SW1Y 4AA