Black-topped red polished beaker

Classic Kerma
about 1700–1550 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Kerma, Cemetery S, Tumulus III, grave 317


Height x rim diameter: 11.4 x 14 cm (4 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This bell-shaped (or ‘tulip’) beaker is of a type characteristic of the classic phase of Kerma pottery. The red surface was created by application of ochre prior to firing in an oxidizing atmosphere and polishing with smooth stones/pebbles. The black top was attained by turning the beaker over to place the upper portion in an oxygen-reduced atmosphere of burning organics/ash. This beaker is cracked but complete.


From Kerma, Cemetery S, Tumulus III, grave 317. 1914: excavated by the Harvard University-Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of the Sudan.

(Accession Date: January 1, 1914)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition