Requires Photography

Black-topped red polished beaker

Classic Kerma
about 1700–1550 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Kerma, Cemetery S, Tumulus IV, K 410


Overall: 11.7 x 12.9 cm (4 5/8 x 5 1/16 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. A break in the this vessel was repaired in antiquity: 8 repair holes (for lashing/threading) remain.


From Kerma, Cemetery S, Tumulus IV, grave 410 (K IV/410/7). 1913: 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: June 13, 2006)

Credit Line

Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition