Cup with inverted rim (contents)
about 750–270 B.C.
Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Nuri
Overall: 4.5 x 4 cm (1 3/4 x 1 9/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
This small cup has the proportions of a miniature squat shouldered jar. Convex sides bulge outward from the base and then curve inward to a slightly constricted, but still wide mouth. The inverted rim is unworked.
Very small vessels such as this cup are common in grave, tomb, and temple contexts where they could be presented with offerings or as model offerings in and of themselves. They are thus often called “model vessels.” They are most often made of medium to coarse grades of clay, and shaping is often poor and irregular. Frequent irregularities or asymmetry in shaping reflect fast work and mass production. Knife-cut or cord-cut bases are common, though rounded bases occur as well. Some are simply twisted or pinched off at the base, leaving an awkward base that does not allow the cup to stand upright on its own.
This cup is filled with a solid mass of dried mud only slightly smaller than the vessel interior itself. It may relate to the original (liquid) contents of the cup may have been deliberately intended as “model” contents.
From Nuri. 1916-1918: 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: August 18, 2006)
Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition