Globular black-topped red polished jar

Classic Kerma
about 1700–1550 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Kerma, Cemetery S, grave 444


Overall: 26.5 x 16.2 cm (10 7/16 x 6 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This globular black-topped red polished is almost ovoid in shape. It has a rounded base, a concave neck, and a thick, and an outwardly pulled rim. There is a noticeable indentation at the point of articulation of the body and neck. The red surface was created by application of ochre prior to firing in an oxidizing atmosphere and burnishing with smooth stones/pebbles. The black top was attained by turning the jar over in the firing process to place the upper portion in an oxygen-reduced atmosphere of burning organics/ash. Some of the surface treatment has worn away.


From Kerma, Cemetery S, grave 444. 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: July 13, 2006)

Credit Line

Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition