Globular black-topped red polished jar

Classic Kerma
about 1700–1550 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Kerma, Cemetery S, grave 1805


Overall: 15.7 x 9.5 cm (6 3/16 x 3 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This globular black-topped red polished jar has high set shoulders, a rounded base, and a somewhat long straight neck that widens at the top to a flaring rim with a slight fold. There is an indentation at the point of articulation of the body and the neck, just above which is a small, collar-like ridge. 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 jar over in the firing process to place the upper portion in an oxygen-reduced atmosphere of burning organics/ash. Much of the polished red surface treatment has worn away. Approximately two-thirds of the rim has broken off and is missing.


From Kerma, Cemetery S, grave 1805. 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 14, 2006)

Credit Line

Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition