Red polished beaker

Classic Kerma
about 1700–1550 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Kerma, Cemetery S, Tumulus III, K 334


Overall: 12 x 11.7 cm (4 3/4 x 4 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This bell-shaped (or ‘tulip’) beaker is made of red polished ware. The shape is characteristic of the classic phase of Kerma pottery, of which the majority of such beakers are black-topped and red polished. The red surface was created by application of ochre prior to firing in an oxidizing atmosphere and polishing with smooth stones/pebbles. The beaker’s walls a thin. The sides are not straight, but are ribbed with four grooves that may be indicatative of forming by a coil method.


From Kerma, Cemetery S, Tumulus III, grave 334. 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: June 27, 2006)

Credit Line

Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition