Requires Photography

Lotiform cup

Napatan Period, reign of Malonaqen
555–542 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Nuri, Pyramid 26 (Queen Amanitakaye), Room B


Overall: 6.8 x 3.9 cm (2 11/16 x 1 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This small cup is made of a somewhat coarse, light reddish clay fabric. It has a lotiform body with straight to very slightly concave sides, expanding towards the top to a flaring straight rim. The lower body constricts before the base splays outward to form a slight foot.

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” or, also because of their use in offering contexts, “libation cups.” They are most often made of medium to coarse grades of clay, and both hand-made and wheel-made examples (as with this example) occur. Shaping is often poor and irregular even when formed on a wheel. Frequent irregularities and asymmetry reflect fast work and mass production.


From Nuri, Pyramid 26 (tomb of Queen Amanitakaye), Room B. 1917-1918: 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 21, 2006)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition