Miniature/model vessel with incised decoration

Napatan Period, reign of Amaniastabarqa
510–487 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Nuri, Pyramid 2 (Amaniastabarqa)


Overall: 3 x 7.2 cm (1 3/16 x 2 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Foundation deposits

This small, bowl-like vessel was fashioned by hand from a black clay fabric. It is roughly rectangular in shape with a rounded base and straight rim. All four of the exterior sides as well as the interior base have incised/impressed ankh-symbols (the Egyptian hieroglyph for “life”): 4 on the long sides, 2 on each width, 3 on the interior base. There are possible signs of polishing of the exterior surfaces. Fragments are missing from two sides.

Very small vessels 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.”


From Nuri, Pyramid 2 (tomb of Amaniastabarqa). 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