Requires Photography

Straight-sided cup with slight foot

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

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Nuri, Pyramid 5 (Malonaqen), SW foundation deposit


Overall: 5.9 x 7.3 cm (2 5/16 x 2 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Foundation deposits

This cup is made of a reddish clay fabric. It has straight sides with and plain, unworked rim. The base has been pulled downward to form a slight foot of sorts. There are no indications of surface treatments.

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.” They are most often made of medium to coarse grades of clay, and shaping is often poor and irregular even when formed on a wheel. Frequent irregularities or asymmetry in shaping reflect fast work and mass production. Knife-cut or cord-cut bases are common, though rounded bases occur as well.


From Nuri, Pyramid 5 (tomb of Malonaqen), SW foundation deposit. 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 18, 2006)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition