Nabataean Red Terracotta Vessel


A finely potted Nabataean red terracotta vessel, featuring a globular body with a short foot, leading to a wide rim. The vessel’s shoulder contains what remains of an applied missing handle. Geometric patterns and floral motifs are emphasised around the shoulder and upper body in black pigment. The bright orange colour of the terracotta is characteristic of Nabataean pottery, caused by the high level of iron in the clay.

Date: Circa 1st-2nd century AD
Provenance: From an important collection of Near Eastern pottery formed by a gentleman, deceased, before 1988; passed by descent to his family in London and Geneva
Condition: Fine condition, the handle is now missing.

In stock

SKU: SA-82 Category: Tags: ,

The Nabataean tribes first encroached upon Jordan and the surrounding area sometime in the 6th century BC. Thought of originally as a nomadic people they settled in the area, existing as an autonomous kingdom until the 2nd century AD, when they were finally defeated by the Romans. Since the 1st century BC, the Nabateans developed a specific and characteristic style in their pottery production, without any reference to the Hellenistic artistic tradition. Nabataean pottery is characterised by a bright red terracotta, a fine modelling and by a painted decoration, and displays a smooth and matte finishing. Many different shapes have been recovered, including huge jars, pots, flacons for storage of perfumes and ointments, and bowls, usually the most painted forms. One of the most interesting and most recognisable aspects of Nabatean terracotta wares is the thinness of the vessels’ walls, known as egg-shell vessels. Such vessels, featuring a thickness of 1-3 mm and a metallic hardness, were extremely difficult to be potted on the potter’s wheel. With the Roman conquest of the area around 150 AD, Nabataean pottery production started losing its thinness and polychrome decoration, becoming more crude and simple.

Weight 79.5 g
Dimensions W 8 x H 5.1 cm


Pottery and Porcelain


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