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. Nabatean 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 mostly shallow open bowls, extremely difficult to be potted on the potter’s wheel. With the Roman conquest of the area around 150 AD, Nabatean pottery production started losing its thinness and polychrome decoration, becoming more crude and simple.
Nabataean Red Terracotta Ribbed Jug
A Nabataean red terracotta jug featuring a round, globular body leading to a short, narrow neck and mouth. A small handle connects the neck to the body, the vessel rests on a small ring foot. The jug has been decorated with a series of horizontal ribs and painted in a cream pigmentation, parts now faded over time.
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, slight chip to handle