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 the bright red terracotta, fine modelling and painted decoration, along with the 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 (mostly shallow open bowls) were 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 cruder and simpler.
Large Nabataean Terracotta Amphora
A very fine Nabataean amphora moulded from terracotta featuring a squat carinated body tapering inward to a cylindrical neck with an out splayed rim. Two handles have been applied from the neck to the shoulder and the amphora sits upon a concave foot. The vessel is enriched with floral and foliage patterns across the whole surface painted with black pigment.
Provenance: Acquired prior to 1988. From an important deceased gentleman's collection, by descent.
Condition: Fine condition, repair to the body.