Andesite porphyry jar with wavy handles

This andesite porphyry jar with handles for suspension was found in a tomb dates to the Old Kingdom (ca. 2686-2181 BC), it is an object handed down from generation to generation: the wavy handle is in fact a decorative motif typical of the Predynastic Period (ca. 4400-3100 BC). Considering the technology available at the time of its creation, almost 5000 years ago, this object is a true masterpiece of art and technology.

The working of stone vessels was perfected over the fourth millennium, and large numbers were produced in the Early Dynastic Period, following the unification of Egypt. At this period there was a marked preference for mottled stones of the type seen here, somewhat in contrast to the Old Kingdom and later selection of stones with single fields of color with subtler veining.

Stone jar with wavy handles
Andesite porphyry jar with wavy handles

To make this vase was used a rock, called black porphyry, composed of minerals of different sizes. This choice has made the process far from easy because these minerals respond differently to mechanical stresses, increasing the risk of breakage.

Old Kingdom, 3rd Dynasty, ca. 2592-2544 BC. Porphyritic andesite. 23 x 18.3 x 20.7 cm. Schiaparelli excavations (1903-1906). From Gebelein Now in the Egyptian Museum of Turin. S. 14089