Bowl with crocodiles

This flared bowl with crocodiles and a flattened rim is typical of the pottery production of the early Predynastic Period. Generally characterized by the red coloring of the surfaces, decoration consists of geometric motifs or stylized plants or animals rendered by means of rapid brushstrokes in white paint.

On the outside of this particular vessel, however, there is an unusual applied decorative element, rare for this period. Clay models of four crocodiles have been attached diagonally to the exterior surface of the bowl, with their noses almost touching the rim.

Bowl with crocodiles
Bowl with crocodiles

The spines of the animals are shown in relief, and there are spots of white on their backs. Their exposed sides, the edges of their tails and claws are also highlighted in white.

The four reptiles are separated from one another by diagonal bands composed of a diamond pattern in the same white paint.

The rim of the bowl is painted with a continuous white herringbone pattern, while the interior is decorated with two triangles of the same diamond motif used on the outside.

The two triangles are arranged one above the other and point towards the bottom of the bowl. They are separated by an irregular band of squares that also continues on the base, with the squares diminishing in size.

The bowl is not perfectly preserved. One of the four crocodiles is missing and only one of the other three is complete.

The external surface is heavily worn and the paintwork, originally white, has in a number of areas become a yellowish color or even disappeared altogether.

Predynastic Period, Naqada I, ca. 4000-3500 BC. Brown clay. Dimensions: height: 11 cm, diameter: 19.5 cm. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 38284, CG 18804