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Pottery in Egypt


Potters in Ancient Egypt
Faience Hippo from the Middle Kingdom at the Louvre

Faience Hippo from the Middle Kingdom at the Louvre

Courtesy Wikimedia User Rama
In ancient Egypt basic pottery was made using the Nile-created mud mixed with straw and sometimes sand or other minerals. Early pottery was made by pinching and coiling. A potter's wheel appears in the cosmogony of the ancient Egyptians and Old Kingdom Egypt already had hand-rotated potters' wheels, according to André Dollinger;the kick wheel was introduced in the 1st millennium B.C.

Egyptian Pottery was fired at temperatures of 600-800 degrees Celsius. In Egypt, wood was scarece, but they burned it and also they made use of alternatives to produce charcoal. Such alternatives included animal dung and plant products, according to Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, by Paul T. Nicholson and Ian Shaw; Cambridge University Press (2000).

Decorating the exterior of pottery were paintings of such things as people, animals, birds, and boats. Pottery could also be glazed or painted. Glazed pottery resulted in such memorably brilliant material as the faience of the blue hippopotamus. Broken pottery vessels could be repaired using gypsum or plaster of Paris.

References for Egyptian Pottery:

  • Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, by A. Lucas; Kessinger Publishing, 2003
  • The Horizon: Studies in Egyptology in Honour of M.A. Nur El-Din, edited by Basem El-Sharkaway; American Univ in Cairo Press, 2010.
  • Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, by A. Lucas

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