This is a rare and very early red ware jar, dating to the period from the end of the predynastic period to the archaic period.
The body of the vessel has a very elegant ovoid shape with a flattened base. The neck of the jar is narrowed with a thick rounded or recurved rim. The sides were smoothed and have been washed with an unburnished red slip, giving the object a beautiful warm, red-brown colour, whereas the area around the mouth has a lighter colour.
There is a difference of opinion among specialists who have seen the vessel about the exact date. The previous owner was told that it dates to the very beginning of the ancient Egyptian history, the Early Dynastic or Archaic Period (dynasty 1-2, circa 3000 - 2700 B.C.), with reference to Wodzinska (2010) vol. 2, p. 86, no. 8. However, the vessel depicted there has a pointed base and not a flattened one. Other specialists think the jar may be even older, referring to p. 38, no. 14 and p. 46, no. 35 of the same publication, which both show comparable vesssels dating to the end of the predynastic period (Naqada III, circa 3200-3000 B.C.).
The jar has been tested by thermoluminescence (TL); its ancient authenticity has been confirmed by this test, but as usual the test results show a rather wide margin, which makes a more precise dating impossible. A copy of the test report comes with the object.
Anna Wodzinska, A Manual of Egyptian Pottery, Volume 2: Naqada III - Middle Kingdom (revised first edition) (AERA Field Manual Series 1) (Boston, MA, Ancient Egypt Research Associates, 2010), p. 38, no. Naqada III, 14; p. 46, no. Naqada III, 35; p. 86, no. Archaic, 8.
Naqada III to Archaic Period, circa 3200-2700 B.C.
Height 19.3 cm.
Collection of John Rilling, California, acquired in 1970.
Intact, with two minuscule holes from the TL test.