Faience dish decorated with a scene of the River Nile


British Museum

British Museum

This attractive dish of pale blue faience shows a man wearing an Egyptian kilt and punting a papyrus boat along a river. A cow or bull sits under a canopy, and below the boat swims a large fish. Papyrus skiffs, made of bundles of reeds lashed together, were the simplest form of boat in ancient Egypt. They were used for hunting and fishing, and for short journeys across or along the Nile. The animal being carried in the boat may simply be being transported from one place to another, or is perhaps destined as a sacrifice as part of a funerary feast. The Enkomi tombs contained a rich mixture of local and imported products. They illustrate the wealth of the site in the Late Bronze Age, and the key position occupied by Cyprus in cultural exchanges at this time.

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  • Title: Faience dish decorated with a scene of the River Nile
  • Date Created: -1340/-1200
  • Physical Dimensions: Diameter: 23.00cm; Height: 4.70cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: hand-modelled; applied; painted
  • Subject: boat/ship; mammal; fish; punting
  • Registration number: 1897,0401.1042
  • Production place: Made in Cyprus. Made in Egypt
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Enkomi
  • Period/culture: Late Cypriot IIC
  • Material: glazed composition
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Excavated by Turner Bequest Excavations, Enkomi. Funded by Turner, Emma Tourner