Skip to contentSkip to navigation

Ovoid Jar: Wading Birds




Predynastic Period, Naqada II (3600-3350 B.C.E.)


Ovoid Jar: Wading Birds


Earthenware, painted decoration


14.8 cm (h.), 11 cm (diam.)


Gift of Miss Mabel Molson, inv. 1925.B.1


Archeology and World Cultures

The decoration of this vase constitutes one of the first depictions of the valley of the Nile and its fauna: wading birds stand along the riverbank, represented in the form of rows of wavy lines placed one on top of the other, which would later be used in the hieroglyphic system to write the word “water” and identify everything related to it. The Nile, whose flooding was regarded as the renewal of the cycle of the seasons, played a vital role in the life and calendar of the Egyptians. A new year began on the first day of the first month of the flood season, which corresponded to the heliacal rising of the star Sirius, around July 19. The year was divided into three seasons of four months – Akhet, the flood season (mid-July to mid-November); Peret, the season of germination and receding waters (mid-November to mid-March); and Shemu, the harvest season (mid-March to mid-July).

Add a touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up