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Comparison Between Egyptian and Mayan Pottery

Criteria Egyptian Pottery Ancient Mayan Pottery
ImagesEgyptian Pottery Mayan pottery
Techniques - Pre-Dynastic Period - Hand made red wares produced in Nubia without a potter's wheel, they were made by hollowing out a lump of clay and pinching it to give it's final form
Artifacts were then dried in the sun and finally varnished with a stone, to achieve a smooth shiny surface
- Early Dynastic Period - A flat tool was used to press the clay against the other hand, this simple procedure produced thin-walled vessels. Pottery was then decorated with engraved drawings of boats and crocodiles. It was then fired in simple kilns.
- Old Kingdom - invention of the potter wheel (rotated by hand). the clay was prepared more carefully achieving better consistency, and the kilns were improved. As a result pottery was more symmetrical and the surface has a homogenous color. Enamel was applied to smoothen the surface and color the earthenware, it consisted of slip (a mixture of water and clay).
- A potter's wheel was not used by the Mayans. Instead, Mayans used coil and slab techniques.
  1. The coil method involved the formation of clay into long coiled pieces that were wound into a vessel. the coils were then smoothed together to create walls.
  2. The slab method used square slabs of clay to create boxes and additions like feet or lids for vessels.
    - Once the pot was formed into the shape, then it would have been set to dry and painted.
    - Ball games and rituals are key subjects painted and inscribed on the vessels.
Use - Decorated Religious artifacts:
  1. Canopic Jars: Four stone jars contained the interior parts of the body which were removed before embalming and deposited with the mummies these were the stomach, hear, lungs and liver
  2. Osirian figures: small objects in enamel pottery deposited with the dead, representing mummies. These resembled each other in the hieroglyphic legends painted or impressed on them
  3. Ceramic jars filled with food offerings, were left in tombs

Undecorated daily use vessels:

primitive and undecorated clay bowls, vases, jars and pots
- Practical shapes to create vessels to carry liquids and food
- Limited religious role in pottery
Materials Dark earthenware and stoneware
  1. Nile Silt clay - produces Reddish brown pottery
  2. alabaster - transparent marble
  3. Steatite (soapstone) - easily worked, and bears heat
Earthenware only
  1. Volcanic clays and ashes - created varied colors when fired
  2. No use of stones
External coat - Enameled pottery was made from small steatite and clay artifacts, covered with colored enamel
- True glazed pottery was made in Roman times
- Glazing was never applied
- Clay slips (mixture of clays and minerals) were used to decorate the pottery.
Patron Deity Khnum - The Great Potter secular pottery - no patron god
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By Ayman Fadl - Copyright © 2001-2014