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Blue pellets from the production of Egyptian blue

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek


Shown here is an example of some of the blue pellets from the production of Egyptian blue pigments.

Description of object

Petrie found blue frit also known as Egyptian blue in connection with the faience production at Memphis and he explained how it was made into small “pills” or pellets. These occurred in two sizes: the larger with a diameter of 1.2 inches (3cm) and the smaller 0.3 inches (0.75 cm.) According to Petrie the pellets were placed in jars and roasted, and he used ÆIN 1185 as an example. It is a lump of blue pellets fused with (ceramic vessels) that has melted down to plastic-like pieces. The blue pellets are of the smaller size.

Choice of methods

Visual examination

  • Macroscopic

Technical imaging

  • VIL


  • lead isotope analysis


Alexandra S. Rodler, Gilberto Artioli, Sabine Klein, Rainer Petschick, Peter Fink-Jensen, & Cecilie Brøns (2017) "Provenancing ancient pigments: Lead isotope analyses of the copper compound of Egyptian blue pigments from ancient Mediterranean artefacts.”

Historical Studies, pl. XIX.231

  • ÆIN 1185
  • Fragment
  • Late Ptolemaic / Early Roman, 1st century B.C.
  • Egypt: Late Period
  • Frit
  • Found by W.M.F. Petrie during excavations in Memphis, Egypt. c. 1909. Acquisition circumstances unknown.
  • H: 21 cm; W: 15 cm; D: 13 cm

Selected photos

  • _in_1185_col