Fine concave (but slightly asymmetric) stone vessel made of Soapstone or Steatite with geometrical designs including "dots in circle" However, this vessel has quite some weight so not absolutely sure about it being made of soft stone. No lid present.
These vases are carved out of a big piece of soft stone, so no pottery! The material soft stone is plentiful in Oman.
These type of pots were manufactured in Oman e.g. Maysar and found in elsewhere in Oman e.g. Bawshar and Baht. They were also exported to Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Similar vases were found in Bahrain and the Emirates (Hili tombs) They were used for burial gifts or storage: holding oil, concentrated fluids and honey. Burial places can also have the shape of beehives. Height 11 cm.
Ref 3 / Ref 9: "Soft Stone vessels made from Steatite / Chlorite / Soapstone are divided in 4 stylistic and chronological groups:
- Serie Ancienne (2600-2200 B.C): The Ancienne series dates from the third millennium BC decorated with figurative figures.
- Serie Intermediaire: The most common group the so called Omani group of shallow bowls in Grey steatite sometimes with a single trough sprout, sometimes with vertically pierced lug handles decorated with the dot and circle design motif in a single row below the rim (Potts would place these in the series intermediaire)
- Serie Recente (2300-2000B.C.): Slightly later come a group of conical vases with concave sides often with lids. Pots and lids are decorated with increasing numbers of double circles with dots in the centre and a limited range of linear motifs as well. It is generally accepted that many of these Series Recente vessels originate in Oman and that a number were made in Maysar (Weisgerber 1981)
- Serie Tardive (2000-1700 BC) Some time in the middle of the second Millenium herringbone patterns of broken lines become popular (Haser 1990) etc
Most of the Omani softstone vessels fit in the serie Recente and serie Tardive. However Potts puts several Omani softstone vessels also in the serie Intermediaire.
Softstone Vessel with "dot in circle" design