This is one of my favourites from the Manchester Museum collection (acc. no.: 5069) so it was nice to see it pop up in the Garstang Museum’s Before Egypt a couple of years ago, which is where I took this photo.
It dates to the Naqada I period, which makes it really quite old – something like 6000 years old (+/- a few centuries). And unusually for an object as old as this we also know where it came from: it was excavated by the EEF at the site of el-Mahasna and was found in tomb H29.
The EEF are now called the EES (Egypt Exploration Society) and you can actually see one of their original photographs of the object, not long after it was dug out of the ground, on the EES flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/egyptexplorationsociety/48835888238/in/album-72157711174139233/
It’s not a unique design idea, either – there’s another similar bowl in the British Museum (EA63408), excavated in Matmar by Guy Brunton for the British Museum. It’s got 4 hippos and a crocodile on the rim, and isn’t nearly as impressive looking: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/Y_EA63408
See my photo on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/428/ and go left for 2 more views.
I’ve written about hippos on the blog before: https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2020/07/01/two-legs-good-four-legs-bad/