Cone Vessel

Published by Les on

This month, for my article for Woodturning magazine I was supposed to be writing about steam-bending timber, but I made a last minute substitution and wrote about something far more intriguing!

Several thousand years ago in the deserts of Ancient Persia and not too far from the now-ruined settlement of Persepolis, stood a minor settlement by the name of Tall-i-Bakun, which it is believed was an administrative and manufacturing centre for the nomadic tribes of the desert. One of the main products of this settlement was ceramic ware, and one of the most commonly found items was the Cone Vessel.

An original Tall-i-Bakun cone vessel circa 4000BC
(Image courtesy of Metropolitan Musem of Art – Open Access Library)

The image above has been sitting in a folder on my laptop for a year or more, just waiting for the right moment to write an article about it and to make my own version of it. I was intrigued by the shape: why would anyone make a vessel with a pointed base? However, research into the lives of the tribes of people who owned such vessels, led to the answer; as nomadic desert dwellers, they would have had little or no “furniture”, so most of their possessions would have sat on the floor, and as the floor was generally sand, it makes sense to have a pointed base to push into the sand.

So here’s my take on the Tall-i-Bakun cone vessel, made to the same dimensions as the original shown above, which makes it 20cm tall and 15cm diameter, and, as I don’t have a sand floor, I’ve made a stand to support it.

Making an item that comes to a point and that is also hollow, was quite tricky. Also, the original is described by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as being “egg shell thin”, so I settled for 2mm.

If anyone fancies having a go at making one, you can read all about it in the April issue of “Woodturning” magazine.


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