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Châine Opératoire

The reconstruction of the "châine opératoire" for the frog amulet revealed a complex sequence see (châine opératoire diagram); it shows that the production of such amulets in the New Kingdom was part of an organised and controlled system. The choices of colours, the standard designs and the amuletic significance of these objects indicated a uniformed pattern, which was influenced by religious belief and traditional fashions. Also the scale of this production appears to have been large and highly organised—it involved sourcing some of the raw materials from areas beyond Amarna and Egypt with possible links to a wide trade network. We have also seen links to and cooperation with other industries—faience craftspeople used clay for mould making and possibly fired them in pottery kilns, with the glass production they shared workshops, colorant oxides, frits and firing kilns, and from the metal workshops they had a supply of metal oxides and tools.

The faience production in the New Kingdom flourished. Though the faience workers used techniques that were developed during the earlier period they pushed the production to the limit. There was a major increase in the quality, diversity and quantity of faience objects, especially in jewellery and personal adornments like our object. This increase probably was due to the state control or supervision of the industry. We have seen in this study that the faience work required efficiency, division and an adequate supervision of labour. The craftspeople explored different materials and techniques in order to overcome the difficult physical properties of faience and find an efficient method to enable them to achieve quality and quantity in the production.

The "châine opératoire" also revealed that apart from the designing and making of the moulds, forming amulets in moulds is very simple and could have been part of household activities; it does not require any special skills or set-up. The raw materials and the moulds could have been acquired or been supplied by the state as part of the organized industries in Amarna.

Châine opératoire diagram

Diagram showing manufacturing sequence process of frog amulet

This page last modified 6 May, 2010 by Kathryn E. Piquette


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