Raised Relief of a Goddess or Queen
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
This work’s style of high, rounded relief and soft bodily proportions is characteristic of Ptolemaic art. The base of a crown is visible on the figure’s head along with a cobra at her forehead. She wears a long hairstyle and a dress that ends in a scalloped hem. One hand is raised, perhaps in worship of a divinity. The other hand holds the ankh-sign, the hieroglyph meaning “life.” The headgear, clothing, and hand gestures could characterize either a queen or a goddess. Since Ptolemaic queens were sometimes considered deities, this relief could represent both.
ca. 45-41 B.C.E.
29 x 15 3/4 x 2 3/4in. (73.7 x 40 x 7cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Bold sunk relief in sandstone of a standing woman. The figure faces left with raised right arm, horizontal left arm holding a life-sign in hand. Rising from a modius atop a wig adorned with a fillet is the lower portion of a crown consisting of tall plumes fronted by cow's horns, and presumably, a solar disk. Around the fillet is coiled the body of a cobra whose head and spread hood rise before the figure's head. The figure wears a broad-collar necklace, represented in relief, and a tight dress starting just below the breasts and ending in a scalloped hemline. Remains of pigment indicate that the dress was painted blue with a central vertical panel of red. Areas of red pigment are also found on the figure's face, chest, and arms. Blue-green pigment indicates armlets and bracelets were painted on the figure. Before the figure is a partially preserved column of hieroglyphic text. Figure and text are framed at the side by raised border lines.
Raised Relief of a Goddess or Queen, ca. 45-41 B.C.E. Sandstone, pigment, 29 x 15 3/4 x 2 3/4in. (73.7 x 40 x 7cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 1989.159. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1989.159_PS9.jpg)
overall, 1989.159_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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Is there any reason the arms and hands are so large in this piece?
These proportions were common in reliefs carved during this time period, the Ptolemaic period. Facial features and body types in ancient Egyptian art changed like fashion trends over time.