Left Foot from an Anthropoid Coffin
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Funerary Gallery 2, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
The pliability of wood allows for more detailed and naturalistic carving than stone. Because of the scarcity and cost of the material in ancient Egypt, the feet and arms of wooden statues or anthropoid (i.e., human-shaped) coffins were often made separately.
The fact that this life-size painted foot extends as far as the heel suggests that it was originally part of a coffin rather than a statue. Although independently modeled feet on anthropoid coffins appeared as early as the late New Kingdom, the sandals and red outline of toenails on this foot are more typical of the Greco-Roman period.
Wood, gesso, pigment
30 B.C.-2nd century C.E.
Roman Period (probably)
2 1/16 x 3 1/5 x 6 5/8 in. (5.2 x 7.7 x 16.8 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Two (2) holes for pegs, painted yellow with red outlines of toenails; red and white sandal top.
Left Foot from an Anthropoid Coffin, 30 B.C.-2nd century C.E. Wood, gesso, pigment, 2 1/16 x 3 1/5 x 6 5/8 in. (5.2 x 7.7 x 16.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.2041.1E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.2041.1E_top_PS2.jpg)
top, 37.2041.1E_top_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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Why the holes?
These feet come from an anthropoid coffin and they were attached to a coffin in these spots. Pegs would have fin into the holes and then plastered and painted over so you couldn't see them.
If you look closely, you can notice the outline of Greco-Roman sandals on the feet.