Skip Navigation

Hieroglyph for the Common Folk of Egypt

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
The lapwing bird with outstretched human arms and hands on this decorative tile denotes the population of Egypt, specifically the common people. The image is combined with the hieroglyph for “all” to create the meaning “All Egyptians (common folk) adore.” The object of adoration that completes this phrase could be either the king or a god, depending on the context—a temple or a palace—in which the tile was inlaid.
MEDIUM Faience
  • Possible Place Made: Tell el Yahudiya, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1539–1070 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 18 to Dynasty 20
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 4 1/2 x 4 x 7/8 in. (11.5 x 10.2 x 2.3 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented, probably from the temple erected by Ramses II at Tell el Yahoudieh, Egypt; by 1933, acquired by Demotte Galleries, Paris, France and New York, NY; 1933, purchased from Demotte Galleries by the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Faience tile probably from the temple erected by Ramses II at Tell-el-Yahoudieh which was famous for its glazed tiles in antiquity. The temple was destroyed in antiquity and fragments from it are quite rare. The plaque represents in raised relief a mythological bird called Rekhit sitting on a boat (?) of basket design. A five pointed star and alternating squares of the boat are in white, the background and the other squares are in green blue faience which is inlaid. These objects are the symbols of Lower Egypt and are doubtless adoring the Pharaoh. Condition: the upper left hand (about a quarter of the plaque) is missing. The right edge and top are badly chipped and same of the small square are missing. There is some iridescence on the inserts.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Hieroglyph for the Common Folk of Egypt, ca. 1539–1070 B.C.E. Faience, 4 1/2 x 4 x 7/8 in. (11.5 x 10.2 x 2.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 33.578. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.33.578_NegA_print_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, CUR.33.578_NegA_print_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.