Central Panel from a Shrine for a Divine Image
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
The central panel here is inscribed for the Thirtieth Dynasty king Nectanebo II (reigned circa 360–342 B.C.). It comes from a shrine that presumably held a cult statue of the squatting goddess it depicts. Showing a figure in heavy, enveloping robes like this was a standard way of representing deities and symbolizing protection and the potential for life and regeneration. The resemblance to a wrapped mummy has led some Egyptologists to wonder: Is a mummy a body stylized into a divine image?
The side panels are probably from a different and earlier shrine.
ca. 664-342 B.C.E.
Dynasty 26 to Dynasty 30
18 1/2 x 13 3/8 x 1 3/8 in. (47 x 34 x 3.5 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Large wooden panel. At the top is a horizontal band bearing an inscription which gives the name of Nectanebo II: "Life to the Good God, the Lord of the Two Lands, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Nectanebo II." This inscription is written twice; once in each direction from the "ankh" which is written only once. Below this band are three wooden panels set into the main piece of wood. In the center is a seated goddess, facing right, crowned with a sun-disk. The other two panels represent, each, a uraeus coiled upon a "neb" basket, and wearing an "atef" crown. The snakes face inwards and extend two wings forwards. Before then are a "was" scepter and "shen" sign as well as a small cartouche. These figures are modeled in relief and inlaid with colored glass. The hieroglyphs of the upped band of inscription are also inlaid with colored glass. Below these figures are three panels, side by side, which are inlaid to resemble the woven patterns on false doors. The main piece of wood extends down past these last three insets but it is broken and rotted. Two rectangular pieces of wood extend sideways out from behind the upper band of inscription (one on each side). The piece is probably part of a piece of furniture.
Condition: Bottom rotted away; many glass inlays missing.
Central Panel from a Shrine for a Divine Image, ca. 664-342 B.C.E. Wood, glass, 18 1/2 x 13 3/8 x 1 3/8 in. (47 x 34 x 3.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.258E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.37.258E_overall.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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