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Illustrated Papyrus

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor

Because papyrus was a costly material, it was normally reserved for important documents such as administrative records and funerary literature. For the same reason, talented artists usually drew the illustrations. This crudely drawn parade of important Egyptian deities is therefore quite surprising.

MEDIUM Papyrus, pigment, ink
  • Reportedly From: Memphis, Egypt
  • DATES 4th–3rd century B.C.E.
    PERIOD Early Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 37.1647Ea1: 13 9/16 × 6 9/16 in. (34.5 × 16.6 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION A bull-headed god, crowned with a sun-disk, and wearing a tripartite wig, short kilt, and bracelets. In his right hand he holds an Ankh-sign while in his left hand he holds before him a Was-scepter. The god’s body is painted a deep reddish-brown while his face and the sun-disk are tan. The wig is painted blue (now faded) while the emblems which he holds are painted gold. The kilt is half blue and half gold with black lines to indicate the pleats. The entire figure is outlined in black which is also used to indicate most details. Before the figure’s face is a cartouche. Condition: Fragmentary. Losses are located in the wig, the proper left shoulder of the figure, the kilt, the Was-scepter, and the feet as also missing. Blue pigment worn.
    CAPTION Illustrated Papyrus, 4th–3rd century B.C.E. Papyrus, pigment, ink, 37.1647Ea1: 13 9/16 × 6 9/16 in. (34.5 × 16.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1647Ea1 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1647Ea-e_view1_cropped.jpg)
    IMAGE component, C1-3 obverse, 37.1647Ea-e_view1_cropped.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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