27: An Egyptian Polychrome Relief Fragment
This is a lovely limestone relief fragment, depicting a kneeling man, wearing a loincloth and looking to the right; the figure is carved in deep relief. Much of the original colouring remains, such as red-brown for the skin, white for the loincloth and black for the hair. Some details were incised. It is impossible to tell whether this figure was part of a scene or a hieroglyphic sign in a text; the lack of other details seem to suggest the latter; in that case the text must have been written in very large hieroglyphs. The sign of a sitting man can indicate "male" or "man", names, functions and other roles of men, but the sign can also function as a grammatical pronoun meaning "I", "me", "mine".
The fragment was found in the debris of a Theban tomb, the walls of which had collapsed long ago. It is said to come from the Theban necropolis area known as Asasif, possibly from the tomb of a man called Montuemhat.
Dimensions: ca. 11,5 x 11 x 3 cm.
Dating: Difficult to date exactly, probably 25th dynasty (ca. 746-655 B.C.), but could also be much older, from the New Kingdom or shortly after (ca. 1550 B.C. onwards).
Provenance: Dutch private collection MB; previously with Aton Gallery Germany; previously German private collection, 1960s.
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Fragment as shown, with much of the colouring remaining; comes with an acrylic stand.