H. 15 cm (5 7/8 in.); W. 14.5 cm (5 11/16 in.); D. 7 cm (2 3/4 in.)
Rogers Fund, 1912
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134
Small Late Period and Ptolemaic reliefs or sculptures that depict a subject in a partial or unfinished way but are themselves finished objects constitute a special class of object. Guidelines like those for artists are often prominently exhibited as part of the object, although, in fact, many instances can be noted where the object simply could not serve as a suitable model for a traditional formal Egyptian representation. Personifications of kingship, figures that may represent the now emerging demigods Imhotep and Amenhotep Son of Hapu, and popular gods like Harpokrates or Isis, are heavily represented within the corpus.
Taken together, the figures represented and the other features indicate the reliefs and sculptures of this class, sometimes called by Egyptologists "sculptor’s models / votives," were the material of a donation practice, perhaps connected with the prolific temple building of these centuries. Unfortunately there is little to illuminate us about the mechanics of such a donation practice.
Columns are among the architectural elements employed as donation sculptures. This column includes artist's black ink lines on its upper surface, and viewed from right to left the progressive stages of carving are represented: for example on the right the profiles of the two tiers of projecting elements are still rectilinear, whereas on the left they have been gracefully rounded.