In this lively hunting scene, an unidentified Ramesside pharaoh is represented symbolically slaying the enemies of Egypt in the form of a lion. The hieratic text reads: "The slaughter of every foreign land, the Pharaoh—may he live, prosper, and be healthy."
This ostracon, a limestone chip used for sketching, was found in the Valley of the Kings during excavations conducted by Howard Carter on behalf of the Earl of Carnarvon, who received the piece in the division of finds. Although many of the figured ostraca discovered in this royal cemetery were clearly trial sketches made to facilitate an artist's work, this scene is not found in royal tombs, nor do the figures conform to the strict proportions of a formal rendering.
The scene was drawn with great economy of line by the confident hand of a skilled artist who required no grid lines as a guide. It may have been done for the amusement of the maker, or it may graphically represent the artist's hope that the ruler should be a strong protector of Egypt.
Excavated by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter, 1920. Acquired by Lord Carnarvon in the division of finds; Carnarvon Collection, 1920–1926. Purchased by the Museum from Lady Carnarvon, 1926.
Breasted, James H. Jr. 1936. Geschichte Ägyptens. Zürich, Pl. 270.
Phillips, Dorothy W. 1942. Ancient Egyptian Animals, Picture Books (Metropolitan Museum of Art), New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, fig. 34.
Hayes, William C. 1959. Scepter of Egypt II: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part II: The Hyksos Period and the New Kingdom (1675-1080 B.C.). Cambridge, Mass.: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 390, fig. 245.
Glubok, Shirley 1962. The Art of Ancient Egypt. New York: Atheneum, pl. 269.
Arnold, Dieter, Emma Brunner Traut, Henry G. Fischer, Matthias Seidel, Wilfried Seipel, C. Vandersleyen, and Erika Feucht 1975. Das alte Ägypten, Propyläen Kunstgeschichte, 15. Berlin, p. 343, fig. 328b.
Arnold, Dorothea 1995. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, new ser., vol. 52, no. 4 (Spring), New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 16–17, 57, no. 12.
Roehrig, Catharine H. 2008. "Ostracon." In Beyond Babylon: art, trade, and diplomacy in the second millennium B.C., edited by Joan Aruz, Kim Benzel, and Jean M. Evans. New York; New Haven and London: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 418, no. 272.