Fragment of glazed tile showing a Libyan captive

From the palace of Ramesses III, Tell el-Yahudia, Egypt
20th Dynasty, around 1200 BC

One of the traditional enemies of Egypt

This image on this fragment represents a Libyan, a traditional enemy of Egypt. He is shown in the conventional Egyptian manner: a short beard, a long sidelock of hair, and simple clothing; the marks on his body may be tattoos.

Tiles showing the traditional enemies of Egypt (known as the 'nine bows') may have been part of the decoration of a throne room in a palace, placed either on the base of the throne or on the floor in front of the throne. The king would then literally and metaphorically trample on his enemies.

Tell el-Yahudia is a town-site on the Nile delta, about twenty kilometres north-east of Cairo. At some time in the past there was a Jewish temple and fortress, as well as a cemetery, at Tell el-Yahudia and its modern arabic name reflects this. The nineteenth-century excavators, Henri Naville and Flinders Petrie, were particularly interested in the site because they hoped for finds with a biblical connection. This fragment came from a clandestine excavation carried out some time before 1870, but other similar fragments found by Petrie suggest that they came from a building of Ramesses III. Ramesses made major modifications to the settlement, essentially building a new town.

Find in the collection online

More information


F.D. Friedman (ed.), Gifts of the Nile: ancient Egy (London, Thames and Hudson, 1998)

G. Robins, The art of ancient Egypt (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

W.M.F. Petrie, Hyksos and Israelite cities (London, School of Archaeology, University College; Quaritch, 1906)

E. Naville, The Mound of the Jew and the c (London, Egypt Exploration Fund, 1890)

S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)


Length: 31.000 cm
Width: 9.100 cm

Museum number

EA 12337



Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore