Height: 17.700 cm
Width: 11.500 cm
Gift of the
Room 66: Ethiopia and Egypt
Part of a calcite canopic jar with a sketch of a saint
From Deir el-Bahari,
Coptic period, 7th-8th century AD
A Christian image on a broken, pre-Christian jar
In Egypt, fragments of pottery and limestone chips have been found that seem to have been used as a convenient surface for short personal inscriptions, doodling and for practice sketches. As a material these fragments cost nothing, and were readily available. Many examples have survived from dynastic Egypt. The practice continued in the Coptic period, when monastic accounts, fragments of teachings and psalms were recorded in the same way.
The artist who
drew this example was probably attracted to this stone surface
because of its smooth finish. This is characteristic of
The drawing, in black pigment, shows a saint. He wears long robes, and has one hand raised in a typical gesture of benediction. The head of the figure is lost. This suggests that the fragment was originally larger, but has since been damaged.