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tile

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA12337

  • Description

    Polychrome glazed composition tile: this expressive tile is of a captive Libyan chief. Portrayed with uplifted face and one arm bound by a rope, he wears ornamented chest-straps and a loin-cloth, the simple costume of an overlord of the ancient Libyan, or Tjehenu, tribe. His tattoos and pierced ear reflect current Libyan fashion. The surface of his body is modelled in relief, with moulded pieces like the face added separately. The tile has been reconstructed from three pieces.

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  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 31 centimetres
    • Width: 9.1 centimetres
    • Length: 2.5 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Such tiles from Tell el-Yahudiya display a greater variety of pose, scale, and detail than their counterparts from Medinet Habu, and include some of Egypt's most accomplished works from this final era of polychrome glazed composition.

    Another Libyan chief of this type appears on the glazed composition throne dais of Ramses II with the same pale skin, bright free-flowing hair, bare chest with crossed straps, and phallus sheath, a depiction contrasting sharply with the garb of most of the contemporary Meshwesh/Libu tribes and chiefs. It is possible that Ramses III chose this image to continue his pattern of imitating works by his famous predecessor.

    Unlike some of the other foreigners shown on the tiles, the Libyan tribes were a real threat to the Egyptians in the period of Ramses III, and much wall space at Ramses Ill's temple at Medinet Habu depicts battles involving this group. While prisoner tiles are usually emblematic - lacking specific titles or place names - a chief of this type comes to life ar Medinet Habu as a semi-legendary individual named Meshesher, shown with his father Keper.

    Representations on the base of the window of appearance where the king appeared before the public often show prisoners in the stance on this tile, with feet raised off the ground. The prisoner tiles from Tell el-Yahudiya were probably positioned in the same way as those at Medinet Habu, where the architectural context is well preserved, that is, set into the wall at the base of an area where the king appeared before the public.

    Bibliography:
    S. Quirke and J. Spencer, 'British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt', (London, 1992), p. 181, fig. 141;
    G. Robins, ‘The Art of Ancient Egypt’ (London, 1997), p. 16, fig. 4.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Friedman 1998 54 bibliographic details
    • Shaw & Nicholson 1995 p308 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2011 Jul–Sept, Newcastle, Great North Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
    2012 Oct–Jan, Dorchester, Dorset County Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
    2012 Feb–June, Leeds City Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
    2012 Jul-Oct, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
    2012 Nov– Feb 2013, Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
    2013 Mar–Aug, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery , Pharaoh: King of Egypt
    [Theme: Imagery of war]
    2013, 25 Oct- 2014, 15 Feb, Wuhan, Hubei Provincial Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt, PROMISED

  • Condition

    fair - repaired from three fragments

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    28 November 1996

    Treatment proposal

    Check stability of glaze under magnification. 2 support fills to missing areas in mid area. paint said fills.

    Condition

    Previously broken and restored. Missing areas in places from edges. Hairline cracks appearing in body of tile running parallel to main break in midline. Glaze appears to be cracking.

    Treatment details

    Glaze examined under magnification and found to be stable. Hairline cracks consolidated with Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) 10% and 20% in 50:50 Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) and acetone via syringe, and paraloid B72 and glass microballoon paste. Missing areas filled with Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) mixed with Microballoons (silica or phenolic resin). with dental wax for support. Retouched with acrylic paints.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1871

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA12337

  • Registration number

    1871,0619.510

Polychrome glazed composition tile depicting a Libyan prisoner wearing ornamented chest-straps and a loin-cloth; three fragments re-joined.

Polychrome glazed composition tile depicting a Libyan prisoner wearing ornamented chest-straps and a loin-cloth; three fragments re-joined.

Image description

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Object reference number: YCA51884

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