Collection online

tomb-relief

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA994

  • Description

    Part of a limestone tomb-relief: parts of three registers carved in good, low relief are preserved. In the bottom register, on the right, is a scene of fishing with a drag-net from a boat; on the left are parts of a harvesting scene - three men are shown harvesting grain and two donkeys are being led away, their backs loaded with great sacks of grain. The centre register contains a scene in which young girls dance and boys play various games; one of the boys is shown wearing an unusual mask. The top register, of which only the lower half is preserved, originally contained a scene of boat-building; on the left, part of one boat is visible; the remainder of the register shows a number of workmen engaged in preparing timber for further construction. The block is in two pieces, the division running down the middle; some damage has occurred on each side of this cut. Some colour still remains: considerable traces of red on the bodies of the men, traces of yellow on the grain being harvested, a few spots of blue on the water below the boat in the bottom register.

    More 

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 87.5 centimetres
    • Height: 48 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        hieroglyphic
      • Inscription Comment

        In low relief.
  • Curator's comments

    Initially scholars guessed that this scene represented a circumcision ritual or a rite of exorcism. The importance of agricultural themes and cyclical iconography in Old Kingdom tombs, however, led other Egyptologists to suggest that the relief portrays events in a seasonal harvest festival intended to ensure the renewed fertility of the land once the crops had been gathered. The female figures were dancers or singers who belonged to a train of musical performers found at most important Egyptian ceremonies. The central group depicts boys dancing around a harvest deity (perhaps shown as a statue) who guaranteed fecundity once reaping was done. The scene of the boy struggling to escape the hut may be part of a puberty ritual marking his transition to a state when he, like the fertile land, could create new life.

    Bibliography.
    B. Porter & R. Moss, 'Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings' III (Oxford: Clarendon Press), 67;
    J. Capart, ‘Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale’ 30, pp. 73-75;
    The British Museum, 'Hieroglyphic texts from Egyptian stelae, etc., in the British Museum' Part 6 (London, 1922), pl. 17;
    E. Russmann, 'Eternal Egypt : masterworks of ancient art from the British Museum', (New York, 2001), 73-74 No 7;
    J. Baines, 'Fecundity Figures' (Warminster, 1985), 129-130, fig. 85.
    Temples and Tombs (American Federation of Arts, 2006): 112, cat no. 69;
    W. S. Smith, 'History of Egyptian Sculpture and Painting in the Old Kingdom' (London, 1949), pp. 209-11, fig. 83;
    J. Vandier, 'Manuel d'Archeologie egyptienne' IV (Paris, 1964), pp. 402-403,520-21,524-27, fig. 209, pl. 18;
    C. Sourdive, 'La main dans l'Egypte pharaonique : recherches de morphologie structurale sur les objets égyptiens comportant une main' (Bern, 1984), pp. 48-52, fig. 1;
    R. M. Janssen & J. J. Janssen, 'Growing up in Ancient Egypt' (London, 1990), pp. 63-66, fig. 27;
    W. Decker & M. Herb, 'Bildatlas zum Sport im alten Ägypten : Corpus der bildlichen Quellen zu Leibesübungen, Spiel, Jagd, Tanz und verwandten Themen' Vol. I (Leiden, New York & Cologne, 1994), pp. 629-30,787; Vol. II, pl. 349;
    G. Pinch, Magic in Ancient Egypt (London 1994), pp. 121-22, fig. 63;
    J. F. Romano, 'Notes on the Historiography and History of the Bes-image in Egypt', Bulletin of the Australian Centre for Egyptology (Sydney) 9, pp. 94-95, fig. 2;
    S. Quirke and J. Spencer, 'British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt', (London, 1992), p. 23, fig. 10.
    See Nord in Fs Dunham (Boston 1981): 142.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Russmann 2001 7 bibliographic details
    • James 1961 pl.25 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G4/B25

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2006 7 Sept-26 Nov, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Temples & Tombs
    2006 21 Dec-2007 18 Mar, Jackonsville, Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Temples & Tombs
    2007 15 Apr-8 Jul, Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art, Temples & Tombs
    2007 16 Nov-2008 10 Feb, New Mexico, Albuquerque Museum, Temples & Tombs

  • Condition

    fair

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1879

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA994

  • Registration number

    1879,1120.177

  • Additional IDs

    • BS.994 (Birch Slip Number)
COMPASS Title: Limestone relief from a tomb;Limestone relief from a tomb

COMPASS Title: Limestone relief from a tomb;Limestone relief from a tomb

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: YCA69370

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...