Collections: Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art: Magical Relief

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Double-Spout Vessel

A common motif in Nasca art is the Anthropomorphic Mythical Being, or “masked god,” interpreted by scholars as a symbolic repres...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Bacchante

    Figural realism was the dominant mode in American painting throughout the 1930s, when many artists strove to respond directly to the urgent,...


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    Magical Relief

    Although the winged god with a lion’s face and legs resembles Bes, this image is a composite of several forces represented by the multiple animal heads on the god’s crown. This multifaceted feline divinity stands over bound captives and animals symbolizing chaos—scorpion, turtle, and, apparently, a lion—because they inhabit the dangerous desert or marshes. The god’s power over chaos suggests his protective function.

    Originally, water flowed through the opening at the bottom of the stela, providing magical security, curing ailments and preventing harm.

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