Hieroglyph for the Common Folk of Egypt
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
The lapwing bird with outstretched human arms and hands on this decorative tile denotes the population of Egypt, specifically the common people. The image is combined with the hieroglyph for “all” to create the meaning “All Egyptians (common folk) adore.” The object of adoration that completes this phrase could be either the king or a god, depending on the context—a temple or a palace—in which the tile was inlaid.
ca. 1539-1070 B.C.E.
Dynasty 18 to Dynasty 20
4 1/2 x 4 x 7/8 in. (11.5 x 10.2 x 2.3 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Archaeological provenance not yet documented, probably from the temple erected by Ramses II at Tell el Yahoudieh, Egypt; by 1933, acquired by Demotte Galleries, Paris, France and New York, NY; 1933, purchased from Demotte Galleries by the Brooklyn Museum.
Faience tile probably from the temple erected by Ramses II at Tell-el-Yahoudieh which was famous for its glazed tiles in antiquity. The temple was destroyed in antiquity and fragments from it are quite rare. The plaque represents in raised relief a mythological bird called Rekhit sitting on a boat (?) of basket design. A five pointed star and alternating squares of the boat are in white, the background and the other squares are in green blue faience which is inlaid. These objects are the symbols of Lower Egypt and are doubtless adoring the Pharaoh.
Condition: the upper left hand (about a quarter of the plaque) is missing. The right edge and top are badly chipped and same of the small square are missing. There is some iridescence on the inserts.
Hieroglyph for the Common Folk of Egypt, ca. 1539-1070 B.C.E. Faience, 4 1/2 x 4 x 7/8 in. (11.5 x 10.2 x 2.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 33.578. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.33.578_NegA_print_bw.jpg)
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