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Relief with a Ship Scene

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor

The incomplete scene at the top of this fragment of a relief from a tomb shows the legs of two butchers and the massive body of the steer they are cutting up to make offerings of meat for the spirit of the tomb owner. In the separate scene below, a sailor climbs the rigging of a billowing sail. Ancient ships traveled up the Nile (south) with sails raised, because the prevailing winds came from the north. When going downstream, the crew lowered the mast and used their oars. Two crew members are partially preserved at the bottom edge. One appears to be waving at the climber and shouting the warning inscribed above him, which reads, "Look out for the ropel"

MEDIUM Limestone
  • Place Made: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 2500-2350 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY V Dynasty
    PERIOD Old Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 23 3/4 x 17 5/16 in. (60.3 x 43.9 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 35.640
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Relief with a Ship Scene, ca. 2500-2350 B.C.E. Limestone, 23 3/4 x 17 5/16 in. (60.3 x 43.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 35.640. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 35.640.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2005
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Fragment of limestone raised relief from a mastaba. Subject: sailor climbing rigging of a vessel. Above, remains of register of slaughtering scene; at right incomplete column of hieroglyphs. Condition: Preserved portion in good condition. Various minor scratches on edges and parts of the surface are pitted. Very faint traces of red and yellow paint still noticeable on background.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (84%)
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