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Relief of a Nobleman

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor

The exact context of this relief is unknown. The anonymous noble's garment and elaborate wig with lotus flower fillet and intricate locks are perfect attire for an offering scene in the underworld.

The relief clearly illustrates the legacy of the artistic style championed by Akhenaten, Egypt's so-called heretic pharaoh. The projection of the face and neck beyond the wig and the deep carving of the rear of the head are details that continued long after Akhenaten's reign. The elegant treatmnent suggests that the relief comes from a tomb at Saqqara, a vast cemetery in the region of Memphis. At the left a hand holds a sistrum (or rattle) and a flower. The missing person was surely a woman, either the wife or some other relative of the deceased.

MEDIUM Limestone, pigment
  • Possible Place Made: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1295–1070 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 19 or Dynasty 20
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 20 1/2 × 17 × 2 1/2 in. (52.1 × 43.2 × 6.4 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented; before 1925, acquired by the Scheurleer Museum, the Hague, the Netherlands; 1936, purchased from the Scheurleer Museum by the Jean Capart for the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Painted limestone relief, probably from a tomb, of the head and bust of a man wearing an elaborate headdress. Sunk relief. Probably a fragment from a large scene in the offering chamber of a tomb. The man wears a very elaborate headdress and garment typical of the Late Empire Period. His wig is beautifully executed and is most elaborate in detail. He faces the spectator’s right in a conventional pose. Behind him is a very large sistrum grasped in a hand. Probably this fragment is from the figure of his wife. There is no inscription. The workmanship is excellent.
    CAPTION Relief of a Nobleman, ca. 1295–1070 B.C.E. Limestone, pigment, 20 1/2 × 17 × 2 1/2 in. (52.1 × 43.2 × 6.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 36.261. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 36.261_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 36.261_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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