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Figure of a Bound Foreign Prisoner

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The ancient Egyptians thought of their country as the center of the ordered universe and frequently viewed everything and everyone outside it as part of the threatening eternal chaos within which the universe was created. Because of the importance of images and their manipulation in Egyptian magic, the Egyptians believed that representations of bound foreigners (here a Nubian) could be ritually "tortured" or buried to aid in the magical subjugation of potential malign forces.

CULTURE Egyptian
MEDIUM Limestone
  • Possible Place Made: Thebes, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1979-1801 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY XII Dynasty (possibly)
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom (possibly)
    DIMENSIONS 4 7/16 x 1 3/4 x 1 3/8 in. (11.3 x 4.5 x 3.5 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 73.23
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Egyptian. Figure of a Bound Foreign Prisoner, ca. 1979-1801 B.C.E. Limestone, 4 7/16 x 1 3/4 x 1 3/8 in. (11.3 x 4.5 x 3.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 73.23. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE 3/4 front right, 73.23_threequarter_right_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
    "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 One figure of a bound Nubian prisoner worked in very soft limestone. Kneeling with arms pulled behind back. Wearing a short wig. An ear plug (?) in right ear worked in the stone, gone from left ear. Features worn. Torse very long. Traces of dark red-brown over all flesh areas most of which remains on back. Traces of black on hair. Condition: Most paint gone. Surface abrasions and worn areas, nose and mouth very worn.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (93%)
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