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Ostrakon with Demotic Inscription

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor

Demotic script first appeared about 700 B.C. It is more cursive than hieratic, and many demotic signs do not correspond exactly with the hieroglyphs used to write the same word. The large number of surviving demotic documents, many of which are not the work of professional scribes, suggests that literacy in Egypt had become more widespread by the time this script appeared.

This ostrakon (inscribed stone or pottery fragment) records a prayer to the god Amun to restore a blind man's sight. It concludes with the words: "Return to me, my great Lord, Amun. I am defenseless; let me not perish; do not forget me."

MEDIUM Limestone, pigment
  • Possible Place Collected: Thebes, Egypt
  • DATES 305-30 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 10 3/16 x 9 5/16 x 1 3/16 in. (25.9 x 23.7 x 3 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Ostrakon with Demotic Inscription, 305-30 B.C.E. Limestone, pigment, 10 3/16 x 9 5/16 x 1 3/16 in. (25.9 x 23.7 x 3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1821E. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, CUR.37.1821E_erg456.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 9/5/2007
    "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 Trapezoidal-shaped limestone ostracon inscribed on one side with 22 lines of Demotic script in black ink. Condition: Chips out of left edge.
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