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Top of an Arch with a Nymph Riding a Sea Monster

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

In pagan Egyptian tombs, the deceased was often identified with suitable figures in Greco-Roman mythology. This was particularly apparent in the relief decoration of arches designed to curve out and over the heads of visitors to the public part of the tomb. Like the fragmentary examples here, they might show the god of the Nile to recall an authoritative family man, or a nymph to symbolize a young woman. Some wall reliefs, such as the example here showing Hercules as a mature hero, probably served the same commemorative purpose.
MEDIUM Limestone, pigment
DATES 5th–6th century C.E.
PERIOD Late Antique Period
DIMENSIONS 18 1/8 x 31 1/8 x 14 3/8 in. (46 x 79 x 36.5 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
PROVENANCE Probably from Hieracleopolis Magna (Ahnas), Egypt; before 1910, reportedly acquired by Jean-Jacques Sursock; June 28, 1929, purchased from Jean-Jacques Sursock by the Brummer Gallery, Paris, France or New York, NY; May 16, 1938, purchased from the Brummer Gallery (P6146) by Robert Woods Bliss of Washington, DC; before 1941, acquired from Robert Woods Bliss by Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, Washington, DC; December 12, 1941, purchased from Dumbarton Oaks Research Library by the Brummer Gallery; December 12, 1941, purchased from the Brummer Gallery (N5279) by the Brooklyn Museum.
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CAPTION Coptic. Top of an Arch with a Nymph Riding a Sea Monster, 5th–6th century C.E. Limestone, pigment, 18 1/8 x 31 1/8 x 14 3/8 in. (46 x 79 x 36.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 41.1226. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 41.1226_PS2.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 41.1226_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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