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Scene from a Magical Papyrus

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

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

The standing winged creature seen here is known as the nineheaded Bes figure, a divine protector of the birth of the king and of the sun. This form of Bes was closely associated with the evening and the night part of the solar cycle. He thus also played an important role as guardian of sleeping women and children, particularly against the dangers of the night, represented here by the noxious creatures contained in the oval upon which he stands. The firebrands that surround him represent destructive forces directed at anyone who approaches.

MEDIUM Papyrus, ink
  • Possible Place Made: Heliopolis, Egypt
  • DATES 7th - 4th century B.C.E.
    PERIOD Late Period
    DIMENSIONS a: Glass: 7 1/2 x 26 3/8 in. (19 x 67 cm) a: Object: 4 7/8 x 23 1/4 in. (12.4 x 59 cm) b: Frame: 7 1/16 x 32 1/2 in. (18 x 82.5 cm) b: Object: 4 1/2 x 30 3/16 in. (11.5 x 76.7 cm) c: Frame: 8 7/8 x 34 1/16 in. (22.6 x 86.5 cm) c: Object: 29 15/16 x 4 7/8 in. (76.1 x 12.4 cm) d: Glass: 8 1/16 x 10 1/16 in. (20.5 x 25.5 cm) d: Largest Fragment  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 47.218.156a-d
    CREDIT LINE Bequest of Theodora Wilbour from the collection of her father, Charles Edwin Wilbour
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Scene from a Magical Papyrus, 7th - 4th century B.C.E. Papyrus, ink, a: Glass: 7 1/2 x 26 3/8 in. (19 x 67 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Theodora Wilbour from the collection of her father, Charles Edwin Wilbour, 47.218.156a-d
    IMAGE overall, 47.218.156_negF_bw_IMLS.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "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 Papyrus inscribed in Hieratic, red and black, with magical text. Two vignettes of Atum as serpent deity standing before composite deity.
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