Relief Blocks from the Tomb of the Vizier Nespeqashuty
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Temples and Tombs, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Tomb reliefs magically repeated the rituals required to transport the deceased to the afterlife and maintain him or her once there. The wealthier the individual, the more elaborate the decoration of the tomb. Nespeqashuty was a vizier, the highest ranking government official.
The decoration of Nespeqashuty’s tomb was never completed, allowing a rare glimpse into the artist’s working process. The three steps of relief carving are clearly visible here. First, each scene was drawn in color with attention paid to every detail. Next, the outline of each figure was carved and the background cut away. Finally, another carving of the figures softened the contour lines and sculpted the internal details.
The graffiti on the relief were written in both Demotic and Coptic, the two latest stages of the Egyptian language, as well as in Greek, during a thousand-year period after the tomb was prepared for Nespeqashuty. Writing graffiti in the tomb was a pious act, not vandalism.
ca. 664-610 B.C.E.
9 11/16 x 22 1/2 in. (24.6 x 57.2 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
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Relief Blocks from the Tomb of the Vizier Nespeqashuty, ca. 664-610 B.C.E. Limestone, 9 11/16 x 22 1/2 in. (24.6 x 57.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 52.131.6. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.52.131.1-32_68.1_wwgA-3.jpg)
installation, West Wing gallery A-3 installation, CUR.52.131.1-32_68.1_wwgA-3.jpg
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2005
"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.
One of nine limestone blocks (in two courses) forming the lowest register of east wall of tomb of Nes-peka-shuti. Series of male and female servants carrying offerings and walking to the right. Name and titles of owner in single columns between figures. Reliefs more-or-less unfinished, some details still only indicated in red. Hard limestone with numerous traces of iron.
Condition: Reliefs assembled from many fragments, numerous gaps. Surface fragile in sections.
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