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Beard from a Statue of a God

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The Egyptian nobility usually shaved their faces during life on earth, although mustaches and square beards occasionally enjoyed popularity. It was only in the sphere of the divine that long, tightly braided beards with an upturned end were worn. Many male gods, such as Osiris, the god of the underworld, are portrayed with this beard. Accordingly, images of the deceased, who became associated with Osiris after being accepted into the afterlife, often include the plaited and curved beard. The dark-blue glass inlays on this beard represent lapis lazuli, because divine hair, beards, eyebrows, and eyelashes were said to be of this semiprecious stone.
MEDIUM Bronze, glass, faience paste
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 664-30 B.C.
    DYNASTY XXVI Dynasty or later
    PERIOD Late Period to Greco-Roman Period
    DIMENSIONS 7/8 x 9/16 x 3 1/16 in. (2.2 x 1.5 x 7.7 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 16.241
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father, Charles Edwin Wilbour
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Beard from a Statue of a God, 664-30 B.C. Bronze, glass, faience paste, 7/8 x 9/16 x 3 1/16 in. (2.2 x 1.5 x 7.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father, Charles Edwin Wilbour, 16.241. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE left, 16.241_left_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Bronze beard from a statue of a god. Front surface inlaid with dark blue glass strips. Tip of beard has six grooves for vertical inlays. Cast hollow and made as separate piece. Condition: Over half of the inlays are missing.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Good (75%)
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    Beard from a Statue of a God

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