Artists used stone remnants left over from larger works to practice carving hieroglyphic signs and decorative elements. Here, the profiles of a man and a feline deity may be studies for larger works. Two hieroglyphs also appear on the thin slab. First used around 3000 BCE, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs used images to convey sounds and meaning in writing. The undulating horned viper at the bottom of this piece represents the sound f, while the large owl in the center has the phonetic value m.
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Thomas George Allen, A Handbook of the Egyptian Collection (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1923), pp. 44-46 (ill.).
Lee Johnson, The Paintings of Eugène Delacroix: A Critical Catalogue, vol. 3, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 131.
Karen B. Alexander, “From Plaster to Stone: Ancient Art at the Art Institute of Chicago,” in Karen Manchester, Recasting the Past: Collecting and Presenting Antiquities at the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), p. 28.
Roberta Casagrande-Kim, ed., When the Greeks Ruled Egypt: From Alexander the Great to Cleopatra. Exh. cat. (New York: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014), p. 91, cat. 19.
Art Institute of Chicago, Ancient Art Galleries, Gallery 154A, April 20, 1994 - February 6, 2012.
Art Institute of Chicago, When the Greeks Ruled: Egypt After Alexander the Great, October 31, 2013 - July 27, 2014; traveled to New York City, NY, the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, October 8, 2014 - January 4, 2015.
Art Institute of Chicago, Life and Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, Feb. 11, 2022 - present.
Maurice Nahman (1868-1948), Cairo; sold to the Art Institute of Chicago through James Henry Breasted as agent, 1920.
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