Relief Plaque of Cobra on a Neb Basket
This relief depicts the cobra on a neb basket from the king’s Two Ladies name. Small Late Period and Ptolemaic reliefs or sculptures that depict a subject in a partial or unfinished way but are themselves finished objects constitute a special class of object. Guidelines like those for artists are often prominently exhibited as part of the object, although, in fact, many instances can be noted where the plaque simply could not serve as a suitable model for a traditional formal Egyptian representation. Personifications of kingship, figures that may represent the now emerging demigods Imhotep and Amenhotep Son of Hapu, and popular gods like Harpocrates or Isis, are heavily represented within the corpus.
Taken together, the figures represented and the other features indicate the reliefs and sculptures of this class. Sometimes called by Egyptologists “sculptor’s models or votives”. They were the material of a donation practice, perhaps connected with the prolific temple building of these centuries. Unfortunately there is little to illuminate us about the mechanics of such a donation practice.
Late Period to Ptolemaic Period, ca. 400-30 BC. Dimensions: H. 12.5 cm (4 15/16in.); W. 9.7 cm (3 13/16 in.); D. 1.8 cm (11/16 in.) Now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 07.228.14