Ostracon

Female dancer from Deir el-Medina

Female dancer from Deir el-Medina

This limestone ostracon was discovered in the famous Workers Village of Deir el-Medina. Dating from approximately, 1292–1076 B.C., this piece was created within the 19th or 20th Dynasty. Deir el-Medina (Set Ma’at) was a workman’s village, which was state commissioned and owned. The artisans and architects who would design and build the tombs of the...

Ostracon of a king with a stubbled beard. Walters Art Museum. 32.1

King with a stubbled beard

The ostracon of Seti I seen below is quite a rarity to behold, as a stubbled faced king is a rather peculiar sight in Ancient Egyptian art. Due to the unusualness of the king being depicted with such natural beard growth rather than the famous Egyptian false beard, it is safe to presume this was...

Ostracon with fighting bulls

Ostracon with fighting bulls

This ostracon is a dynamic depiction of two fighting bulls. The powerful motion is portrayed through their bodies, with the back legs of the charging bull pushing forward and head lowered to topple the other bull with its horns. Note the artist’s skillful use of color and pattering to add detail. Ostraca (plural for ostracon)...

Ostracon of a Dancer in an acrobatic position

Ostracon of a Dancer in an acrobatic position

An ostracon showing a topless dancer in an acrobatic position with elaborate hairstyle and hoop earrings in gymnastic backbend. This magnificently drawn sketch of a lady doing a back bend defies many of the conventions of Egyptian art. Performances were held at festivals, banquets, in the temple, and at funerals, but could take place anywhere....

Ostracon showing Amun-Re as a ram

Ostracon of Amun-Re as a ram

This is a pottery ostracon, measuring 14.4×10.3 cm with an ink sketch showing the prow of the sacred boat of the god Amun-Re. It is decorated with a ram’s head and a royal cobra (uraeus). The line of hieroglyphs over the head of the ram reads, “Amun-Re, the Light of Day.” And the column of...

Ostracon Showing a Cat Waiting on a Mouse

Ostracon of a Cat Waiting on a Mouse

In this ostracon, a cat funerary priest approaches a mouse with offerings. The mouse wears a lotus flower on its head, sits on a chair, sniffs a flower, and holds out a cup to be filled. The cat, standing on his hind legs, fans the mouse and offers a roasted duck and a piece of...

Figured Ostracon

Figured Ostracon of animals

An ostracon sketch of animals such common crane, a vulture, and a hound possibly basenji. This probably a series of trial sketches, not an integrated composition, and the subjects were sketched independently. Sketches of animals on ostraca were a common form of artistic expression in ancient Egypt. These sketches depicted a wide range of animals,...

Ostracon of the god Hapi

Ostracon of the god Hapi

An ostracon depicted in two faces, the verso depicted with a double-figure of the Nile god Hapi standing, with a fat body wearing a crown of the two plants of Upper and Lower Egypt and a short kilt. On the left, the god raises his left leg while the right one raises his right leg...

Dispute Over a Hut

Ostracon of a Dispute Over a Hut

Fragmentary limestone ostracon with a hieratic inscription recording the resolution of a dispute over a hut inherited by the workman Wennofer. The inscription is unusual in being incised and filled with blue frit, a technique used for formal hieroglyphic inscriptions. Perhaps Wennofer set this ostracon into a wall of the disputed hut like a stele....

Ostracon of Ramesses III crushing an enemy

Ostracon of Ramesses III crushing an enemy

One of the most typical royal scenes is reproduced on this illustrated ostracon, king Ramesses III in the act of crushing the defeated enemy. The scene was widely used on pylons and external walls of temples. On this piece the king is shown upright, his head adorned with red crown topped by the two feathers...