Ostracon with galloping calf - ROM2018_16270_16


Ostracon with galloping calf

Geography: Excavated at Deir el-Bahri, Egypt
Date: c. 1295-1069 BC
Period: Probably 19th-20th Dynasty, Ramesside Period, New Kingdom
8.1 × 11.5 × 1.4 cm
Object number: 907.18.8
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt
DescriptionFlakes of white limestone were very common in the Theban necropolis area and were used by scribes and draftsmen as notepaper. Students could write their lessons on this inexpensive material and artists could experiment with figured scenes, most likely in preparation for larger compositions. Scenes of animal life are common in Egyptian art; cattle-raising and herding are one of the more commonly depicted tomb scenes.  This ostracon depicts a galloping calf and may have been drawn by one of the craftsmen working in the royal tombs who lived at Deir el-Medina. It is broken at the left hand side, but two tools are visible at the left of the preserved piece.  These must have been held by a herdsman who is driving the calf forward. One appears to be a short sword and the other a staff. A sense of motion is achieved by the positioning of the legs, especially those in the rear where the right leg is raised and the left one extends back beyond the figure. The tail seems to be curled around the haunch of the calf.  This type of freedom of movemnt is associated with the Amarna Period in Egyptian art, so the probability is that this piece was drawn at the very end of the 18th Dynasty or more likely in the Ramesside Period (Dynasties 19-20).  The text of five hieratic signs above the calf appear to read "Amun of Eternity."  This may possibly be the name of the calf, but could be unrelated to the image. (S.B. Shubert)
Object History: Excavated by the Egypt Exploration Society, 1905-1907
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