Model quatrefoil column capital - ROM2018_16270_32


Model quatrefoil column capital

Geography: Undetermined site, Egypt
Date: c. 323-30 BC
Period: Ptolemaic Period
15.91 × 12 cm
Object number: 910.72
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

Architectural models such as this column capital allowed sculptors to establish the shape and form of architectural elements before their full-scale implementation. Ptolemaic stone masons introduced complicated lobed campaniform column capitals, such as this one, in addition to the standard New Kingdom papyriform and lotiform capitals. One can see similar full-size column capitals in the Ptolemaic temples at Deir el Medina, Edfu, Kom Ombo and Philae. Models such as this are often considered as “votives," but there is little information about how the mechanics of such a donation practice would work.

This fine example of a sculptor's model of a column capital is of the quatrefoil lobed campaniform type.  At the top is a square abacus (6 x 6 cm) about 2.5 cm thick.  The column shaft (6 cm in diameter) is formed by eight rounded bands of vertical stalks held below by two bands. The bottom band is 1.6 cm wide and was originally made of 16 facets which have been smoothed. The upper band is 3 cm wide and the 16 facets still clearly visible, although likely it was meant to be smoothed as well.  The stalks expand alternately to four smaller lotus leaves in a lower row and four larger lotus leaves in an upper row. Each lotus leaf is a volute in the centre and is flanked by a volute at either side. The column capital preserves small black vertical lines which seem to have guided the work of the sculptor; these are found at all levels of the capital.

If you see an error or have additional information, please contact us by clicking here.