Sketch - ROM2018_16270_5



Medium:Limestone with drawing in black and red ink
Geography: Excavated at Deir el-Bahri, Egypt
Date: c. 1550-1069 BC
Period: 18th-20th Dynasty, New Kingdom
38.4 × 51.5 × 7 cm
Object number: 907.18.1
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt
Description This fascinating piece of limestone was once used by an apprentice scribe for drawing practice.  The rather stiff male figure has the name, Scribe Nefer-Her”in front of his face; was it a self-portrait, or a sketch of the teacher?  The neat wig, broad collar and formal kilt suggest it’s the latter.  Numbers and other letters are drawn here and there on the stone, but the most interesting lines form a pyramid within a grid structure.  Is it, as Currelly suggested, an image of ‘the laying out of a pyramid,’ or could it be a problem in mathematics, the working out of the area of the side of a pyramid?  However one reads the pyramid sketch, the ostracon as a whole shows the activity of a student one day at Deir el Bahari, thirty-five hundred years ago.  When it was time to go home, his task was done, and he threw the heavy piece away.
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