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Egyptian painted limestone relief of the head of a dignitary

Egyptian painted limestone relief of the head of a dignitary

Late Dynastic Period, early 26th Dynasty, 664-610 BC

Height: 21.6 cm


Provenance: Sold Münzen und Medaillen, Auktion no. 46, Basel, 28 April 1972, lot 99; The Toledo Museum of Art, acquired 1972 (Accession no. 1972.16), de-accessioned 2016 to benefit the acquisitions fund


Finely carved in sunk relief and with original polychrome surviving, the fragment shows the head of a man in profile wearing a close-fitting cap, part of his left shoulder preserved with strands of a broad collar visible. The style, large eyes with pronounced eyebrow and the thick-lipped mouth, is typical of the transitional period between the 25th and 26th dynasties.


Believed to be from the tomb of the high dignitary Pediamenopet at El-Assasif in Thebes (TT 33), the largest surviving private tomb from the Late Period. Pediamenopet was a Chief Lector Priest and scribe and was influential during the late 25th Dynasty and especially in the early 26th. He is known from at least three statues, including one of yellow quartzite in Cairo where he is depicted seated as a scribe with his legs folded, a scroll in his lap; one of alabaster, also in Cairo, seated on a backless chair; and one of granite in Berlin in a squatting pose. Another relief of him from the tomb, now in Brussels, is nearly identical to this example, except he is shown facing left and preserves more of his torso.


Condition:  Repaired from two large fragments, the break running down part of the skull cap. Crack and small loss to the back of the head filled.


Exhibited: The Toledo Museum of Art, The Egypt Experience: Secrets of the Tomb, 29 October 2010- 8 January 2012.


Literature: Published: O. Wittmann, ed., 'Treasures for Toledo,' in 'The Toledo Museum of Art Museum News', Vol. 19, 1976, p. 44, nos. 2-3. Also W.H. Peck, S.E. Knudsen and P. Reich, 'Egypt in Toledo: The Ancient Egyptian Collection at the Toledo Museum of Art', Toledo, 2011, p. 76.



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