Plaque depicting a goose

Historical period(s)
Saite Dynasty 26 or later, 664-525 BCE or later
Medium
Limestone
Dimensions
H x W x D: 14.7 x 16.3 x 2 cm (5 13/16 x 6 7/16 x 13/16 in)
Geography
Egypt
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1908.61
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Sculpture, Stone
Type

Plaque

Keywords
Egypt, goose, Saite Dynasty 26 (664 - 525 BCE)
Provenance

To 1908
Michel Casira, Cairo, to 1908 [1]

From 1908 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Michel Casira, Cairo, in 1908 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] See Micellaneous List, S.I. 60, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Michel Casira (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Label

Thin, rectangular plaques made of limestone, carved on one or both sides with figures in low relief, have often been interpreted as sculptors' models. They would have furnished patterns for artists to imitate, thus ensuring that the images or hieroglyphs carved on a tomb or temple wall would appear uniform in style and consistent in details even when executed by artisans trained in different workshops.

Some plaques, like this one, have raised borders incised at regular intervals. The markings were probably used to align a grid painted across the surface of the plaque. Artists could then outline the figure to be carved according to an established canon, or set of proportions, measured by means of the grid. This plaque preserves traces of the black outline drawing that guided the sculptor in carving the figure. The goose stands on a base line one grid square high and five squares long.

The quality of carving on these plaques varies considerably, suggesting that some may have served as trial pieces for artisans practicing their skills. Still others may have functioned instead as votive objects offered in a temple by worshipers, with the carved image depicting the deity to whom they were dedicated.

Published References
  • Robert Steven Bianchi. Ex - votos of Dynasty XXVI. vol. 35 Cairo. pp. 5-22.
  • Ann C. Gunter. A Collector's Journey: Charles Lang Freer and Egypt. Washington and London, 2002. p. 101, fig. 4.9.
Collection Area(s)
Ancient Egyptian Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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