Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Plaque, female face

Ptolemaic Period–Roman Period
100 BC–100 AD
From Egypt
H. 3.1 × W. 2.6 cm (1 1/4 × 1 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134
A mosaic glass technique allowed multiples of an image to be created: a figural or design composition was made by bundling colored glass canes, which were then drawn out into a long bar. The bar was then sectioned at right angles, probably by striking the bar with appropriate tools, to produce small inlay tiles. The tile would then be smoothed and polished on the face intended to appear outwards.

Such elements could also be used side by side to create repeating patterns. Or if the rod presented one half of an element that was symmetrical, such as a face, a tile and a reversed tile from the same rod could be put together to form a complete whole, as here.

Link to a blog about Ptolemaic Art at The Met
Nile and Newcomers: A Fresh Installation of Egyptian Ptolemaic Art
Acquired by Lord Carnarvon (d. 1923). Carnarvon Collection. Collection acquired by the Museum from Lady Carnarvon 1926.

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