Head of a Canid, possibly a Jackal

Late Period

Not on view

The classification of wild canids, for instance, the Egyptian jackal, Canis lupaster, and the wild dog living at the margins of the Egyptian desert, causes problems even for zoologists. It is not surprising, therefore, that the ancient Egyptians did not distinguish particular canid species in their representations of gods, such as the necropolis god Anubis; Duamutef, one of the four sons of Horus; or Wepwawet, the god of Asyut, a town in Middle Egypt. This sensitively modeled plaster head could have served to depict any of these deities.

The use of plaster and the rough, unmodeled area around the ears indicate that the head was cast in a mold. Recent research has shown that Egyptian artists used a variety of finely graded plaster materials for trial pieces and finished works of art.This small head is in a class with Old Kingdom "reserve" heads and the famous New Kingdom plaster portraits from an artist's studio at Amarna. In the latter workshop, mold casting was also practiced.

Head of a Canid, possibly a Jackal, Gypsum plaster

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