Ostracon with sketch of a calf
- Late Period, Saite
- Dynasty 26
- reign of Psamtik I
- 664–610 B.C.
- From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Tomb of Nespakashuty (TT 312, MMA 509a), MMA excavations, 1922–23
- Limestone, ink
- H. 11 × W. 9 cm (4 5/16 × 3 9/16 in.)
- Credit Line:
- Rogers Fund, 1923
- Accession Number:
The courtyard rubbish outside Nespekashuty's tomb reflects long periods of use, a situation which complicates the dating and understanding of the painted ostraka found there. A recent stylistic study has allowed them to be grouped chronologically, however.
The horse (23.3.33) and leaping lion (23.3.28) are done with red preliminary sketches, finalized with a thin, supple black line; this technique resembles that of the Ramesside artists from Deir el Bahri. The incised crocodile (23.3.30) relates best to ostraka known from the Ptolemaic Period.
A third group, including a calf (23.3.27), blind harpist (23.3.31), and floral capitals (23.3.34, 23.3.35) appears to be contemporary with the tomb of Nespekashuty. On these, the preliminary drawing was executed in a pale red ink that was overlaid with a final line in darker red; wide contour lines were created by short overlapping strokes. The technique resembles that noted in preliminary drawings on the walls of the first chamber of Nespekashuty's tomb. These ostraka then may be discarded preliminary sketches for the tomb decoration.