Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Model quatrefoil 2-story palmette capital

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
400–30 B.C.
From Egypt
H. 15 cm (5 7/8 in.); W. 14.5 cm (5 11/16 in.); D. 7 cm (2 3/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1912
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134
Small Late Period and Ptolemaic reliefs or sculptures that depict a subject in a partial or unfinished way but are themselves finished objects constitute a special class of object. Guidelines like those for artists are often prominently exhibited as part of the object, although, in fact, many instances can be noted where the object simply could not serve as a suitable model for a traditional formal Egyptian representation. Personifications of kingship, figures that may represent the now emerging demigods Imhotep and Amenhotep Son of Hapu, and popular gods like Harpokrates or Isis, are heavily represented within the corpus.

Taken together, the figures represented and the other features indicate the reliefs and sculptures of this class, sometimes called by Egyptologists "sculptor’s models / votives," were the material of a donation practice, perhaps connected with the prolific temple building of these centuries. Unfortunately there is little to illuminate us about the mechanics of such a donation practice.

Columns are among the architectural elements employed as donation sculptures. This column includes artist's black ink lines on its upper surface, and viewed from right to left the progressive stages of carving are represented: for example on the right the profiles of the two tiers of projecting elements are still rectilinear, whereas on the left they have been gracefully rounded.
Purchased in Cairo from Dikran Kelekian, 1912.

Young, Eric 1964. "Sculptors' Models or Votives?: In Defense of a Scholarly Tradition." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 22, no. 7 (March), p. 256, fig. 14.

Related Objects

Composite Papyrus Capital

Artist: Date: 380–343 B.C.
Accession Number: 10.177.2
Date: 380–343 B.C. Medium: Sandstone, paint Accession: 10.177.2 On view in:Gallery 131

Model quatrefoil palmette capital

Artist: Date: 400–30 B.C.
Accession Number: 66.99.138
Date: 400–30 B.C. Medium: Limestone Accession: 66.99.138 On view in:Gallery 134

Plaque Depicting a Goddess or Queen, and on Opposite Side a King

Artist: Date: 400–200 B.C.
Accession Number: 07.228.2
Date: 400–200 B.C. Medium: Limestone, paint Accession: 07.228.2 On view in:Gallery 134

Block Statue of Ankhwennefer

Artist: Date: ca. 690–650 B.C.
Accession Number: 1993.161
Date: ca. 690–650 B.C. Medium: Limestone Accession: 1993.161 On view in:Gallery 127

Head Attributed to Arsinoe II

Artist: Date: 278–270 B.C.
Accession Number: 38.10
Date: 278–270 B.C. Medium: Limestone (Indurated) Accession: 38.10 On view in:Gallery 134