Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Plaque with bust of a divine child with earring (Ihy?)

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
400–30 B.C.
From Egypt
H 5.7 x W 4.2 cm (2 1/4 x 1 5/8 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1923
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 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.

Child gods with their sidelocks and youthful features appear frequently among the donation reliefs. Sometimes as here the child wears an earring.
Purchased from Maurice Nahman, Cairo, 1923.

Hill, Marsha 2009. Sitting Beside Lepsius: Studies in Honour of Jaromir Malek at the Griffith Institute, 185. Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta, Leuven: Peeters Publishers, p.243n8, p.245n14.

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