Relief Fragment with Two Birds in the Papyrus Thicket

Middle Kingdom

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 111

This exquisitely carved and delicately painted relief shows a gray heron and another bird, possibly a purple heron, perched within a mass of papyrus plants. In the upper right, the curved form with painted X-marks likely represents a nest that contained either baby birds or a mother sitting on eggs, both of which are common vignettes in marsh scenes. Originally part of a larger tableau, the small fragment is jewel-like in its fine detail.

Relief Fragment with Two Birds in the Papyrus Thicket, Limestone, paint

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