Papyrus Marsh

Twentieth Century; original New Kingdom

Hugh R. Hopgood

Not on view

Excerpted from a scene that showed Qenamun fishing in the papyrus marshes, this fragment conveys a sense of life and movement -- as the marshes lay at the edges of the Egyptians' ordered world, they were associated with the undifferentiated and thus lively and chaotic realm which surrounded and threatened the cosmos, but from which all life ultimately sprang. The umbels of the papyrus plants are regimented, the open blossoms arranged carefully in three rows with a row of unopened buds below, yet the artist has used different sizes for the blooms, tilted them ever so slightly this way and that, and overlapped the flowering heads and their stalks in a seemingly random fashion. The ducks that fly at the top are almost identical in form and position, but again minor variations imbue the scene with life. Note also the individual birds, including an egret, visible at the bottom of the fragment.

Papyrus Marsh, Hugh R. Hopgood, Tempera on paper

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