Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Hieratic ostracon

Period:
New Kingdom, Ramesside
Dynasty:
Dynasty 20
Date:
ca 1186–1070 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Valley of the Kings, Davis excavations, 1909
Medium:
Limestone, ink, paint
Dimensions:
h. 11 cm (4 5/16 in); w. 5 cm (1 15/ 16 in)
Credit Line:
Gift of Theodore M. Davis, 1909
Accession Number:
09.184.721
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 122
Ostraca (plural for ostracon) are potsherds used as surfaces on which to write or draw. The term is used, by extension, to refer to chips of limestone, which were employed for similar purposes. Despite their humble appearances, ostraca bear a wide range of images and texts, including administrative documents, literary texts, and depictions of royal and divine figures. The texts were mostly written with reed pen and ink of two colors, red and black, and inscribed in Hieratic, the cursive script of ancient Egypt throughout most of its periods. This ostracon is inscribed on both sides with incomplete and faded lines of hieratic text.
Excavated in the Valley of the Kings by Theodore M. Davis; acquired by Davis in the division of finds. Donated to the Museum by Davis, 1909.

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