viernes, 2 de enero de 2015

Figured ostracon

Figured ostracon In the absence of an ancient Egyptian treatise on art, the unfinished works, preparatory sketches and informal sketches provide invaluable insight into ancient Egyptian artistic production. The largest group of such material comprises thousands of sketches, mainly in black, or in black and red, on medium to large limestone flakes from the workplace and village of Ramesside Period craftsmen working on the tomb of the king at Thebes (Deir el-Medina). These are called 'figured ostraca' in Egyptology today. In addition to the Ramesside limestone ostraca, there are numerous others of the same period on pottery sherds, in particular from the Petrie and Quibell excavations at the Ramesseum; there are also a smaller number from earlier New Kingdom construction sites, notably the temples of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III at Deir el-Bahri, on the west bank at Thebes.
The subject matter varies greatly, and, without record of context or in instances of secondary deposition, function is often difficult to ascertain; often figured ostraca are interpreted as evidence for the training of artists, as in Deir el-Medina and the Ramesseum, but this is not made explicit by context or by accompanying writing. Large ostraca were found in tombs of kings in the Valley of the Kings, as if deposited as votive offerings; this is a particularly likely function in the case of images of deities, kings, and names of kings. Some examples bear an inscription identifying the donor; the back of ostracon UC 33193 bears the words in hieroglyphs 'Hathor lady of heaven, mistress of all gods - made by the scribe ... Qenena (?)'.
 Figured ostraca in the Petrie Museum
Flinders Petrie retrieved ostraca from excavations, but he also collected dozens of ostraca; for his purchases, the places and dates of acquisition remain to be researched, and are given in the following table as 'not recorded', but most are probably from Thebes. These have been published in black and white (Page 1983). The list below gives the references to the publication.
Of the 82 items, 34 are of pottery; for these, Colin Hope contributed an important analytical study (in Page 1983, 59-62). His examination of the fabric of the pottery sherds confirmed the Middle Kingdom date of three items from Lahun (UC 6557, 6559i and ii).
A figured ostracon is a depiction on a limestone flake or pottery sherd, not an integral rock-face or an intact vessel; this is an important classificatory criterion in terms of artistic conception, because the drawing is made when the surface is already reduced to sketch size, and the artist draws the composition on that specifically reduced space. Some items in the list below, such as UC 33209 and 33238, seem to be parts of depictions on pottery vessels intact at the time of depiction; these are strictly speaking not 'figured ostraca' but the remains of decorated pottery vessels. For this distinction, see the comments by Colin Hope in Page 1983, 63, commenting on the joined pair of sherds now numbered UC 35910. Like UC 33238, that pair of sherds was inked in modern times with the mark 'O'; this was used in different ways by Petrie and contemporary excavators, but one use was to identify material from the tomb of Djer in the First Dynasty royal cemetery at Abydos. In later periods the tomb of Djer was identified as the burial place of the god of the dead Osiris; excavations have uncovered votive offerings there from the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, including pottery vessels inscribed with hieroglyphic or hieratic inscriptions and/or decorated with scenes of a person offering to Osiris.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario