Bird and Flower
11 x 6.75 x 3.63
Probably from Egypt 200-500 CE
Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

The shape of this frieze suggests it was created for a specific architectural setting, such as the turn of a corner; the left edge of the frieze angles slightly outward and appears to have continued upward where there is now a diagonal broken edge. Three motifs can be identified on the fragment from left to right: an intricately detailed flower, a bird, and an acanthus leaf. The components of the relief are all in contact with one another creating a unified whole. Every detail of the flower is symmetrical from the leaves to the petals. The head of the flower is intricately formed with multiple parts. The bird is shown in profile in a naturalistic style, although the artist has manipulated the placement of the right leg to show it in full. Details, such as feathers, have been carved in shallow relief on the wing, tail, and left leg of the bird. The pointed oval eye of the bird is carved out except for the pupil. The flower and acanthus leaf angle inward, framing the bird.

The deepest carving on this frieze separates the imagery from the background. In comparison the border, which frames the bottom, left, and top right edges, is in shallower relief. A repeated lozenge shape design decorates the left and bottom edges. Black paint remnants act as outlines, highlight the carving, and enhance detail. The top of the piece is thicker compared to the bottom. This angling may indicate an admirer was intended to view the work from below. The left angled top edge and the bottom border show damage. The right side of the work is also broken. This side of the relief possibly connected to the architectural frieze 1982.53.

Frances Kahan is an Art and Art History Major at Colgate University, in the class of 2014.