1982.53
Bird with lots of Foliage
Limestone
11.5 x 6 x 3 inches
Probably from Egypt 200-500 CE
Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
1982.53

This relief depicts a large bird centrally located looking to the left with two large plants flanking it on either side. There is densely packed foliage surrounding the bird on both sides.There are two bands on the top and on the bottom framing the relief. The top band is plain with no detail. The bottom band, however, has been broken up into leaf-like objects growing to the right from within the band.

This artist has taken great care to depict the particular features of some specific type of bird. The long beak and stout, muscular legs suggest an ibis, although the long tail feathers would be unusual for ancient depictions of this type of bird. 

The plant foliage flanking the bird on both sides gives the relief an overall dense and full feeling. The plant on the right has three distinct larger leaves and only one larger leaf is visible from the plant on the left of the bird. Some of the leaf elements, two to the left of the bird and two to the right, are topped by a trilobed floral element. The trilobed floral motif seen here is similar, although not identical, to that seen in 1982.49.

The relief carving is shallow in comparison to some of the others in the collection. The black lines that outline the figures may have served as a guide for the carver or they may have been added after its completion to emphasize the figures. This relief is possibly connected to the same architectural frieze as 1982.51 and although it is unlikely that they are directly matched, the matching iconography of a bird and similar bands along the top and bottom of the friezes indicates that it may be from the same site or from the same workshop.


Caroline Lee '13 is a Sociology Major and Art History Minor at Colgate University.