Two Running Animals Encircled by Foliage
12 x 6.25 x 2.5 inches
Probably from Egypt 200-500 CE
Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

Two animals that most closely resembling some type of deer, seen in profile, appear to be running in the direction of the right-hand side of this rectangular limestone relief. The animal on the right has small legs, a small tail, a large snout and a circular eye that appears to have been made by a running drill. Its overlarge head is turned 180 degrees in the direction of the other depicted animal. The features of the animal on the left are similar to the animal on the right, but in smaller proportion, which may indicate that this is a depiction of a parent animal and its offspring.

The animals are encircled by vegetation, which is composed of curved double-lined vines. The vines end in leaf clusters and are accented by several single leaves, two spiral-shaped scroll vines and two bell-shaped flowers. The flowers, most likely papyrus, appear in the center of the relief and on the left-hand side of the relief and have wide oval openings and petal structures divided into thirds.

There is a one-inch double border running across the top of the relief. This top edge is rounded, suggesting that the relief was originally intended to frame a curved structure. The bottom edge of the relief slopes down, suggesting that that this relief could possibly have served as a molding. The right-hand edge of the relief looks like a natural, deliberate edge, while the left-hand edge appears be an unnatural break where traces of more foliage and possibly a third animal appear.

Traces of pigments appear on the object: black outlining is visible on the body of the larger animal, on the center flower and along the top edge. There also appears to be some pink coloring inside the opening of the smaller animal’s mouth.

This relief can be compared to 1982.47, since both feature animals looking back at one another and both exhibit a deliberate breakage to the left of the smaller animal. Object 1982.64 can also be compared to 1982.47 in that, unlike the other reliefs in the Mayer Collection, they both have comparatively flatter and smoother backs with small parallel lines running along the length of the object, which is evidence of sedimentary layering in the rock.

This object was treated for salt and surface damage by the Cooperstown Graduate Program for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works on October 9, 1978.

Carter Cooper, Class of 2013. Concentrator in Art & Art History and Political Science.