Horned Animal Between Two Baskets
4.5 x 14.5 inches (11.4 x 36.8 cm)
Probably from Egypt 200-500 CE
Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
The two baskets on each side of the animal are symmetrical and both contain an abundance of bread. The baskets have a double rim at the top and show a woven pattern. Their static nature contrasts with the movement of the animal. There also appears to be an object just under the animal’s front legs. This could possibly be a type of plant. This plants puzzling iconographic detail as well as the symmetry of the relief as a whole could lead to the questioning of its authenticity.
The breaks on the edges of the relief as well as on the surface do not interfere with the objects on the relief, which may indicate that they were deliberate breaks made by the forgers or looters. This relief is unique in the corpus of the Mayer relief in that its pigments are especially well preserved. Black lines outline the animal as well as the bread and breadbasket, accentuating the edges and grooves. This probably means that the artist intended to enhance the visibility of the objects seen from below. There is a great deal of yellow and brown earth pigments present on this relief, most likely ochres, siennas, or umbers. The well-preserved nature of the pigments may suggest that they were modern additions to the relief, although it is hard to determine if earth pigments are forgeries.
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