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Fragment: A young bird in low relief
664-525 B.C.E. or later


Dynasty 26

Soft limestone
H: 11.0 W: 10.7 D: 1.7 cm
Egypt

Gift of Charles Lang Freer F1908.59

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Fragments such as this one carved in low relief have been identified as "sculptor's trials" or "sculptor's models," and were used in Egypt from the Third Dynasty to Ptolemaic times. The reliefs were used to aid sculptors in instructing apprentices about the canonical Egyptian grid. The models are often "framed" by L-shaped borders, which could have been used as depth measures. The human subjects of the sculptor's models were most often idealized versions of royal heads with headcloths or uraeus crowns. The animals used in hieroglyphic writing (the alphabet and royal titularies) were most commonly modelled.