Ariadne Galleries

Sculptor's Model or Votive Relief
Period: Ptolemaic Period, 305-30 BC
Culture: Egyptian
Material: Limestone
Dimensions: 13 cm x 11.7 cm
image 1
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Carved in low relief with the lower half of a figure of Amun, king of the Egyptian gods, and god of the wind, or perhaps a king striding and wearing a kilt with a ceremonial bull’s tail. Also depicted is a sketch possibly of a squatting monkey (?) wearing a royal crown to the right. The reverse is carved with amulets, including a heron, a seated god, and three other symbols.

Bas-relief representations of this nature were used as sculptors’ models, a technical aspect of Egyptian craftsmanship that began in the third dynasty of the Old Kingdom (circa 2686-2613 BC) and continued through to the Ptolemaic period (circa 305-30 BC). The reliefs were used to assist sculptors to teach more junior artisans how to carve the correct proportions for royal portraiture in the canonical Egyptian grid. A similar example is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Inv. 07.228.4).


Further Literature

E. Young, Sculptors’ Models or Votives? In Defense of a Scholarly Tradition, Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Spring, 1964).

N.S. Tomoum, 2005, The Sculptors’ Models of the Late and Ptolemaic Periods: a Study of the Type and Function of a Group of Ancient Egyptian Artefacts (Cairo, 2005).


Sold, Sotheby's, New York, 13 June 1996, lot 189.
S. Carroll Collection, New York, 1996-2016.