Fragment of Relief with Captives
Unknown artist, Egyptian, From the Karnak Temple Complex
Fragment of Relief with Captives, 1525-1504 BCE
29.8 x 31.1 x 5.4 cm (11 3/4 x 12 1/4 x 2 1/8 inches)
Museum Appropriation Fund 35.549
This fragment of a relief depicts one of several clusters of bound prisoners, once grasped by the hair by a now-lost figure of a king. The symbolic meaning of the scene is that the king, embodiment of order, sub-jugates chaos, in the form of enemy captives. The king holds the captives fast in one hand while brandishing his mace for their slaughter with the other. This image of royal power is a standard temple motif in Egyptian art. Once thought to be a fake, this fragment was recently found to fit perfectly into a large scene of enemy slaughter at the Temple of Karnak, thus validating the piece.