Egyptian Sandstone Relief with a Royal Cartouche

SKU MS.1899
Circa

285 BC to 246 BC

Medium

Sandstone

Origin

Egypt

Gallery Location

S Korea


 

Cartouches are of an oval shape and encompass the names of royal persons in hieroglyphic inscriptions, thus further symbolising the pharaoh as a ruler of all that the sun encircled. Ancient Egyptians used writing to communicate information about a person shown on a sculpture or relief, naming such writing ‘divine word’ because they believed that Thoth, the god of wisdom, had taught them how to write. The modern term hieroglyphs means ‘sacred carvings’ and was already used by ancient Greek visitors to Egypt to describe the symbols that they saw on tombs and temple walls. The number of hieroglyphic signs gradually grew to over 7000 in total, though not all of them were used on a regular basis. First developed in about 3250 BC, hieroglyphs were still used in the early centuries of Christianity but gradually became less and less understood except by temple priests. By the time Egypt officially became a Christian country in the 4th century AD, hieroglyphs had completely fallen out of use. The Egyptian language continued to be spoken, but was now written in an alphabetic script called Coptic. When the Arabs conquered Egypt in the 7th century AD, they introduced the Arabic form of spoken and written language, which is still used by Egyptians today. The cartouche is of Ptolemy II. Philadelphus (285- 246 BCE).

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