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Head of a ruler from Saqqara

Features of style, like treatment of the eyes, uraeus form and the soft outline of the nemes permit attribution to Ptolemaic times. Based on similarities with the head of a sphinx of 150 BC, it is possible to assume that our head had once belonged to a sphinx set up at Saqqara, if the place of discovery is anything to go by.

Greek ostrakon – instructions to issue wine

Instructions to issue wine. Data: March 20, 15th indiction (6th–7th century) “To Martyrios, rogator. Deliver on the account of buccellarii three koloba of wine, that is koloba of wine 3, only. Written on 27th of Mesore, indiction XV. Pythidoros agreed.”

Greek ostrakon – receipt of payment of a monetary equivalent for a tax in nature

Receipt of payment of a monetary equivalent for a tax in nature. Date: December 21, year AD 78 or 91. “Daleas son of Abraimos, as an equivalent for the price of the dates from sacred land, 6 drachmas 4 obols. Year 11, Choiak 25.” Commentary: The divergence in the dating of this document results from the fact that the eleventh year may equally well refer to the emperors Vespasian or Domitian. Abraimos is well evidenced as a variant of the name Abraham.

Greek ostrakon – receipt for grain tax payment

Ostraka, pieces of broken pottery vessels, were used for writing a variety of different texts, most often tax receipts. They were used instead of the more expensive papyrus. Most ostraka come from Upper Egypt and the oases, where, unlike in Fayum and the localities of Middle Egypt, papyrus was not cultivated on a broad scale.

Greek ostrakon – receipt of payment of the “merismos” tax

Receipt of payment of the merismos tax. Date: April 21, AD 113. “Nikias son of Pasion, for merismos for the 16th year [of the reign] of Trajan, our lord, 4 drachmas. Year 16, Pharmouthi 26.” Commentary: Merismos was not a specific tax, but part of the tax burden concerning a specific community.

Greek ostrakon – receipt of payment of the Jewish tax

In AD 72, after suppressing the Jewish uprising in Palestine, the Romans levied a Jewish tax (ioudaikon telesma) on all Jews living in the Roman Empire. It exceeded 8 drachmas and was a considerable burden on the mostly poor residents of the Jewish district in Apollinopolis Magna. This document is a receipt for only part of the yearly burden.

Greek ostrakon – receipt of tax payment in cash

Receipt of tax payment in cash. Date: November 5, AD 108. “Bokchoris son of Iosepos, [as] payment of k... tax for the 12th year [of the reign] of Trajan, our lord. Year 12, Hathyr 9.” Commentary: Iosepos is a variant of the name of Josephus. The name of the tax is preserved but illegible.

Greek ostrakon – receipt of payment of “laografia”

Receipt of payment of laografia (head tax). In Roman times, Jews inhabited district IV in Apollinopolis Magna. The regular head tax in the 1st-2nd century was 16 drachmas a year. Receipt for payment of 8 drachmas (as in this document) or 4 drachmas are proof of the tax having been paid in installments.

Corn-mummy with silver mask of Osiris

“Pseudo-mummy”, formed of Nile silt mixed with resin and germinating seeds, molded and then wrapped in linen bandages. Silver mask with traces of gilding in the place of the face. Eyes marked with drawn out corners, eyebrows painted brown, small nose and prominent ears. The crown of Upper Egypt on its head and a hole for the beard in the chin. Silver masks, unlike the waxen ones, are extremely rare in this kind of objects.

Funerary stela pediment

The dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, is popular in Christian iconography. The motif is frequent in Coptic art, mainly on funerary stelae presenting the same kind of composition as above. A praying figure with two crosses or a stylized crux gemmata cross is usually shown between the columns. The motif of a dove is also known from wall painting; numerous representations of doves are known from murals in the hermitages at Esna in Upper Egypt and elsewhere.

Stela of man from Kom Abou Billou from the 1st half of the 3rd century

The deceased rests on a couch with mattress in a repetition of a composition that is already known from the Stela of the son of Chairemon and Isidora. The differences are insignificant: a wreath held in the extended right hand and a different arrangement of the feet, which are crossed in this case. Both the mattress and the pillows are decorated with rhomboids. The features of the face are not very clear, but a flat wide nose predominates.

Fragment of stela with three figures

The composition appears in an engraved aedicula with a triangular pediment supported on straight columns (the column on the right is preserved). Two figures are depicted on the stela: a woman reclining on a couch and another woman standing before her in a prayerful attitude. The scene may be reconstructed despite considerable damage; presumably there was a third praying figure depicted on the right side.

Stela of woman from Kom Abou Billou

The upper preserved part of the stela shows an aedicula constructed of a semicircular pediment supported on two plain columns with papyrus capitals. The deceased is shown frontally, but with the right leg in profile. She is reclining on a mattress, supported on her left elbow resting on two pillows. In her right hand, which is unnaturally long, she holds a bowl. Her dress consists of a chiton and himation arranged in semicircular folds. The long her falling to her breasts is pushed back behind the ears. Her face has been hammered away. Opposite her there is an engraved representation of a sitting jackal. The animal with a long snout and raised tail is shown facing her.

Stela with four figures from Kom Abu Billou

A “family” stela showing a married couple (?) and two children in prayerful attitudes, one above their feet and the other opposite them. The adults, who are missing the upper bodies and heads, are depicted on a coach with mattress, one in front of the other, supporting themselves each on the left elbow resting on two pillows. Compositions with several figures are rare on stelae from Kom Abu Billou.

Stela of Bes from Kom Abu Billou

The stela with deceased shown in prayer in the inly such example among the objects from Kom Abou Billou in Polish collections. The style of a stela, dated to 300 based on the archeological context, is similar, although not exactly the same. Modeling of the details of the figure and of the dress suggests an earlier dating for this object.

Stela of man from Kom Abou Billou

On the preserved bottom half of the relief the deceased is shown reclining on a kline with mattress, supported on two pillows. He is dressed in a chiton and himation, with right leg in profile, left shown frontally. The funerary repast is suggested by two sheaves of corn and an amphora in between, next to which stands a three-legged table with horizontal bar.

Stela of man from Kom Abou Billou

Banquet scene inside an aedicula consisting of two flat columns supporting a semicircular pediment, now lost. A papyrus capital is still visible on the column to the right. The deceased is depicted as a partaker in a banquet, reclining on a couch with two pillows and mattress. Horizontal engraved lines below the representation were intended for an inscription.

Figurine of sitting ibis (small)

This well-made figurine represents a sitting ibis with big head on arched neck, long beak and claws. The details of the beak and legs, as well as of the feathers, are engraved. An ornamental collar (?) masks the junction of...

Pharmaceutical mortar

A late Renaissance mortar in the shape typical of the Low Countries and with a unique silvery colour. The mortar was made by one of leading casters of Deventer, Gerrit Schimmel, and it is part of a pair. The other is dated from 1688 and signed by the same author. It is at present being exhibited in a museum in Rotterdam.

Armchair

An elegant piece of furniture made from boxwood with an upholstered seat and a high backrest, which is characterised by its richly carved ornamentation. The chair is associated with Andrea Brustolon of Venice, who was one of the most original sculptors and artists of the Venetian Baroque.