Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Anthropomorphized Animal Imagery on New Kingdom Ostraca and Papyri: Their Artistic and Social Significance
by Babcock, Jennifer, Ph.D., New York University, 2014, 208; 3635084
Abstract (Summary)

Because of the lack of provenance or accompanying text, the depictions of anthropomorphized animals on ancient Egyptian New Kingdom ostraca and papyri have long puzzled Egyptologists. Attempts to understand the ostraca usually focus on the role reversals where predatory animals serve their natural prey, which is evident in some of the motifs. Some scholars have suggested that these images are satirical and served as an outlet for mocking elite society. However, their social and cultural context, which has not been thoroughly explored until this dissertation, shows that it is unlikely that the images were considered to be negatively charged social satire. Rather, it is more likely that they were envisioned as humorous parodies of primarily elite imagery that were produced by individuals who considered themselves to be elite as well. "Anthropomorphized Animal Imagery on New Kingdom Ostraca and Papyri: Their Artistic and Social Significance" is also the first time the vignettes are given a full art historical treatment in which the formal qualities of the drawings are studied and evaluated. As a result, this dissertation addresses the aesthetic value of these drawings in ancient Egypt, which will be of interest to the discipline of art history on more general terms as well. Another section of this dissertation discusses the narrative potential of the papyri and ostraca on which these anthropomorphized images are drawn. Though the narrative qualities of these images have been discussed before, this dissertation addresses the broader concerns of visual narrative construction in ancient Egyptian art, which has thus far been given little scholarly attention. The figured ostraca and papyri on which these anthropomorphized animals are drawn show that visual narrative construction in ancient Egypt is not necessarily linear and sequential, but can also embody fluid, and more open-ended narrative constructions that is evident in not only the decorative programs of elite tombs, but in written ancient Egyptian literature as well.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: O'Connor, David B.
Commitee: Crowe, Thomas, Goelet, Ogden
School: New York University
Department: Institute of Fine Arts
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, Art history, Ancient history
Keywords: Anthropomorphized animals, Egyptology, Figured ostraca, New Kingdom, Papyri
Publication Number: 3635084
ISBN: 9781321159905
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