The Human Touch

Making Art | Leaving Traces

Fingerprints across time

This fragment from the coffin of a master physician bears the fingerprints of the artist who decorated it nearly four thousand years ago. Columns of hieroglyphic signs are interrupted by a scene painted with a reed brush, showing animals being led forward, probably to slaughter. Among them is a Dorcas gazelle whose hide is textured and patterned by fingertips pressed into the brown earth pigment.

Fragment from the coffin of Wepwawetemhat
Egypt, c. 1975–c. 1790 BCE
Pigment on wood, 75.3 x 8.9 x 3.4 cm

Section: One

Fingerprints across time

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