Penn Museum (Pam Kosty)
When Penn Museum agreed to lend objects from its Egyptian collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for their new exhibition, The Dawn of Egyptian Art (April 10 through August 5, 2012), Penn Museum’s Egyptian section curator made one special request—for a temporary “exchange of prisoners.”
Metropolitan Museum’s curator of the exhibition and University of Pennsylvania alumna Diana Craig Patch requested 10 objects from the Penn Museum, one of which is a spectacular stone door socket carved in the form of a captive, regularly on view in the Penn Museum’s Upper Egyptian Gallery. With his body flattened to the ground and his hands bound behind, the figure on the door socket bears the unhappy likeness of a prisoner of Egypt under Pharaoh’s domination. Once, part of a temple at the ancient cult site of Hierakonpolis, a heavy wooden door turned on a pivot that would have fit into the depression on the captive’s back. The artifact dates to the first or second Egyptian dynasties—between 3000 and 2675 BCE.