About this object

Ivory figure of a lamb-bearing shepherd (criophore). He wears a Phrygrian cap, a pleated tunic with a decorated hem, and a pouch slung over his right shoulder. He carries a sheep across his left shoulder, his right hand holding its rear right leg. Behind him is a tree. Two sheep look up at him, one (at left) without horns, sitting on its haunches like a dog, one (at right) with horns, rubbing against the tree. The shepherd's left leg is broken off at the knee, and his right hand and forearm are missing. The sheep on his shoulder lacks its head and forequarters, formerly pegged into the hole top right. On the back there is a hole towards the top of the tree, and in the base four equidistant holes: in one, an ivory peg is still in position, and in another the broken end of a similar peg.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Art
  • Culture
    Byzantine (Coptic)
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Alexandria
  • Date made
    200 AD - 400 AD
  • Materials
    Tooth Ivory
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Purchased from the collections of Norwich Castle Museum, 1956
  • Collector
    William Birkbeck
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Alexandria
  • Date collected
    1880 about
  • Measurements
    101 mm x 50 mm x 25 mm
  • Note
    Acquired c.1880 in the Nile valley by Mr Birkbeck of Thorpe, Norwich, whose widow gave it to the Norwich Museum in 1914. It was sold to the City of Liverpool Museums in 1956, now known as National Museums Liverpool. Henszlmann 658; Pulszky 23; Westwood 13 (’73.12); BFAC22 and cf. 20-1; LI 15;

    Was used on BBC programme 'Animal, Vegetable, Mineral' on 4 March 1959, along with 7 other artefacts. For more information on the programme see the Loan File.
  • Related people
    Susan Birkbeck (Previous owner); William Birkbeck (Collector, previous owner); Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery (Previous owner)

Where is this object from?

Explore related

Publications

  • Aurea Romana. Dalla città pagana alla città cristiana

    Author:
    Publisher: 'L'Erma' di Bretschneider
    Date: 2000
    Description:

  • Bone Carvings from Egypt: I Graeco-Roman period

    Marangou, L

    Author: Marangou, L
    Publisher: Ernst Wasmuth
    Date: 1976
    Description:

  • Catalogue Général des antiquités égyptiennes du Musée du Caire

    Strzygowski, J, Kunst, Koptische

    Author: Strzygowski, J, Kunst, Koptische
    Publisher:
    Date: 1904
    Description:

  • Constantine the Great. York's Roman Emperor

    Author:
    Publisher: York Museums Trust
    Date: 2006
    Description:

  • Koptische Kunst: die Spätantike in Ägypten

    Wessel, K

    Author: Wessel, K
    Publisher:
    Date: 1963
    Description:

  • Le calendrier de 354: etude sur son texte et sur ses illustrations

    Stern, Henri

    Author: Stern, Henri
    Publisher:
    Date: 1953
    Description:

  • Lexicon iconographicum mythologiae classicae

    Author:
    Publisher: Artemis
    Date: 1981
    Description:

  • The Heracles Plaques of St. Peter’s Cathedra

    Weitzmann, Kurt

    Author: Weitzmann, Kurt
    Publisher: College Art Association
    Date: 1973
    Description:

  • The Liverpool Ivories: Late Antique and Medieval Ivory and Bone Carving in Liverpool Museum and the Walker Art Gallery.

    Gibson, Margaret

    Author: Gibson, Margaret
    Publisher: HMSO; National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside
    Date: 1994
    Description: Catalogue of ivory and bone carvings from late antique and medieval held in collections of Liverpool Museum and the Walker Art Gallery.

Events

  • Aurea Roma. Dalla Città Pagana alla Città Cristiana

    Start date: 2000-12-22
    End date: 2000-12-22
    Description: A temporary exhibition organised by the omune di Roma, Assesorato alle Politiche Culturali and the Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali and held at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome. Curated by Serena Ensoli and Eugenio La Rocca, it included nearly 380 artefacts from more than 80 institutions and private collections. The exhibition was accompanied by an illustrated book of essays and a catalogue raisonné

  • Constantine - Emperor on the move...

    Start date: 2006-03-31
    End date: 2006-03-31
    Description: A seven month exhibition held at Yorkshire Museum, York.

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

    Owned from: 1914
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1956
    Disposal method: Sold
  • Susan Birkbeck

    Owned from: 1897
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1914
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • William Birkbeck

    Owned from: 1870
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1897
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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