Blue-glazed faience tile depicting a man with a piebald dog
Possibly from Thebes (near modern Luxor)
8.1 cm x 6.2 cm
Date 19th or 20th Dynasty
Inv. R116: original collection of Sir Charles Nicholson.
One of the more unusual objects in the Nicholson Museum is this faience plaque depicting a man with a piebald dog. The plaque is glazed blue, with the decoration painted in black; it is broken through the width and at one end the rough edge shows that it was clearly part of a larger piece.
The elegant breed depicted with a curved tail and floppy ears. It is seen most commonly on wall reliefs in tombs of the Middle and New Kingdom.
Dogs were not uncommon as pets and they are sometimes seen buried with their owner or depicted in tomb scenes from as early as the Old Kingdom. However, there would have been a large number of feral dogs in ancient times that were as reviled then as they are today. The faience plaque clearly depicts a domesticated dog, although its size in proportion to the handler must be regarded as an artistic device governed by the size of the tile on which it is painted.