Condition The inlay is intact with no repair or restoration. There is minor surface wear including pitting and iridescence. There is chipping to the edges on the reverse. Overall the inlay is in very good condition.
On Loan: Antikenmuseum Basel & Sammlung Ludwig, 1998 – 2022 Rome, Chiostro del Bramante, Cleopatra. Roma e l’incantesimo dell’Egitto, 12 October 2013 – 2 February 2014 Paris, Pinacothèque de Paris, Le Mythe Cléopâtre, 10 April 2014 – 7 September 2014
Egyptian glass workshops during the New Kingdom used two different casting techniques to produce these stunning inlays. They would use either a melted piece of glass at the end of a rod, held above a fire and then press the glass into heated moulds, or use pre-crushed glass that was fired directly into the mould. Glass inlays were used to decorate and bring vibrancy to figural scenes in composite reliefs. These reliefs and inlays could be used to adorn wooden coffins, furniture, and palace walls. See E M. Stern and B. Schlick-Nolte, Early Glass of the Ancient World, 1994, pp.340-341.
In ancient Egypt, glass production was rare and thought to be under royal monopoly. The colour of royal figures in glass likely signified an important aspect of Egyptian theology: the use of blue may denote the Pharaoh's celestial role as a god.
G. Gentili (ed.), Cleopatra. Roma e l’incantesimo dell’Egitto, Skira, Milano, 2013, no. 63, p. 268 M. Restellini (ed.), Le Mythe Cléopâtre, Pinacothèque de Paris, 2014, p. 162, no. 94