Pencil representation of a faience shabti from the mortuary complex of Senwosret III

Apr 12, 2021

Although there are huge varieties in the nature of objects coming from different archaeological sites, it is very important to establish a common aesthetic when it comes to publication. The drawing should indicate a type of visual data that is well distinguished from the photograph.

In Abydos a rather peculiar approach was utilized for documenting painted objects, in order to indicate faded pigment that was still detectable on the surface. Many of the objects retained from the settlement site at the mortuary complex of Senwosret Ill appeared to be in a fragile condition with most of their painted details being imperceptible for the naked eye.

Needless to say, that the regular color code system with its homogeneous greyscale panels developed for tombs, failed to properly indicate the sporadic traces, further complicated by the lack of definite outlines. As a resolution, a more appropriate greyscale texturing technique was invented, enhancing the remaining pigment traces while eliminating most of the background noise at the same time.

This technique, chosen to represent the graphical impression of painted details, was a radical step away from the traditional outline drawing representation. The artist had to reinforce every little pigment spot over the photo by adding a pencil texture with variable strength, slowly forming a textural impression of the paintings.

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