Ancient Egyptian Quail Relief
This plaque is a delicately carved quail chick, the hieroglyph for the sound ‘W’.
“Plaques of this general type were probably used in the training of apprentice sculptors in Ancient Egypt. So fine are the engraved lines around the beak and on the breast, that no camera can do justice to them, and it is necessary to vary the direction of light constantly in order to appreciate them. The inverted L-shaped projection at the top and the rectangular block beneath the feet are commonly used devices of the sculptor to show the original surface of the plaque and hence the depth of the modelling figure.” – Egyptian Art: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin V22 no7 March 1964
You can currently find the original piece in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.