Artefacts and realia collections

The Artefacts and Realia Collections contains a number of items from University of Victoria Special Collections and University Archives.


Cuneiform Tablet of Amar-Suen

Clay tablet (43 x 51 x 15 mm) with economic text and figures from the first year of the reign of King Amar-Suen (2046-2038 B.C.). The impression on reverse with a pictorial cylinder seal depicting a seated figure is a rare, early example of pictorial printing. [source: donor]

Dates to the period of the Third Dynasty of Ur ("Ur III Period"), 2100-2000 BC. This clay tablet is an administrative account of various copper tools and their weights, items which were issued under the seal of the governor of the city Umma. The tablet is dated to the first year of the reign of king Amar-Suen of Ur. There are a number of related tablets dealing with copper tools known. It is written in Sumerian language, 12 lines of cuneiform script, with impression of a cylinder seal. Nearly complete, with chip off the lower edge. Glossy black patina, unbaked. [source: Dr. Renee Kovacs]

For images and transliteration, please see: Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI)

For 3-D image, please see: UVic Libraries @ Sketchfab

Provenance: British Museum surplus; Bruce and Dorothy Brown Collection


Wooden Egyptian Block with Hieroglyphs

Fragment of wood, painted over gesso in red and blue on a yellow ground, with some white on the reverse. The front has at the top a frieze of stylized uraei, alternating with Maat feathers: below, a metopal border, which also flanks the main scene. This shows two deities at an offering table on which are Nile vases: at each side djed pillars. The seated figure on the left has the head of a cobra surmounted by a feather, holds crook and flail and is probably a personification of Maat. Above are two columns of epithets, which read 'Great God[dess], Lady of Heaven'. On the right is a standing figure, headless apart from the Feather of Truth, representing one of the transformations of Re on his journey across the sky. The two columns to the right can be read 'Revered before Osiris, foremost in the divine booth, the good god, lord of...' and 'They grant all good and pure offerings, and all good and sweet things...'

The decoration on the reverse, included three larger standing figures, but these are much damaged. 21st-22nd Dynasty (1085-730 BC). 8 5/8" x 10 1/8" (219 x 257 mm). Little of the blue remains on the front, which also has minor surface damage consolidated and is stained as shown. Slot for a dowel in top right corner. On a mahogany plinth. [source: Charles Ede Ltd.]

Provenance: Bruce and Dorothy Brown Collection


Egyptian Ushabti

Provenance: Bruce and Dorothy Brown Collection


Papyrus Fragment

Fragment of an ode to the sun god, about 300 B.C., in Hieratic writing. [source: donor]

Provenance: British Museum surplus; Michael Rodgers

Charles Chaplin Portrait

Charles Chaplin (1889-1977)

Pencil self-portrait on an octavo album leaf, signed and dated also in pencil "Sep. 30th 1931". An attractive small sketch (head and shoulders) showing the "little man" with his characteristic bowler and moustache. [source: Maggs catalogue] Framed, area visible in mat 150x115 mm.

Provenance: Bruce and Dorothy Brown Collection

Map of the World

Map of the World

One leaf engraved, with original outline and wash colour double hemisphere map consisting of two circles joined at the sides, with two additional smaller circles at the top and bottom centre (between the two larger circles), containing the orbits of the planets, with a border of astrological signs. The remainder of the leaf is illustrated with allegorical scenes. The coastline of North America is not drawn above California, New Zealand coast is deficient, Australian coast is deficient and attached to New Guinea. Visscher/Stupendahl Rotterdam 1663, 1680 or later, corresponds to description of 1663 version in Shirley, 431. Removed from a Dutch Bible. 12x17.5".

Provenance: Bruce and Dorothy Brown Collection