Digital Epigraphy (Second Edition)
Written by W. R. Johnson, M. De Jong, S. Osgood, and K. Vértes
In Raised Relief the background stone is removed, leaving the carved hieroglyph or figure projecting above the surface of the wall on a shallow platform stone. Sunk Relief is exactly the reverse, where the area within the outline of the carved hieroglyph or figure is removed, and the surrounding stone left intact; the effect is that the element has been pushed into the stone. In most cases, the outer edge of both raised and sunk relief are perpendicular to the plane of the wall, and the artist simply uses the outer line of the element as a guide for pencil and ink lines.
Translating carved lines into inked lines:
Outer line used as a drawing guide:
In both Raised and Sunk relief, the outer edges of carved hieroglyphs or figures are sometimes not perpendicular to the plane of the wall, but are carved on a bevel, or slanting edge, creating in effect two outer lines. Rather than attempt to draw both lines, which looks clumsy and distorts the original intent of the ancient sculptor, the artist splits the difference between the two lines and draws a single line only.
Splitting difference used as a drawing guide:
Indicating the line placement on both raised and sunk relief:
Ink Line Conventions for Raised Relief and Interior Detailing of Sunk Relief:
Ink line conventions for raised relief (Offerings, Offering Stands):
Ink line conventions for raised relief (Pillars, Fans, Thrones, Snakes):
Ink line conventions for raised relief (Birds):
Protective birds Inking conventions (Raised Relief)
Ink line conventions for raised and sunk relief (Human Figures):
Ink line conventions for raised and sunk relief (Sporrans, Sashes, Bull’s Tail Intersection):
The Bull’s Tail Thigh Intersection:
Ink line conventions for raised and sunk relief (Heads, Eyes, Ears, Feet):
Raised Relief Illustration (Medinet Habu - Small Amun Temple):
MHB 61 - detail (Drawing by Heidel, Johnson, and Osgood)
MHB 54 - detail (Drawing by De Jong)
Sunk Relief Illustration (Medinet Habu - Small Amun Temple):
MHB 118 - detail (Drawing by Osgood)
MHB 115 - detail (Drawing by Osgood)
*All the explanatory drawings appearing on this page are drawn by W. R. Johnson and M. De Jong and the property of the Epigraphic Survey © All rights reserved.
WHAT TO READ NEXT
The carved reliefs and inscriptions which are the focus of the Epigraphic Survey documentation efforts are usually found in an architectural setting (except in the case of decorated block fragments) on interior and exterior walls, portals, columns, four-sided pillars, architraves, and sometimes ceilings.