Mandragora Plant

Needlepoint, roughly 14x12.75 inches (36x32cm)
© Joan Ann Lansberry, 10-5-19, (Click to see larger version)


I was inspired by an image in Prisse d'Avennes' Atlas of Egyptian Art, page 126.


"The plants growing on hillocks below are from paintings in a small storeroom in the first part of Ramesses III's tomb at the Valley of the Kings."


It wasn't easy to limn on the canvas, as I had to make three different tracing sheets from the line drawing.

Based on what I've seen, I believe the yellow bulbs are mandragora fruit. Here is an example I photographed at the Brooklyn Museum several years ago:


Tile Fragment with Mandragora Fruit and Leaves
Faience, 2 15/16 x 5 5/16 in. (7.5 x 13.5 cm)
Reportedly from Hermopolis Magna, Egypt
New Kingdom, late XVIII Dynasty, 1352-1336 B.C.E.
Brooklyn #52.148.2, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund

The design evolved as I went. I decided it badly needed a border, even though that meant the bottom would need to be faced. Also, I realized...


... there would be simply too much of the pinky tan, so I figured out a way to have a shadowed area, using pattern variations that will read darker to lighter from a distance.

      
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