Ostraka, plural of the Greek term ostrakon, "potsherd" or "fragment," were flakes of limestone found in abundance in the cliffs of western Thebes. The high price of papyrus and the ready availability of ostraka made them a popular writing surface for both scribes and artists. Ostraka had a variety of uses, including scribal and artistic training, work and payment schedules, correspondence, legal documents, and architectural plans. This ostrakon, on loan from the Semitic Museum, Harvard University, depicts the god Osiris, and is an example of an artist's trial sketch.
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