BOUND PRISONER. This clay figurine from Saqqara, Egypt, bears text written in a simplified, cursive form of hieroglyphs called hieratic. Dating from the 12th Dynasty (19th century B.C.E.) and measuring about 5 inches tall, it is an example of an Execration Text—a kind of written curse designed to eliminate or ward off dangers, real or perceived. The figure, inscribed with the names of Egypt’s enemies, was then ritually broken or buried, thereby signifying and enacting their destruction. Such curse texts were often directed against Egypt’s neighbors, including Canaanite cities such as Ashkelon, Hazor, and even Jerusalem.