Carter B. Horsley
Antiquities auction at
Christie's December 7, 2006 has a sensational mummy with its complete
encasements that are extraordinarily beautiful and in wonderful
condition. The auction also has several other museum-quality works.
it is a painted sycamore
fig wood sarcophagus and mummy from the Third Intermediate Period,
Dynasty XXI, circa 990-940 B.C. The sarcophagus is 74 3/4 inches
long and has been consigned by the Western Reserve Historical
Society, which was given it by Liberty E. Holden, the publisher
of The Plains Dealer in Cleveland who had acquired
Sheik Mahmud Hassan, an antiquities dealer in Luxor, Egypt, in
time the mummy
was named Othphto, a fantasy name likely coined by the Luxor
was the fashion since the early 19th Century, the coffin was
opened and the mummy partially unwrapped in the Society's auditorium.
A partial reading of the inscriptions led to the mummy's
as Djed-Khons-Iwef-Ankh, but it is now clear the Neshkons was
the original owner of the sracophagus," the catalogue states.
had long built lavish tombs, beginning the Old Kingdom (2575-2134
B.C.) and continuing into the New Kingdom (1550-1070 B.C.). The
walls of these tombs were embellished with beautifully painted
or sculpted scenes. However, toward the end of the Ramesside period
at the end of the New Kingdom, such tombs, royal and private,
became the focus of relentless despoliation. This lead, during
the Third Intermediate Period, to the use of caches for burials.
These caches were often located within temple enclosures. The
focus of mortuary provisions shifted from the tomb walls to the
coffins. The best examples from this period have brilliantly painted
scenes, often with fine minute detail; they are the most extravagant
sarcophagi ever produced in ancient Egypt. Dozens of Third Intermediate
Period sacrocophagi for priests of Amun are known, now mostly
residing in museums around the world. .....The texts of this
inform that the deceased, Neskhons, served as a Stolist, one who
performs a ritual for anointing, clothing and otherwise potentiating
the cult-image of the god in his Temple," the catalogue entry
for this lot continued.
spectacular lot, not surprisingly,
has an "estimate on request." It sold for $1,136,000
including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this
Lot 20 is a very charming
Egyptian blue faience
dog that is 2 3/8 inches long and in reasonable good condition.
It is dated to the Middle Kingdom, Dynasty XII-Early Dynasty XIII,
1991-1600 B.C. A larger blue faience hippopotamus is the "mascot"
of the Metropolitan Museum and such objects are the stars of any
collection. This lot has a modest estimate of $6,000 to $8,000.
It sold for $26,400.
Lot 27 is a fine Egyptian
bronze of Atum, Third
Intermediate Period, Dynasty XXI-XXII, 1070-712 B.C. It is 14
5/8 inches high and has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.
It sold for $192,000.
Lot 32 is a very fine Egyptian
bronze of Harpokrates
on a lotus, Late Period to Ptolemaic Period, 664-30 B.C. It is
10 3/8 inches high. It has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.
It sold for $38,400.
A larger and equally wonderful
is another jewel in this auction. Lot 44, it is a Mesopotamian
marble and lapis lazuli cow, Late Uruk-Jemdet Nasr Period, circa
3300-2900 B.C. It is 4 1/8 inches long. It was once in the collection
of Dr. Elie Borowski. It has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.
It sold for $168,000.
Lot 47 is a Neo-Sumerian copper
figure of Ur-Nammu,
Third Dynasty of Ur, reign of Ur-Nammu, 2111-2094 B.C. The figure
is 10 5/8 inches high and depicts the king with his arms raised
above his head holding a basket of earth to make bricks for the
construction of a temple and the catalogue notes that "by
placing the figure, or multiple figures, in the temple, the king
is preserved as perpetually present in the temple he erected,
and forever in the act of serving the deity therein." The
catalogue entry also states that "several identical figures
of Ur-Nammu are known, two excavated at Uruk; one from the Enlil
temple in Nippur, now in Baghdad...; one on the British Museum;
one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art....; and one in the Burrell
collection, Glasgow." The lot has an estimate of $120,000
to $180,000. It sold for $374,400.
Lot 46 is an excellent Bactrian
idol of a birdman, circa 3rd Millennium B.C. The figure is 4 1/2
inches high and has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It
is a magnificent Roman
bronze figure of Polykleitos's "Diskophoros" that is
dated to the Julio-Claudian period, circa late 1st Century B.C./1st
Century A.D. The figure, which is missing its right hand and an
implement that had been held in the left hand and has a hole between
its shoulder blades, is 12 inches high. It has an estimate of
$300,000 to $500,000. It sold for $284,800. The
entry notes that Polykleitos "was one of the most famous
and influential Greek sculptors of the High Classical Period"
and was "a native of Argos in the Peloponnesus...[and] flourished
circa 460-420 B.C....None of the master's original works are known
to have survived, but several are recognized in Roman copies."
The catalogue also notes that the "disk-thrower" type
of statue "was very popular with the Romans as evinced by
the numerous life-sized copies in marble that survive, some of
which were used as portrait statues, There are also a number of
versions in samller scale in bronze, such as the present example."
Lot 109 is an excellent
circa 2nd-1st Century B.C., of a satyr. It is 4 5/8 inches high
and is missing its right arm. It has an estimate of $10,000 to
$15,000. It sold for $12,000.
Lot 138 is a gorgeous Roman
marble torso of
a god or victorious athlete that is dated circa 1st-2nd Century
A.D. It is 5 3/4 inches high. It has an estimate of $20,000 to
$30,000. It sold for $54,000.
Lot 149 is a good Roman North
marriage sarcophagus panel, circa 3rd Century A.D. It is 70 1/8
inches long and has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It
sold for $284,800.
Lot 145 is an impressive Roman
of an Olympian. It is dated circa 2nd Century A.D., and is 14
1/2 inches high. It has an estimate of $70,000 to $80,000. It
sold for $102,000.
Lot 126 is a very good Roman
marble head of
a man that is 11 1/4 inches high and is dated circa 1st Century
A.D. The head has a very distinctive personality. It has an estimate
of $20,000 to $30,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 134 is an excellent Roman
head. It is dated circa late 1st Century A.D., and is 10 inches
high. It has a modest estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold
Lot 111 is a graceful and very
bronze of Eros that is dated circa 1st Century B.C. The statue
is missing its left hand and is 9 inches high. It was once in
the collection of Mathias Komor of New York. It has an estimate
of $25,000 to $35,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 108 is a superb pair of
in full gallop, one 10 and the other 11 inches high, Greek, Canosan,
Hellenistic Period, circa 3rd Century B.C. The lot was once in
the Barbara Johnson Collection. It has a modest estimate of $7,000
to $9,000. It sold for $54,000.