By Carter B. Horsley
collection of antiquities is complete without a fine Egyptian
work of art and what could be better than a very handsome head
of Neb-maat-re Amenhotep III, the son of Tuthmosis IV and father
Amenhotep III was the king of Egypt in the 18th Dynasty, and Lot
30, shown above, is a fine quartzite head of him that is 9 inches
tall showing him wearing a royal nemes-headcloth
the typical uraeus in front, and a long braided beard instead
of the striated ceremonial beard that the catalogue notes is usually
worn by kings. "Both features," the catalogue entry
continued, "emphasis his deified status.The eyes are carved
in the sfumato style, with the lower eyelids shown in a continuous
plane with the cheek. This rare treatment of the eyes occurs for
the first time in sculpture during his reign..Whether the details
of the eyes were completed in paint is not known. In addition
they are carved as though the king gazes downward. This feature
is understandably common in Amenhotep III's colossal quartzite
statues, where the eyes are thus more visible to the viewer below,
but is more difficult to explain on smaller-scale images."
His reign is notable, the catalogue noted, "for the exceptional
beauty and originality of its art and architecture. Perhaps the
most remarkable to the modern world are the two colossal seated
quartzite statues of the King at Thebes, known since Classical
Greek times as the Colossus of Memnon and its companion."
The work was consigned by antiquarian Albert Eid in 1950 to Leonard
Epstein, who purchased it three years later when it s was tentatively
identified as Tutankhamun (Akenaten's successor and probably Amenhotep
III's grandson). Mr. Epstein subsequently donated many of the
works he acquired from Mr. Eid to various museums including the
University Gallery at the University of Delaware and the Museum
of Art and Archaeology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
catalogue remarks that in 1972 Sotheby's, Parke-Bernet New York
sold a blue faience sphinx of Amenhotep III, formerly in the collection
of Howard Carter and now in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the
last time such a significant and un-altered representation of
this monarch has appeared at auction. The present head appears
to join the fragmentary body of the sphinx in the Thalassic Collection."
The lot, which is the catalogue's cover illustration, has an "estimate
on request." Although its nose is damaged the head is in
quite good condition and the back of the headdress is very beautiful.
It sold for $482,500 including the buyer's premium as do all
results mentioned in this article.
A South American private collection has consigned a large bronze
Egyptian cat, Lot 43, that had been in the owner's family from
before circa 1950. The 16 7/8-inch-high figure dates from the
20th/26th Dynasty, 1190-525 B.C., and the catalogue notes that
larger bronze sculptures of cats, such as this, tend to have "minimal
if any engraved detail, lacking the ornaments of the smaller examples."
This lot has an ambitious estimate of $100,000 to $150,000 as
it appears to be missing part of its right front paw and part
of its tail and is stylistically not as sophisticated as many
other Egyptian statues of cats. It sold for $284,500.
is a very good group of seven faience Egyptian amulets, Late Period
716-30 B.C., that was originally consigned to a Sotheby's auction
a year ago but was withdrawn. It has a very modest estimate of
$2,000 to $3,000. It sold for $10,158.
Lot 56, marble figure of a goddess, Cycladic, early bronze Age
II, circa 2600-2500 B.C., is a nice work that has been consigned
from the Collection of Samuel and Luella Maslon, which has consigned
many of the finest works to be auctioned this season in several
categories. The 6 9/16-inch-high figure has a modest estimate
of $10,000 to $15,000. It failed to sell as did almost a
of the offered lots in this auction.
is a very fine marble bust of a man, Roman Imperial, reign of
Trajan Decius, 32 1/2 inches high, A.D. 249-251. The catalogue
notes that it may be a portrait of the Emperor. The way his toga
is draped across his chest is particularly dramatic and interesting.
The lot has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It
A fine companion
piece for Lot 121 is Lot 120, a marble portait of a woman, Roman
Imperial, Hadrianic, A.D. 117-138. The 17-inch-high bust has a
modest estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It sold for $77,675.
is an impressive bronze figure of a youth, Roman Imperial, circa
1st Century A.D., that is 13 7/8 inches high. The figure is missing
his right arm but is quite large and very finely sculpted. It
has a somewhat ambitious estimate of $180,000 to $220,000. It
failed to sell.
A very strong
early work is Lot 10, a limestone altar, 11 inches long, in the
form of a ram that comes from the West Caspian region and is estimated
to date circa 1200 to 800 B.C. The lot has an estimate of $20,000
to $30,000. It sold for $20,315.
Lot 15 is
a very fine small bronze sculpture of a stag. The Parthian figure
is 4 3/4 inches long and is dated 2nd to 3rd Century A.D. It has
a modest estimate of $5,000 to $8,000. It failed to sell.
striking figure from about the same time is Lot 12, a Syrian basalt
statue of a bear, circa 1st/2nd Century A.D. The 27 3/4-inch-high
statue has a modest estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It failed
Lot 21 is
a beautiful Ilkhand luster-painted tile, Natanz, dedicated March-April
1308. The 14 7/8-by-14 3/16-inch tile has an estimate of $30,000
to $40,000 and is part of a larger frieze of which about 20 other
tiles are known including one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The frieze, the catalogue noted, originally decorated the tomb
of the sufi shaykh Abd al-Samad at Natanz. It sold for
a marble cinerary urn, Roman Imperial, 1st half of the 1st Century
A.D., had a high estimate of $90,000 and sold for $262,500. The
14 1/4-by-21 1/4-by-16 1/8-inch burn was missing much of one of
its four sides all of which were covered with a very elaborate
design of shields and armor and helmets.