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Home > Auctions > 21st February 2023 > Egyptian Animal Birthing Diorama

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LOT 0009

GBP (£) 5,000 - 7,000
EUR (€) 5,660 - 7,920
USD ($) 6,160 - 8,630

Opening Bid
£4,500 (EUR 5,090; USD 5,545) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0
3 3/4 - 6 1/4 in. (111 grams total, 9.5-16 cm).

A wooden animal birthing scene composed of three figures: a standing cow or other quadruped giving birth to its young, its head, neck and forelegs emerging from the mother's rear, both with a black and white speckled coat; a standing male figure with articulated arms and pierced hands, wearing a kilt and cropped wig and with stylised facial detailing; a kneeling figure also with articulated arms, open-palm hands, wearing a kilt and cropped wig, stylised facial features; extensive remains of polychrome pigment. [3]

From an early 20th century Home Counties collection.

This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate no.11597-199209.

Cf. Barker, G., Preparing for Eternity: Funerary models and wall scenes from the Egyptian Old and Middle Kingdoms, Oxford, 2022, p.113 figure 4.2, for a near identical calving cow figure possibly from Meir (now in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, inv. no. 910.18.16.1-3); cf. The Metropolitan Museum, New York, accession numbers 2021.41.170 and 11.150.5, for similar human and animal figures of this date.

Such models would have been deposited in tombs; the purpose of such a scene was probably to evoke the season of spring, when calves were born, and the floodplain where farmers lived and raised their livestock.