Home > Auctions > 26th February 2019 > Egyptian Rhyolite Shabti for King Senkamanisken

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LOT 0001

GBP (£) 18,000 - 24,000
EUR (€) 20,460 - 27,280
USD ($) 23,070 - 30,760

Opening Bid
£18,000 (EUR 20,462; USD 23,066) (+bp*) Add to Watch list

Egyptian Rhyolite Shabti for King Senkamanisken

Napatan Period, 643-623 BC

A rhyolite shabti with mummiform body, arms crossed over the chest, the right hand holding a narrow-bladed hoe, the left hand holding a broad hoe, seed bag with tassel slung over the left shoulder; wearing a nemes headdress, double uraeus and false plaited beard with chin straps; six incised horizontal registers of hieroglyphs from Chapter Six of the Book of the Dead; incised 'footmarks' to the base. 333 grams, 14.5cm (5 3/4"). Fine condition, repaired. Shabtis of King Senkamanisken are rarely offered for public sale, most being found in museum collections.

Condition report [Click to show]

From a UK private collection formed in the 1980s; with Bluett and Sons, London, and also Sheppard & Cooper in 1979; formerly the property of a UK private collector who acquired it from J.J. Klejman of Madison Avenue, New York, in the 1960s, supplied with geologic report No. TL005191, by geologic consultant Dr R. L. Bonewitz.

Cf. The Collector's Eye, Masterpieces of Egyptian Art from The Thalassic Collection, Ltd., p.130 for context; Museum of Fine Art Boston, accession number: 21.11818, for type.

The area known to the Egyptians as Kush, situated in modern-day Sudan, became independent from Egypt during the 8th century BC, with a monarchy established in Napata. After a short-lived rule in Egypt under the 25th Dynasty, which they conquered in 712 BC, the Nubians were expelled by the Assyrians in 663 BC and re-established power at Napata and Meroë. Senkamanisken was the eight king of Kush and reigned between 640 and 620 BC.

The tomb of Senkamanisken, a pyramid at the site of Nuri, was excavated by George Reisner in 1915-1918 during which period a large quantity of mainly faience shabtis were discovered. The shabtis, their symbolism and stylistic features, provide us with a fascinating insight into the workings of Nubian kingship and its interaction with, and adoption of Egyptian practises. The iconography of Nubian kingship is, however, distinctive: the double uraeus cobra, the antiquated nemes headdress and the style of seed bag, most likely represent a wicker basket on a cord. Whilst the double uraeus is ubiquitous on Nubian royal portraiture, it only appears on the shabtis of Senkamanisken. The significance or meaning of the incised 'footmarks' found on the base of the shabtis - another departure from Egyptian practice - is unclear, but may have been used as a means of identifying a particular workshop or artisan. A large collection of stone shabtis from Senkamanisken's tomb can be found at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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Auction Catalogue

Auction Venue:
The May Fair Hotel London
Stratton Street
Mayfair London, W1J 8LT

Viewing from noon Monday 25th Feb 2019
Champagne Reception: 6pm - 9pm

Tuesday 26th Feb 2019 (Day 1)
10am : Lots 1 - 660

Auction Venue:
The Court House
363 Main Road
Harwich, CO12 4DN

Auctions start 10am GMT (Lunch 1.30 - 2pm)
Wednesday 27th Feb 2019 (Day 2)
Lots 700 - 1388
Thursday 28th Feb 2019 (Day 3)
Lots 1389 - 2081
Friday 1st March 2019 (Day 4)
Lots 2082 - 2759
Saturday 2nd March 2019 (Day 5)
Lots 3001 - 3862

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