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    Sale 2056

    ANTIQUITIES

    9 December 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 28

    A NUBIAN SERPENTINE SHABTI FOR THE KING SENKAMENISKEN

    SUDAN, NAPATAN PERIOD, 643-623 B.C.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A NUBIAN SERPENTINE SHABTI FOR THE KING SENKAMENISKEN
    SUDAN, NAPATAN PERIOD, 643-623 B.C.
    Depicted mummiform with the arms folded over the chest, holding agricultural implements in his fisted hands, a flail along his right shoulder, a seed bag slung over his left, wearing a nemes-headcloth fronted by the Kushite regalia in the form of a double uraeus, a broad collar and a plaited ceremonial beard, the facial features well articulated with hieroglyphic eyes and extended cosmetic lines, inscribed with six rows of hieroglyphs reading "Instructions of this Osiris, Beautiful God, Lord of the Two Lands Sekheperre; he says: O these [sic] Shabty, if this Osiris King Senkamenisken is counted"
    6 5/8 in. (16.8 cm.) high


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    Senkamenisken was the grandson of Taharqa, the most renowned pharaoh of Dynasty XXV. He ruled a greatly-reduced Nubian Kingdom following the Assyrian invasion of Egypt to the north. Like his grandfather, Senkamenisken commissioned a tremendous number of shabtis for his Pyramid tomb at Nuri, in fact, more than any previous Nubian or Egyptian king. George Reisner excavated 1277 of his shabtis, including 410 of serpentine and 867 of faience. The large format of his serpentine shabtis in combination with the high quality of their carving, in particular the details of his specific physiognomy, transforms them from "mere figurines into small sculptures, first-rate examples of the sculptor's art" (see Wildung, ed., Sudan, Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile, p. 194). The double uraeus, ubiquitous on Nubian royal portraiture, is unique to the shabtis of Senkamenisken (see Lacovara, et al., The Collector's Eye: Masterpieces of Egyptian Art from The Thalassic Collection, Ltd., p. 130).

    Provenance

    Family of M. Mustafa Abdalla Babeker, Khartoum, Sudan, 1917-1930.
    Don Cevera-Bes Collection, 1930.
    European Collection, 1940.