• Antiquities  auction at Christies

    Sale 2232

    Antiquities

    11 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 170

    A ROMAN ALABASTER BUST OF SERAPIS

    CIRCA 2ND CENTURY A.D.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A ROMAN ALABASTER BUST OF SERAPIS
    CIRCA 2ND CENTURY A.D.
    With thick, wavy locks framing the finely carved face, including the characteristic five curls across the forehead, the full beard parted into two larger central curls, the mustache extending over the upper lip, the head surmounted by a modius decorated with olive branches; mounted on a later bust and socle
    Head: 8.5 in. (21.6 cm) high
    On bust and socle: 14 in. (35.6 cm) high


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    The origins and development of the cult of Serapis are obscure, but it is generally accepted that the deity was introduced by Ptolemy I in an effort to unite the native Egyptian and Greek communities. Indeed, Serapis embodies aspects of several different deities including the Egyptian gods Osiris and Apis and the Greek gods Dionysus and Hades. Another theory proposes that the god was brought to Egypt by Alexander the Great.

    Provenance

    Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 14 February 1955, lot 84.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF MR. AND MRS. HOWARD K. SMITH