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    Sale 12256


    12 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 119


    LATE PERIOD, 664-332 B.C.

    Price Realised  


    LATE PERIOD, 664-332 B.C.
    Finely sculpted and superbly detailed, depicted standing with the talons splayed, the closed wings crossing over the tail, the feathers indicated by careful incision, with rounded lidded eyes and a short hooked beak, the facial markings indicated, wearing the double crown fronted by a uraeus, a rectangular sealed panel on the underside perhaps for insertion of a falcon mummy
    11 7/16 in. (29 cm.) high

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    The ancient Egyptians believed that their Pharaoh was an incarnation of the sky god Horus, who is frequently depicted as a falcon. The falcon served as symbol and protector of Egyptian kingship, as seen already in the Old Kingdom (see the falcon standing on the back of the 6th Dynasty Pharaoh Pepi I's throne on an alabaster statue in Brooklyn, no. 18 in E. Bleiberg, et al., Soulful Creatures, Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt) and continuing throughout Egypt's long history (see the graywacke falcon with the 30th Dynasty Pharaoh Nectanebo II standing between its talons, no. 50 in D. Arnold, An Egyptian Bestiary). According to Bleiberg (op. cit, p. 22) the falcon not only symbolized Egyptian kingship, but "was also a manifestation of the sun god. A falcon's soaring flight and keen eyesight embodied essential aspects of the god Horus, who often appears as this bird of prey."

    The ancient Egyptians worshipped a number of different falcon deities, although the presence of the double crown on the example presented here confirms that Horus was intended. Bronze falcon statues of this scale frequently served as a coffin for a mummified falcon which would have been dedicated at a sanctuary by pilgrims either in anticipation of prayers to be answered or in thanks for petitions already granted (see p. 222 in R.S. Bianchi, et al., Egyptian Bronzes, Fondation Gandur Pour L'Art). For another bronze Horus falcon coffin with similar incised details and attributes see the example in the Brooklyn Museum, no. 15 in Bleiberg, op. cit.


    Antiquities, Sotheby's, New York, 18 June 1968, lot 25.
    with Spink and Son, London, (Octagon, Winter 1968, p. 26).
    with Franz Waldner, Munich, 1981.
    The Resandro Collection, Munich, 1985 or prior.
    Private Collection, Germany.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the first line of provenance for this lot should read: Antiquities, Sotheby's, New York, 18 June 1968, lot 25.


    S. Schoske & D. Wildung, Entdeckungen: Ägyptische Kunst in Süddeutschland, Munich, 1985, no. 116.
    S. Schoske & D. Wildung, Gott und Götter im Alten Ägypten, Munich, 1993, p. 42, no. 22.
    I. Grimm-Stadelmann, ed., Aesthetic Glimpses: Masterpieces of Ancient Egyptian Art in the Resandro Collection, Munich, 2012, p. 155, R-454.
    I. Grimm-Stadelmann and A. Grimm, Das Erwachen der Sphinx, Meisterwerke altägyptischer und ägyptisierender Kunst im Dialog, Dettelbach, 2013, p. 102.


    Munich, Galerie der Bayerischen Landesbank, Entdeckungen: Ägyptische Kunst in Süddeutschland, 1985.
    Berlin, Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung; Munich, Staatliche Sammlung Ägyptischer Kunst; and Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe,Gott und Götter im Alten Ägypten, 1992-1993.