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    Sale 12257

    Antiquities

    25 October 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 42

    AN EGYPTIAN BRONZE SEKHMET

    THIRD INTERMEDIATE PERIOD, CIRCA 1069-664 B.C

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN EGYPTIAN BRONZE SEKHMET
    THIRD INTERMEDIATE PERIOD, CIRCA 1069-664 B.C
    10 ¾ in. (27.3 cm.) high


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    A hieroglyphic inscription around two sides of the base reading: "May Sekhmet give life to Horsiese Son of Hudnefer"

    This exceptional statuette of the goddess Sekhmet depicts her at her most dignified moment standing with arms firmly at her side, her close-fitting gown flowing seamlessly to her ankles. Wide bracelets and armlets are beautifully incised in the back as well as on her limbs as is a multi-strand broad collar on her chest. Her head is covered by a combination wig and leonine mane, surmounted by a sun-disc and uraeus. Her eyes are inlaid with gold and black bronze. The latter, actually an alloy, was considered by the ancient Egyptians to be more precious than all metals except gold and silver. The use of colored metals was a hallmark of Third Intermediate Period bronze statuary. High-waisted torsos and long legs are typical for the period as well, along with finely detailed incision.

    As dignified as this image is, Sekhmet had her moments of dysfunction. In fact, she was the most bi-polar of all the ancient Egyptian deities. She could be a sweet and loving daughter to her father, the sun god Ra, who missed her terribly on her annual trip south into the continent of Africa. But when she drank to drunkenness she was lethal to humans, causing the Nile to run red with their blood. Sekhmet was the goddess of pestilence and war, and as such needed to be appeased frequently with offerings and statues in her name. Perhaps this statue was donated so that Sekhmet would heal Horsiese from an illness (see pp. 38-39 in M. Hill, ed., Gifts for the Gods: Images from Egyptian Temples).

    Provenance

    Omar Pacha Sultan, Cairo.
    Collection de Feu Omar Pacha Sultan Le Caire, Paris, 1929, no. 122, pl. XX.
    Camila Pinto (1931-2014), New York.
    Mrs. Camila Pinto; Antiquities, Sotheby's, London, 15 July 1980, lot 348.
    The Resandro Collection, Munich, acquired from the above.


    Literature

    Art at Auction: The Year At Sotheby Parke-Bernet, 1979-80, London, 1984, p. 405.
    S. Schoske and D. Wildung, Entdeckungen: Ägyptische Kunst in Su¨ddeutschland, Munich, 1985, pp. 87 and 89, no. 69.
    S. Schoske and D. Wildung, Gott und Götter im Alten Ägypten, Berlin, 1992, p. 61, no. 40.
    I. Grimm-Stadelmann, ed., Aesthetic Glimpses: Masterpieces of Ancient Egyptian Art in the Resandro Collection, Munich, 2012, p. 100, no. R-372.