• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2007

    Antiquities

    4 June 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 12

    AN EGYPTIAN QUARTZITE RELIEF

    LATE PERIOD, DYNASTY XXVI-XXX, 664-343 B.C.

    Price Realised  

    AN EGYPTIAN QUARTZITE RELIEF
    LATE PERIOD, DYNASTY XXVI-XXX, 664-343 B.C.
    Sculpted in shallow raised relief with a goddess embracing and suckling a Pharaoh, with Horus standing before them, the goddess wearing a broad collar, a closely-fitted sheath with a halter strap, and a plain tripartite wig with long lappets, adorned with a uraeus, her face with a small chin, slightly smiling lips, a rounded nose and a narrow eye beneath a modelled brow, the Pharaoh wearing the Blue Crown adorned with a uraeus, falcon-headed Horus wearing a broad collar and a striated tripartite wig, with a large almond-shaped lidded eye, traces of a hieroglyph above his head, vertical register bands along the right and left edges
    25 1/8 in. (63.8 cm.) wide


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    For an earlier representation of a goddess suckling a king see the ostracon of Ramesses II, now in the Cleveland Museum of Art, no. 50 in Capel and Markoe, eds., Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven, Women in Ancient Egypt. As Capel informs (p. 118), "the king was suckled by a goddess on three occasions: at birth into this world; at coronation--his 'birth' into kingship; and after his death, when he was reborn in the afterlife. ... An inscription on a vessel from the tomb of King Aspelta, which was used for drinking 'divine' milk, reads: 'Hail to you, O beautiful liquid, O good produce which averts every evil. ...May you drive away every evil and ward off every abomination...' This milk-drinking ritual evidently was believed to purify a person of sin as he or she underwent a crucial rite of passage." In the absence of an attribute or inscription, the identity of the goddess cannot be ascertained, but Mut or Anuket are possibilities.

    Provenance

    Collected by Gustave Jéquier (1868-1946).