• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2007

    Antiquities

    4 June 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 24

    TWO EGYPTIAN WOOD CANOPIC BOXES

    PTOLEMAIC PERIOD, 304-30 B.C.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    TWO EGYPTIAN WOOD CANOPIC BOXES
    PTOLEMAIC PERIOD, 304-30 B.C.
    Each in the form of a shrine, with protruding base, tapering walls and cavetto cornice, formed of several pieces of wood joined by dowels, gessoed and brightly painted, with a serekh pattern above the base, the sides each with two of the Sons of Horus above two registers of alternating djed-pillars and ankhs, each with identifying inscriptions, the back of each with a large djed-pillar surmounted by an atef-crown supported by cow horns and a solar disk and flanked by uraei, one box for Sesobek, the front panel with Isis and Osiris standing before identifying inscriptions reading, "Recitation by Isis, Mother of the God: I have come, I have made as(sic) protection," and "A royal offering formula to Osiris, Foremost of the West, Great God, Lord of Abydos," two uraeus-flanked winged solar disks above, the back with the djed-pillar inscribed, "A royal offering formula to Osiris, Foremost of the West, Great God, Lord of Abydos," the sides inscribed, before the human-headed figure, "Recitation by Imsety: Protection, Hail, Osiris, Venerated One, justified, Sesobek," before the jackal-headed figure, "Recitation by [Dua]mutef: Hail!" before the ape-headed figure, "Recitation by Hapy: Hail, Osiris, Venerated One!", before the hawk-headed figure, "Recitation by Qebehsenuef: Hail, Osiris, Venerated One!"; the other for Senenuekemnetjer, the front with seated Osiris wearing an atef-crown, holding his crook and flail, two uraeus-flanked winged solar disks above, inscribed, "Recitation by Osiris, Foremost of the West: (O) Osiris, Venerated One, justified, Senenuekemnetjer. A royal offering formula (to) Osiris, Foremost of the West," the djed-pillar inscribed, "A Royal Offering formula (to) Osiris. Foremost of the West, Great God(?)," the sides inscribed, before the ape-headed figure, "Recitation by Hapy: Hail Osiris, Venerated One!", before the hawk-headed figure, "Recitation by Qebehsenuef: Hail, Osiris!", before the human-headed figure, "Recitation by Imsety: Protection, Hail, Osiris, Venerated One!", and before the jackal-headed figure, "Recitation by Duamutef: Hail, Osiris, Venerated One!"
    Each: 21¼ in. (54 cm.) high (2)


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    According to Raven (p. 196 in D'Auria, Lacovara and Roehrig, Mummies & Magic, The Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt), the decoration on canopic boxes "usually comprises the Four Sons of Horus, in conjunction with various symbols of Osiris (djed, head on a shrine) and Isis (tyet, uraeus, winged goddess). ...Since the Sons of Horus were associated with the viscera, this decoration strongly suggests that such objects served as canopic chests."

    Furthermore, Taylor and Strudwick note (p. 82 in Mummies, Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt), "Canopic containers of the Late and Ptolemaic Periods were often constructed and decorated in imitation of shrines. The intention was to convey divine status by association - as the principal function of a shrine was to house the physical embodiment of a god, so the shrine-shaped box implied that whatever lay inside possessed the attributes of divinity, including regenerative powers and everlastingness."

    Provenance

    Collected by Gustave Jéquier (1868-1946).