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A NUBIAN SERPENTINE SHABTI FOR THE KING SENKAMENISKEN
A NUBIAN SERPENTINE SHABTI FOR THE KING SENKAMENISKEN

SUDAN, NAPATAN PERIOD, 643-623 B.C.

Details
A NUBIAN SERPENTINE SHABTI FOR THE KING SENKAMENISKEN
SUDAN, NAPATAN PERIOD, 643-623 B.C.
Depicted mummiform with the arms folded over the chest, holding agricultural implements in each fisted hand, a seed bag slung over his left shoulder, wearing a nemes-headdress fronted by the Kushite regalia in the form of a double uraeus, a striated broad collar and a plaited ceremonial beard, the facial features well articulated with hieroglyphic eyes and extended cosmetic lines, inscribed with six lines of hieroglyphs containing the cartouches of Senkamenisken within excerpts from Chapter VI of The Book of the Dead
7½ in. (19 cm.) high
Provenance
Family of M. Mustafa Abdalla Babeker, Khartoum, Sudan, 1917-1930.
Don Cevera-Bes Collection, 1930.
European Collection, 1940.

Lot Essay

Senkamenisken was the grandson of Taharqa, the most glorious pharaoh of the XXVth Dynasty. He ruled a greatly-reduced Nubian Kingdom following the Assyrian invasion of Egypt to the north. Like his grandfather, Senkamenisken commissioned a tremendous number of shabtis for his Pyramid tomb at Nuri, in fact, more than any previous Nubian or Egyptian king. George Reisner excavated 1277 of his shabtis, including 410 of serpentine and 867 of faience. The large format of his serpentine shabtis in combination with the high quality of their carving, in particular the details of his specific physiognomy, transforms them from "mere figurines into small sculptures, first-rate examples of the sculptor's art" (see Wildung, ed., Sudan, Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile, p. 194). The double uraeus, ubiquitous on Nubian royal portraiture, is unique to the shabtis of Senkamenisken (see Lacovara, et al., The Collector's Eye: Masterpieces of Egyptian Art from The Thalassic Collection, Ltd., p. 130).

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