AN EGYPTIAN FRAGMENTARY INDURATED LIMESTONE SHABTI FOR AKHENATEN
AN EGYPTIAN FRAGMENTARY INDURATED LIMESTONE SHABTI FOR AKHENATEN
AN EGYPTIAN FRAGMENTARY INDURATED LIMESTONE SHABTI FOR AKHENATEN
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These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRINCELY COLLECTION
AN 'EGYPTIAN BLUE' RIBBED BOWL

NEW KINGDOM, 18TH DYNASTY, REIGN OF AMENHOTEP III, CIRCA 1388-1350 B.C.

Details
AN 'EGYPTIAN BLUE' RIBBED BOWL
NEW KINGDOM, 18TH DYNASTY, REIGN OF AMENHOTEP III, CIRCA 1388-1350 B.C.
6¼ in. (15.8 cm.) diameter
Provenance
Baron Empain (1852-1929), collection, France.
Antiquities Including Property from the collection of Baron Edouard Jean Empain, Christie's, London, 14 April 2011, lot 57.
The Empain collection of Egyptian Antiquities, Christie's, London, 2 May 2013, lot 34.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU or, if the UK has withdrawn from the EU without an agreed transition deal, from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Claudio Corsi
Claudio Corsi Specialist, Head of Department

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Lot Essay

'Egyptian Blue', or calcium copper silicate, is considered to be among the earliest known synthetic pigments produced in the ancient world. The copper component is the chief contributor to the pigment's instantly recognizable hues. The precise shade of blue depends primarily on the method of production. In the case of the present bowl, the paler shade of blue is the result of the pigment being crushed into miniscule granules before production. This bowl is unusual both for its large size, and because it is composed entirely of finely ground 'Egyptian Blue.' Numerous comparative ribbed bowls are known in alabaster.
Widely thought to have been innovated by the ancient Egyptians, the distinctive colour was applied to a variety of media as early as the 4th dynasty (2613-2494 B.C.), and later utilised by the Greeks and Romans (L. Lee & S. Quirke, 'Painting Materials', in Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 108-111). The Romans named the pigment 'caeruleum', after appropriating the manufacturing process from Alexandria (Vitruvius, On Architecture vii.xi.i.).
The use of blue pigment served both a practical and deeply symbolic purpose. Firstly, blue stood out against the naturally-occurring pigments of yellows, reds, and browns, which were comparatively plentiful in ancient Egypt. Blue was also the colour of the river Nile and the heavens, and would therefore have been imbued with powerful connotations of life and rebirth.
Among the more notable appearances of Egyptian Blue in antiquity are the 14th century B.C. tomb-chapel paintings of Nebamun (11 of which can be found at the British Museum); on the crown of the famed 14th century B.C. bust of Nefertiti by Thutmose (now at the Neues Museum, Berlin, inv. no. ÄM21300); and there are even traces on multiple pediment figures from the Parthenon sculptures (British Museum).

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