11 December 2003
EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES FROM THE COLLECTION OF ALAN M. MAY
AN EGYPTIAN WHITE QUARTZITE OFFERING TABLE
Roman Period, Circa Late 1st Century B.C.-1st Century A.D.
Rectangular in form, the lower edge bevelled, the upper surface finely sculpted with, at the center, two hs vases, a libation issuing forth from each into a pedestalled basin between them, a horizontal table above piled with foodstuffs, and to the sides, two shallow basins each in the form of a cartouche, each with a cluster of lotus flowers above draped at their outer edges, their stalks bound together, a shallow groove encircling the outer edge, merging with a single groove at the center of the runoff channel in the middle of one long side, the opposite side with a two-line Demotic inscription reading: (1) Djed-Her-Men, the sacred baboon, give life to Pa-Hy, son of Djehuty-Ir-Rekh-Su (2) the stone-mason, together with every man of his, entirely, who caused that the offering stone be made before Djed-Her-Men
12 in. (30.5 cm.) wide
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 11 December 1989, lot 39.
Gary Weber, Dallas, 1989-1993.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's; New York, 14 December 1993, lot 174.
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R. Ritner, "An Unusual Offering Table in Dallas," Acta Demotica, Acts of Fifth International Conference for Demotists, Pisa (1993), pp. 265-273.
Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art, 1990-1991.
Ritner's article on this offering table (op. cit., p. 267) informs that it was "dedicated to a deceased sacred baboon who had been carefully raised within a temple precinct as an earthly incarnation of Thoth, provided with a distinct personal name, and devoutly embalmed and buried at death." Additionally, he informs (p. 270) that this table is a "carefully crafted, high-status product, destined for a specific cult and signed by its craftsman," the stonemason Pa-Hy. This is therefore one of only very few objects known from ancient Egypt where we have an artist's signature.
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