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Egyptian Predynastic Terracotta Boat, ex-Sotheby's 1913

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Egyptian Predynastic Terracotta Boat, ex-Sotheby's 1913
Item Details
Description
Ancient Egypt, Predynastic Period, Naqada II to Naqada III, ca. 3500 to 3000 BCE. An incredibly rare and ornate example of a terracotta boat from Predynastic Egypt featuring a lengthy canoe-shaped body with a pinched keel to easily navigate through the waters of the Nile River. The relatively rough surface texture of the boat is due to the use of unfired clay, however this provides a great ground for the burnt umber pigment to adhere along the surfaces. The body is painted with a zigzagging gunwale pattern along the rims as well as with minimalist linear motifs on the stern point, and a band of brown pigment stretches across the lower half of the vessel. A thatched reed canopy is woven into several petite perforations along the upper periphery as well as on the frontal panel behind the bow point with braided reeds to provide shelter and viewing holes for the navigator. A petite figure sits within the back portion with a strut across the walls behind, and a crescent-shaped stern caps the back of the vessel. Size: 19" L x 4.875" W x 5.125" H (48.3 cm x 12.4 cm x 13 cm); 7.75" H (19.7 cm) on included custom stand.

This boat model has had quite the journey around the world since its discovery! Author and discoverer of this exact boat model Robert de Rustafjaell described it as such: "A most interesting model in burnt clay of a sacred bark is seen in plate XV. A sort of arch-shaped canopy of reeds, plaited together, is built over the stern, along the gunwale, with a design in red colour resembling a row of pyramids, no doubt representing hills. Similar designs are frequently found on pre-dynastic buff-ware pottery. Models of sacred barks of this period are not uncommon, but one with a reed canopy is heretofore unknown. In shape it is not unlike the Venetian gondola. Being found buried with the dead, these boats are supposed to have had some symbolic religious meaning, connected probably with the voyage of the spirit of the dead to the underworld. This one was found at Gebelen, seventeen miles from Luxor." (Robert de Rustafjaell, F.R.G.S. "The Light of Egypt: From Recently Discovered Predynastic And Early Christian Records With 51 Plates." Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., London, 1909, p. 28-29, also plate XV)

Published in de Rustafjaell, R. "The Light of Egypt." 1909, p. 28, ill.; also published in Merriman, A.M. "Egyptian Watercraft Models from the Predynastic to Third Intermediate Periods." BAR International Series 2263, 2011, UCL Doctoral Thesis, p. 426, fig. B.29

Cf. The Bern Historical Museum, ref. AE 368.

Provenance: private New York, USA collection; ex-Florence Eligabue collection; ex-Ernest Brummer collection, Sotheby's London, November 16-17, 1964, no. 8 ill.; ex-Robert de Rustafjaell (1876-1943) collection, UK, Sotheby's London, January 20-24, 1913, no. 420, pl. XXXII; found at Gebelein, 17 miles from Luxor

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to recent increases of shipments being seized by Australian & German customs (even for items with pre-UNESCO provenance), we will no longer ship most antiquities and ancient Chinese art to Australia & Germany. For categories of items that are acceptable to ship to Australia or Germany, please contact us directly or work with your local customs brokerage firm.

Display stands not described as included/custom in the item description are for photography purposes only and will not be included with the item upon shipping.

#170815
Condition
Repair to body from a several large pieces, with restoration and adhesive residue along break lines. Figure reattached within boat with head reattached at right side of neck and left shoulder, and restoration to proper right foot. Restoration to circular area of bow along one side, with resurfacing along break lines. Light adhesive residue and modern metal wires along thatched canopy and braided framework for stability purposes. Surface wear and fading to pigment commensurate with age, with some missing reeds of canopy, minor damage along bottom of keel, light touch-up painting to some decorated areas on body, and minor roughness across most surfaces as expected, otherwise in wonderful condition for its age. Great preservation to pigment in most areas, thatched canopy, and figure near stern.
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Egyptian Predynastic Terracotta Boat, ex-Sotheby's 1913

Estimate $40,000 - $55,000
Mar 24, 2022
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Starting Price $27,500
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0001A: Egyptian Predynastic Terracotta Boat, ex-Sotheby's 1913

Lot Passed
0 Bids
Est. $40,000 - $55,000Starting Price $27,500
Exceptional Antiquities Ethnographic Fine Art
Mar 24, 2022 10:00 AM EDT
Buyer's Premium 26.5%

Lot 0001A Details

Description
...
Ancient Egypt, Predynastic Period, Naqada II to Naqada III, ca. 3500 to 3000 BCE. An incredibly rare and ornate example of a terracotta boat from Predynastic Egypt featuring a lengthy canoe-shaped body with a pinched keel to easily navigate through the waters of the Nile River. The relatively rough surface texture of the boat is due to the use of unfired clay, however this provides a great ground for the burnt umber pigment to adhere along the surfaces. The body is painted with a zigzagging gunwale pattern along the rims as well as with minimalist linear motifs on the stern point, and a band of brown pigment stretches across the lower half of the vessel. A thatched reed canopy is woven into several petite perforations along the upper periphery as well as on the frontal panel behind the bow point with braided reeds to provide shelter and viewing holes for the navigator. A petite figure sits within the back portion with a strut across the walls behind, and a crescent-shaped stern caps the back of the vessel. Size: 19" L x 4.875" W x 5.125" H (48.3 cm x 12.4 cm x 13 cm); 7.75" H (19.7 cm) on included custom stand.

This boat model has had quite the journey around the world since its discovery! Author and discoverer of this exact boat model Robert de Rustafjaell described it as such: "A most interesting model in burnt clay of a sacred bark is seen in plate XV. A sort of arch-shaped canopy of reeds, plaited together, is built over the stern, along the gunwale, with a design in red colour resembling a row of pyramids, no doubt representing hills. Similar designs are frequently found on pre-dynastic buff-ware pottery. Models of sacred barks of this period are not uncommon, but one with a reed canopy is heretofore unknown. In shape it is not unlike the Venetian gondola. Being found buried with the dead, these boats are supposed to have had some symbolic religious meaning, connected probably with the voyage of the spirit of the dead to the underworld. This one was found at Gebelen, seventeen miles from Luxor." (Robert de Rustafjaell, F.R.G.S. "The Light of Egypt: From Recently Discovered Predynastic And Early Christian Records With 51 Plates." Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., London, 1909, p. 28-29, also plate XV)

Published in de Rustafjaell, R. "The Light of Egypt." 1909, p. 28, ill.; also published in Merriman, A.M. "Egyptian Watercraft Models from the Predynastic to Third Intermediate Periods." BAR International Series 2263, 2011, UCL Doctoral Thesis, p. 426, fig. B.29

Cf. The Bern Historical Museum, ref. AE 368.

Provenance: private New York, USA collection; ex-Florence Eligabue collection; ex-Ernest Brummer collection, Sotheby's London, November 16-17, 1964, no. 8 ill.; ex-Robert de Rustafjaell (1876-1943) collection, UK, Sotheby's London, January 20-24, 1913, no. 420, pl. XXXII; found at Gebelein, 17 miles from Luxor

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to recent increases of shipments being seized by Australian & German customs (even for items with pre-UNESCO provenance), we will no longer ship most antiquities and ancient Chinese art to Australia & Germany. For categories of items that are acceptable to ship to Australia or Germany, please contact us directly or work with your local customs brokerage firm.

Display stands not described as included/custom in the item description are for photography purposes only and will not be included with the item upon shipping.

#170815
Condition
...
Repair to body from a several large pieces, with restoration and adhesive residue along break lines. Figure reattached within boat with head reattached at right side of neck and left shoulder, and restoration to proper right foot. Restoration to circular area of bow along one side, with resurfacing along break lines. Light adhesive residue and modern metal wires along thatched canopy and braided framework for stability purposes. Surface wear and fading to pigment commensurate with age, with some missing reeds of canopy, minor damage along bottom of keel, light touch-up painting to some decorated areas on body, and minor roughness across most surfaces as expected, otherwise in wonderful condition for its age. Great preservation to pigment in most areas, thatched canopy, and figure near stern.

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