Ancient Egypt, Late Dynastic Period, 30th Dynasty, ca. 380 to 343 BCE. A gorgeous mold-formed faience ushabti presenting traces of colorful green and turquoise-hued glaze. The figure stands in mummiform atop an integral rectangular plinth with crossed arms holding the symbolic pick and hoe and a seed bag draped over his left shoulder. A striated tripartite wig and false beard adorn the figure's head while the finely-modeled face presents almond-shaped eyes, thin eye brows, a slender triangular nose, full lips with indented corners, and cupped ears. Nine line of inscribed hieroglyphic text identify this individual as Horudja, a priest for the goddess Neith, and provide him with blessings for his journey into the afterlife. Custom wooden display stand included. Size: 2.4" W x 8.8" H (6.1 cm x 22.4 cm); 9" H (22.9 cm) on included custom stand.
This ushabti is dedicated to Horudja, an Egyptian priest of Neith, an ancient goddess of war and hunting. The tomb of Horudja was discovered by Sir William Flinders Petrie at the archaeological site of Hawara in 1888, and approximately 399 ushabti bearing his name were found in small niches on either end of the space surrounding the sarcophagus of Horudja.
According to Flinders Petrie, there are three versions of the hieroglyphic spell inscribed on the ushabti for Horudja, each with their own slight variations. The most common inscription, which is shown on this figure, reads as follows: "The illuminated one, the Osiris, the Priest of Neith, Horudja, born to Shedet, justified, he says: O these ushabtis, if counted upon, the Osiris, the Priest of Neith, Horudja, born to Shedet, justified, to do all the works that are to be done there in the realm of the dead - now indeed obstacles are implanted there - as a man at his duties, 'here I am!' you shall say when you are counted upon at any time to serve there, to cultivate the fields, to irrigate the river banks, to ferry the sand of the west to the east and vice-versa, 'here I am' you shall say."
A similar example hammered for GBP 10,000 ($13,136.81) at Sotheby's, London "Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art" Auction (July 3, 2018, lot 74): http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2018/ancient-marbles-classical-sculpture-and-l18260/lot.74.html
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Arte Primitivo, New York, New York, USA; ex-private Canadian collection; ex-Norman Blankman collection, New York, USA, acquired in the 1950s; ex-collection of William Flinders Petrie, formed early 1900s
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