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47: An Egyptian Wooden Statuette - Old Kingdom

Lot 47 View Catalog

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Egypt, Old Kingdom, 6th dynasty, reign of Pepi II. This is something very special - a wooden funerary statue of an Egyptian official from the Old Kingdom! Wood being a very fragile and perishable material, objects from ancient Egypt made out of wood are not very common on the market anyway. But it is very rare to find a statue made out of wood AND also dating to the Old Kingdom, more precisely to the reign of pharao Pepi II (ca 2250 BC).

Depicted is a man in striding position, left foot forward, his stretched arms pressed to his body in a classical position, giving extra emphasis to his slender body. His face was not just indicated or traced in paint (as was often done), but eyes, eyebrows, nose and mouth were actually sculpted from the wood, as was his hair. He is wearing a kilt, wrapped around his body, and has a short wig with braided locks, which is an excellent criterium for dating the object. Traces of the original paint, especially white on the kilt and the eyes, and black for the wig and eyebrows. In all probability the statue originally stood on a wooden base, but this has long gone. 10-5/8"H (27 cm).

Literature with comparables and dating criteria: Julia Harvey, Wooden Statues of the Old Kingdom. A Typological Study (Leiden, Brill, 2001), 253, no. A70.

PROVENANCE: Collection of Alfred Obrecht, Feldbrunnen, Switzerland.

(there is a reserve on this lot)


Intact, save for some slight damage to the chin and proper right eyebrow, as visible on the photographs; some wear and paint loss as can be expected from an object that is this old. A break in the left lower arm was repaired at one point in time by reglueing the hand (up to and possibly including the thumb); this part can still be moved a little. Two small spots on the sides of the feet, caused by adhesive material possibly applied to attach the statue more securely to its acrylic base. These do not detract since they are invisible when the statue is in its base, and besides they are hardly visible to the naked eye anyway, they do show more prominently only under a black light.

Lot Passed

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Estimate $32,000 – $35,000
Starting Bid $20,000

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live auction started on
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9:00 AM - May 08, 2010
Artemis Gallery LIVE


Boulder County, CO 80516
United States

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