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Lot 0004


Ancient Egypt, Late Period, ca. 712 to 300 BCE. A charming cast bronze shrew atop a shrew-sized sarcophagus. The shrew sculpture is bigger than the actual animal it is based upon, while the sarcophagus is of typical rectangular open form, with a hollowed out lower section which would have contained the mummified shrew, carefully wrapped in linen. The adult Egyptian pygmy shrew is one of the smallest mammals on earth, weighing just 7 grams, but they are voracious eaters - in fact, the Egyptian word for the animal translates to "voracious". They were associated with the solar deity. Thousands of mummified shrews, given as offerings to try to intercede with the gods, have been found underneath Egyptian temples. Size: 5.25" W x 1.55" H (13.3 cm x 3.9 cm)

Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA; ex-Anubis Ancient Art, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; ex-private old English collection, acquired in 1983

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Intact, with openings at both ends of the sarcophagus and an opening on the underside which would have been filled in with other materials when the sarcophagus was originally in use. Great mottled turquoise patina with form well preserved.

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Egyptian Bronze Sarcophagus w/ Shrew Atop

Estimate $1,000 - $1,500Dec 05, 2019