Egypt, Middle Kingdom, ca. 2055 to 1760 BCE. A petite hand-carved wooden right arm from a statue, with the hand and fingers fully extended, finely detailed with each finger and nailbed well delineated. The sculptor also incised palm lines on the hand. Though the arm was rendered with naturalistic contours, it presents a rigid pose characteristic of ancient Egyptian figures. Size: 7.125" H (18.1 cm); 8.5" H (21.6 cm) on included custom stand.
The fine grain of the wood suggests that this piece was carved from cedar. Interestingly, cedar wood was not native to Egypt. Egypt did not have verdant forests filled with tall trees, and unfortunately most of its native lumber was of relatively poor quality. Thus, they relied on importing to acquire hardwoods - ebony imported from Africa, cedar and pine from Lebanon. One fabulous obelisk inscription by Thutmose III attests to the luxury of treasured hardwoods. It reads as follows, "They brought to me the choicest products …consisting of cedar, juniper and of meru wood … all the good sweet woods of God's Land." The rarity of cedar meant that figures like this statue to which this arm belonged were reserved for those who could afford them.
Accompanied by copy of Art Loss Register certificate number S00106037.
Provenance: private Connecticut, USA collection; private European collection, 1986-2015; UK art market, 2015. Accompanied by copy of Art Loss Register certificate number S00106037.
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