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Lot 0001F Details

Egypt, Late Dynastic to Romano-Egyptian Period, ca. 664 BCE to 2nd century CE. A fine example of a mummified falcon wrapped in layers of fibrous linens after having undergone the process of mummification. The slender body bears both wings held taught against the sides, and the linens above the chest cavity sink slightly inward to show that the internal organs - commensurate with the process of mummification - were removed prior to embalming. Areas of the linens surrounding the downturned head have worn away to expose the copper and brown feathers, and one narrow eye socket is visible along one side of the skull. The raptor-like legs protrude out from the bottom of the wrappings and bear curled talons that were used to catch and hold unsuspecting prey. Though distinctly avian in form, falcon mummies from the Egyptian Late Period were once identified as children due to their size until they were unwrapped. Size (falcon): 16" L x 3" W (40.6 cm x 7.6 cm); (display case): 7.2" L x 18.2" W x 7.375" H (18.3 cm x 46.2 cm x 18.7 cm)

While known primarily for mummifying humans, the ancient Egyptians also mummified their animals on a regular basis as well. Mummified falcons like this example are suggestive of being someone's pet or perhaps an expensive offering to the falcon-headed gods Horus and Ra. In addition to house pets buried alongside their owners, a large market existed for mummified animals - from birds to cats and bulls to crocodiles - intended as sacred offerings to the many gods and goddesses of the Egyptian pantheon. The market for sacrificial animals for mummification was in fact so large that it necessitated an entire industry which researchers believe produced more than 70 million animal mummies between 800 BCE and 400 CE.

Another example of a mummified falcon from the Late Dynastic to Ptolemaic period (ca. 664 to 30 BCE) hammered for EUR 7,500 ($8,467.12) at Christie's, Amsterdam "Twenty rooms: The private collection of the late Mrs. Elias-Vaes" auction (sale 2857, April 27-29, 2010, lot 36).

Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA, acquired around 2008; ex-private Montrose, California, USA collection

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Both legs repaired along lower portion, with small chips and light adhesive residue along break lines. One leg reinserted into linens after being separated from upper leg and hip. Desiccation and staining to linens commensurate with age, with fraying and losses to some areas of linens, brittleness to bones and exposed feathers, and darkening to some feathers. Avian form still recognizable with telltale legs and triangular beak.
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Egyptian Late Period Mummified Falcon

Estimate $4,000 - $6,000Jul 01, 2020
Starting Price $2,000
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Artemis Gallery

Louisville, CO, USA