Egyptian Wood Statuette of a Dignitary

Egyptian · Late Old Kingdom to First Intermediate Period, ca. 2500-2055 B.C

Material

Fabric

Gesso

Pigment

Wood

Dimensions

W: 2.8 cm (1.1 in)

H: 20.8 cm (8.1 in)

Reference

28912

Price

$90,000

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Overview

The statuette represents a man with elongated slender limbs and a truncated torso; he is striding forward with his left leg advanced. His arms are placed at his sides, each hand fisted around a bolt of cloth. He is wearing a kilt of white stucco over linen with a long central tab and a short, black echeloned wig cut straight above his forehead and arching brows; the facial features are characteristic with his narrow almond-shaped eyes painted in white and black, and a long nose. In the art of this period, such conventional attitudes most often represented a high dignitary or a priest. There is a painted hieratic inscription on a rectangular base, reading: “The venerated…uhep(?)”. The technique of carving the wooden sculptures, which appeared very early in Egyptian art, allow to manufacture individual elements separately and then to assemble them with the help of tenons. The Egyptian sculptors favored fig, jujube, acacia wood, and more rarely cedar and ebony.

Condition

Arms, left foot, back of the upper left leg carved separately ; cracks over proper left side of torso, shoulder and ack; minor loss of wood at left shoulder; some loss of gesso on base and kilt; cracks over kilt.

Provenance

Ex- Gallery Le Veel, Paris, 1960;
Swiss art market;
Christie’s, New York, 8 June 2001, lot 80;
Paris art market, 2013.

Published

Christie’s, New York, 8 June 2001, lot 80

Exhibited

The Salon Art + Design, Park Avenue Armory, New York, November 2021, no. 57

Bibliography

HAYES W.C., The Scepter of Egypt; A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. I, From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom, New York, 1953, pp. 110-112, figs. 64-65.
RUSSMANN E., A Second Style in Egyptian Art of the Old Kingdom in Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo 51, 1995, pp. 269-279.
SMITH W. S., A History of Egyptian Sculpture and Painting in the Old Kingdom, New York, 1978.
VANDIER J., Manuel d’archéologie égyptienne, Tome III, Les grandes époques, La statuaire, Paris, 1958.
ZIEGLER C., Les statues égyptiennes de l’Ancien Empire (Musée du Louvre, Département des Antiquités Egyptienne), Paris, 1997.
ZIEGLER C., Nonroyal Statuary in Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids, New York, 1999, pp. 57-71; 460-466, nos. 188-191.