Friday, 9 September 2011

Bonham's Sale: Sawn Off Sarcophagus

Another item in Bonham's New Bond Street Sale 18947 - Antiquities, 5 Oct 2011 caught my eye:
Lot No: 41 An Egyptian wood sarcophagus panel, Graeco-Roman Period, circa 332 B.C.-323 A.D.
[...] 28¾in (73cm) high [...]: Provenance: Dr. W. Schirmer Collection, Germany, formed between the 1950s and 1960s.
"Please note that condition is not stated in the catalogue" it says. I guess not, otherwise they have to explain how the top and bottom "happened" to get sawn off to make this into a 73cm long (suitcase size) display piece. While it looks like the gesso at the foot end had flaked off in the tomb, that of the collar looks to have been intact, so one wonders where the head and shoulders ended up. I wondered whether referring to it as a 'sarcophagus' rather than 'mummy case' might be to excuse why it was chunky and rectangular, but it seems to be house style.

Vignette: artefact procurer's equipment, a saw for reducing bulky objects to more portable size.
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