Thursday, 18 September 2008

A Collector's eye

The stolen eye from a monumental statue in Amenhotep III’s funerary complex at Kom El Hetan which is being returned to Egypt now appears to have been formerly incorporated in the Norbert Schimmel Collection some of which, including this eye were sold at Sotheby's in New York on 16 December 1992, Lot. 87. The catalogue entry at that time, significantly, mentioned that this eye came from “a Colossal Quarzite Statue of King Amenhotep III”.

Monumental quartzite statues of this ruler however are not scattered in large numbers up and down the length and breadth of the Nile valley; known examples are relatively few and far between. In fact it seems that most of them come from the funerary temple at Kom El Hetan and the adjacent funerary complex of Merenptah excavated by Petrie in the 1890s, and one turning up buried in the courtyard of Amenhotep III colonnade of the Luxor temple in 1989.

Surely a collector being offered one of these things might be expected to ask where it had come from and some documentation showing how the seller had legitimately come into possession of such a find? Moreover if it had come on the market legitimately, surely this hefty fragment of regal visage would have been traceable in the literature? This is not after all a Second Cache shabti that can be slipped in a Nile cruiser’s cabin luggage. Would the fact that it is not give rise to a suspicion that there are problems with its provenience? So why would a collector not have this in mind?


Geraldo Maia said...

Witaj Paul
To jest wielka przyjemność być na Twojej miły blog.
Najlepsze życzenia od Brazylia:

Paul Barford said...

Witam na moim blogu, ale tu piszemy tylko po angielsku :>)

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