Tuesday 7 July 2020

"The Ezeldeen Taha Eldarir Collection": Item Resold by a Map Dealer (July 2020)

Material from the Eldarin grandfather collection is even turning up on eBay. Seller tassbunch2 (201 ) Robert Tassone ('Maps of Points Renowned' - specialists in antiquarian maps from the 15th through the 20th centuries), Jefferson City, Tennessee, United States has this Ancient Egyptian Polychrome Wall Painting New Kingdom, 19th-20th Dynasty (“Over 3,000 years old -1295-1069 B.C. Amazing Subject Matter !”), Price:US $15,000.00 Buy It Now Shipping:$186.15 USPS Priority Mail International
Ancient Egyptian Polychrome Wall Painting, New Kingdom, 19th-20th dynasty, ca. 1295-1069 B.C. Size: 18 1/4 inches x 15 1/4 inches. (46.35 x 38.73) + mount. Large stele section of a painted wall fragment. Depicting Standing female figure wearing an ankle length garment with broad collar, stands in front of an altar, her right hand raised. The front panel of the altar is painted with a rearing snake. Above are four crown symbols. Restored from two pieces. Custom metal mount. Provenance:Private NYC collection, brought to USA prior to 1948, to present owner by sale.
Now, this is quite interesting for this is lot 485 from the Arte Primitivo ( Howard S. Rose Gallery, Inc.) Fine Pre-Columbian, Tribal Art and Classical Antiquities sale September 18th, 2019 (where it had an estimate of $25,000-$35,000). What however is even more interesting is the next part of the description:

A copy of the pictured letter of authentication is included and is here translated:
It is on the twenty fourth day of April, the year nineteen hundred and twenty nine, 1929 AD.
We the honorable/ Salahaddin Sirmali....Bey  Sold to The honorable/ Ezeldeen Taha Eldarir...Bey A group of ancient Egyptian antiquities. Authenticated and appraised by the ancient Egyptian expert and the head of the Egyptian antiquities house: Mr, Hossen Rashed. For the amount of three thousand Egyptian pound only. Their description as follow: 
- Ptolemaic limestone head for a king wearing the striated royal nemesis fronted by the cobra. It measures 23 cm high.
- Egyptian limestone head for a man with remaining of painting, the back of head are missing. Roman period measuring 14 cm long.
- The upper part of wooden sarcophagus lid of a lady wearing the long winged Egyptian wig, with extended winged Scarbe painted on her chest. The decorated hand are crossed on her chest. Third intermediate period measuring 80 cm long.
- A Greek white marble head of a Ptolemaic king measuring 11 cm long.
- Twenty pieces of tangra art figure, from ptolemaic period. Few are painted and the rest aren’t, different size and shape.
- five wood panels from sarcophagus with a sunk relief of hieroglyphics inscription, different size and shape.
- Four limestone sunk relief, the first one has a cartouche of Ptolemy V, measuring 24 cm wide. The second with hieroglyphics inscription measuring 31 cm wide. The third one has hieroglyphics inscription measuring 22 cm wide. The fourth sunk relief has an image of the falcon hours extending his wings with a cartouche of Ptolemy V behind it.
- Two polychrome painted wall relief over guess. The first with a figure of standing falcon hours measuring 31 cm long. The second with an image of a standing women raising both hand, behind him is a shrine with a figure of a cobra. inside on top of the shrine are four fathers, two on each side measuring 46 cm high and 39 cm wide.
- Twenty papyrus scroll of different size with hieroglyphics inscription.
The seller/Salahaddin Sirmali....Bey
The buyer/Ezeldeen Taha Eldarir...Bey
The Expert and appraisal Mr/ Hossen Rashed.
First of all 'the pictured letter of authentication' probably means that the buyer obtained a coloured copy (xerox, photo?) of the original manuscript. This is confirmed by looking at the photo published in teh auction (one of very few eBay auctions in which such documentation is shown). This of course means that the buyer cannot verify the autjhenticity of the document, for example by examining the paper (watermarks etc).

Now, the names mentioned are of course the names associated with other sales of material from the Eldarir grandfather collection:
1) The seller: Salahaddin Sirmali. He is mentioned on the internet - apparently only - in relationship to the sales of items to a single buyer - the owner of the Eldarir collection. Is he known elsewhere?

2) The grandfather: Ezeldeen Taha Eldarir is also mentioned on the internet only in relationship to the sales of items from a single seller. Is he known elsewhere?  Presumably he left Egypt with the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the beginning of the Arab-Israeli War.

3)The authenticator: Hossen Rashed again is a name that appears in an internet search related to antiquities only in the context of the items from the Eldarir collection. Is he known from anywhere else?

If we take a look at the letter, we see that in the top right corner it has a 15 millemes postal stamp stuck on. The stamp is of a series current in 1929, but why is it there? Such a stamp might mean that a court or notary fee had been paid, but the document is in no way endorsed by a court or notary, the stamp is not cancelled - and it is a normal postage stamp rather than any official label. Perhaps somebody who knows about contractual processes in 1920s Egypt might enlighten us what this means.

Does the letter suggest that Salahaddin Sirmali worked in the same ' Egyptian antiquities house' as Hossen Rashed? Where was this? What actually was the purpose of this document in 1929? It is far more detailed than any receipt need be.

1 comment:

lalbertson said...

Simple Egypt 1927 King Faud I SG 160a postage stamp. Not a fiscal or revenue stamp. Like you, we only found Salahaddin Sirmali/Salah al-Din Sarmali/ and Hossen Rashed on these circulating artifacts.

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