- Egyptian red jasper and carnelian seed head necklace

Egyptian red jasper and carnelian seed head necklace

New Kingdom. 18th Dynasty,1540-1295 BC

Private collection Belgium, acquired 1970s

A similar necklace can be seen in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the gift of Mrs Goddard Dubois (acquisition number 46.1459). An example made of yellow faience was included in the centenary exhibition, 'In the Light of Amarna. 100 Years of the Nefertiti Discovery' Berlin, 2013, cat. no. 35. Drawings made by Burchardt at the time of its discovery show that such necklaces were indeed originally strung in this way. For a discussion of the symbolism and amuletic properties see Carol Andrews, 'Amulets of Ancient Egypt', British Museum, 1994, pl.65n.

Necklace formed of forty nine seed head beads of carnelian and red jasper alternating with small red glass spacer beads. The latter ancient but possibly of a later date. Restrung and with modern clasp.

This form of bead has been variously interpreted as seed heads of the poppy (associated with the opium used in the ancient world as a painkiller or to aid sleep and, therefore, promoting good health); the lotus (a potent symbol of rebirth) or the pomegranate (with fertility implications).

Length: 43 cm

  - Pair of Egyptian eye inlays

Pair of Egyptian eye inlays

Late Dynastic Period. 25th-31st Dynasty, 715-332 BC

Collection of Christopher Terry, Cumbria, acquired 1970s - 80s

For a similar example, complete with inlays, see a pair of eyes in the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta, as illustrated in P. Lacovara and B Teasley Trope (eds.), 'The Realm of Osiris: Mummies, Coffins, and Ancient Egyptian Funerary Art in the Michael C. Carlos Museum', Atlanta, 2001, p. 33.

The elegant narrow eyes, with extended cosmetic lines set with their bronze pupils intact, the whites would most likely have been represented with inlaid stone. The eyes would originally have been inlaid into a sarcophagus mask or life sized statue to give a more lifelike appearance.

Length of each: 10.6 cm

  - Egyptian gilt-bronze aegis with head of Isis

Egyptian gilt-bronze aegis with head of Isis

Late Dynastic Period. 26th Dynasty, 662-525 BC

Collection of Mrs Elias-Vaes (1908-2002), The Netherlands, acquired in the 1960s or early 1970s; With Rupert Wace Ancient Art; Private Collection, London, acquired 2012

Published: Rupert Wace Ancient Art, 2012, no. 14.

A parallel, though lacking the horns and sun disc, is illustrated in Werner Kaiser, 'Ägyptisches Museum, Berlin' (Berlin, 1967) no. 821-2. For a related example see Madeleine Page-Gasser and Andre Weise, with Thomas Schneider and Sylvia Winterhalter, 'Égypte, Moments d'éternité. Art égyptien dans les collections privées, Suisse' (Mainz, 1998) pp. 256-259, no. 171B.

The head of the goddess is shown above a broad decorated collar with winged scarab pectoral. She wears a striated tripartite wig, headdress with diadem of uraei and frontal uraeus crowned with the sun disc and cow's horns, the whole surmounted by a separately cast sun-disc and cow's horns (one horn tip broken). Traces of gilding survive on the face and the eyes are inlaid with stone.

Height: 19.5 cm

  - Egyptian limestone hand

Egyptian limestone hand

Ptolemaic Period. 332-30 BC

Private collection, France, acquired 1980s

A model of a fist in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (acc. no. 66.99.74) is intended to be complete but depicts its subject in a partial or unfinished way. Another example of a hand lain flat in the same position is on display in the Cairo Museum.

For the positioning of the hand if taken from a naophrous stature see Lawrence M. Berman, with Kenneth J. Bohac, Patricia S. Griffin and Bruce Christman, 'The Cleveland Museum of Art; Catalogue of Egyptian Art' (Cleveland, 1999) pp. 422-423, no.316.

The right hand, with long slender fingers, modelled to just above the wrist, lying flat on an integral brick shaped base, the block built up on the right hand side abutting the hand.

It has been suggested that this may be a fragment from a naophorous statue (a figure, standing or kneeling, holding a naos or shrine in their lap) or a complete work, a sculptor's model. Scholarship is still divided on the exact use or meaning of complete carvings of body parts which may be an 'ex voto' or sculptor's 'trial piece'. The proliferation of the type coinciding with a time of great temple building, however, suggests a votive purpose as such building programmes will have encouraged donations.

Length: 18.3 cm Height: 9.4 cm Depth: 8cm

  - Egyptian stucco profile head of a young man

Egyptian stucco profile head of a young man

Ptolemaic Period. 4th-2nd century BC

Collection of Michel E. Abemayor, New York; Sold Sotheby's, New York, December 11th, 1976, lot 295; Private collection, USA acquired at the 1976 auction

Published: Sotheby's, New York, December 11th, 1976, lot 295 (illus.) and 'Cleopatra's Egypt. Age of the Ptolemies', Brooklyn, 1988, p.129, cat. 34.

Possibly a portrait study of Ptolemy II (Philadelphus), the left profile is depicted with elongated almond shaped eyes below arched eyebrows, the mouth curves upwards in a gentle smile. A line extending across the forehead and down the temple representing a headdress or wig.

The purpose of these types of sculptures has long been argued, with suggestions of them being either sculptors' models or votive plaques, or even both. This piece has clearly been intentionally crafted as a fragment and current thinking suggests it to be either an ex-voto to the cult of a king or a commemorative monument in a private shrine devoted to a ruler.

Dimensions: 25.4 cm x 18.4 cm x 6 cm

  - Egyptian faience ushabti for Pakhaas born of Tachedidi

Egyptian faience ushabti for Pakhaas born of Tachedidi

Late Dynastic Period. 30th Dynasty, 380-343 BC

Private Collection of Charles Bouché (1928-2010), France

For details of these shabtis see Jacques F Aubert & Liliane Aubert, in 'Statuettes Égyptiennes, Chaouabtis, Ouchebtis', Paris, 1974, p.253. Examples can be found in many museums including Bonn, Cairo and The Vatican.

Portrayed typically mummiform, standing on a small integral trapezoidal base, wearing a striated tripartite wig and braided false beard. His arms crossed right over left with the hands protruding from a close-fitting shroud, the left holding a pick and the right holding a hoe and the cord to a seed bag, incised imitating woven straw or rush, suspended over the left shoulder, the implements depicted in raised relief. Nine rows of hieroglyphs giving the name, General Pakhaas, born of Tachedidi and including lines from Chapter six of the Book of the Dead, are incised below the arms. The dorsal column plain.

Height: 21 cm

  - Egyptian bronze bolti fish

Egyptian bronze bolti fish

Late Dynastic Period. 26th-31st Dynasty, 664-332 BC

The Kevorkian Foundation, USA prior to 1970; Collection of Molly and Leon Lyon, USA acquired 1970s and thence by descent

A similar example from Berlin is illustrated in G. Roeder, 'Mitteilungen aus der Ägyptischen Sammlung. Band VI. Ägyptische Bronzefiguren' (Berlin, 1956), pl.58, no. 8306. A mounted pair showing possible base type is reproduced in plate 61. Another very similar example is included in Hermann Schloegl, 'Geschenk des Nils, Ägyptische Kunstwerk aus Schweizer Besitz', Basel, 1978, no. 335 and lso Sue D'Auria, Peter Lacovara and Catherine Roehrig, 'Mummies & Magic - The Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt', Boston, 1988, no.208.

The fish modelled in the round, details of scales, fins, eyes, nose and mouth incised. A tang for attachment below the belly.

The Bolti fish, or tilapia nilotica, was an important food source for the Egyptians and cosmetic vessels and lamps in the form of this freshwater fish can be found from many different periods. This statuette, however, was intended as a votive and would probably have been mounted on a bronze base possibly in the form of a sarcophagus.

Condition: Extreme tips of tail and dorsal fin broken.

Length: 9.3 cm

  - Egyptian woven basket containing three desiccated fruits of the Dom palm

Egyptian woven basket containing three desiccated fruits of the Dom palm

New Kingdom. 18th-20th Dynasty, 1540-1069 BC

Gatineau collection, France, acquired prior 1903; with Charles Ede, London, 2004; with Rupert Wace Ancient Art, London, 2008; Property of a Private Foundation

Another basket of fruits found in a tomb-chapel in the Theban Necropolis commemorating Nebamun (c. 1350 BC), a middle-ranking official scribe and grain counter is now in the collection of the British Museum (acc. no. EA5395). See also S. Schoske, B. Kreissl, R. Germer, 'Anch, Blumen für das Leben: Pflanzen im alten Ägypten', Munich, 1992, p. 235, no. 167. On the use of dom-palm fruit in pharaonic Egypt, see M. A. Murray, 'Fruits, Vegetables, Pulses and Condiments' in P. T. Nicholson and I. Shaw, 'Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology', Cambridge, 2000, pp. 620-621.

The elliptical basket is constructed of coiled palm fibres woven together with a decorative striped pattern, and contains three desiccated dom palm fruits.

Baskets filled with the preserved fruit of the dom palm have been recovered from a number of different sites in Egypt, including eight discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamun.

The Egyptians often used the fruit to spice their cakes, giving them a gingerbread flavour.

Length: 29.2 cm; width: 17.5 cm