Rupert Wace Ancient Art



  - 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 faience ushabti of Hekaemsaf

Egyptian faience ushabti of Hekaemsaf

Late Dynastic Period. 26th Dynasty, reign of Amasis, 570-526 BC

Private Collection UK and thence by descent; Private collection, London, acquired 2003

For other examples of Hekaemsaf ushabtis see Phillipp von Zabern, 'Égypte Moments d'éternité'. Catalogue to the exhibition of Egyptian art in Swiss private collections at the Musée Rath, Geneva, 25 September 1997-11 January 1998. Fig. 161B, p 246. Also Jacques-F Aubert & Liliane Aubert, 'Statuettes égyptienne, Chaouabtis, Ouchebtis', Librairie d'amerique et d'orient, Paris, 1974.

Faience ushabti with a blue-green glaze, for Hekaemsaf, Admiral of the Fleet, the head and face precisely rendered, the ears and mouth and cosmetic lines finely detailed, wearing striated tripartite wig, braided beard and carrying the flail and hoe, seed bag incised, the dorsal column projects slightly from the back below the bottom of the wig, inscribed with an abridged version of the sixth chapter of the Book of the Dead, the subtle modelling around the knees gives a strong sense of a body beneath the wrappings.

The tomb of Hekaemsaf was discovered in 1903 at Saqqara, and 401 ushabtis were recovered in a wooden chest. Most are now in museums.

Height: 17.9 cm

  - Egyptian predynastic black-topped jar

Egyptian predynastic black-topped jar

Naqada II, 3700-3250 BC

Private collection London, and thence by descent

See Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie, 'Prehistoric Egypt, Corpus of Prehistoric Pottery and Palettes' (reprinted Warminster, 1974) plate IV, 27c. for the type.

Of flaring cylindrical form, small flat base and slightly everted rim.

Black-topped pottery vessels, made of fired Nile silt, have a polished red coloured lower surface, sometimes enhanced by a red slip. Below the rim is a blackened area probably caused by the vessel being fired with its mouth pushed into the ashes with the body exposed to the air, although it is also suggested that it was placed in some type of organic matter immediately after firing. This carbonization was employed solely to obtain a desired colour effect, and was obviously deliberate for the even firing of pottery in a kiln had been practiced for centuries. The blackened area is also polished, giving it an almost metallic sheen.

Condition: Recomposed from original fragments.

Height: 15.4 cm

  - Egyptian serpentine bust of an official

Egyptian serpentine bust of an official

Middle Kingdom. Late 13th Dynasty, c. 1750 BC

Sold Christie's, London 11 April 1972, lot 170 (miscatalogued as Old Kingdom); Private collection (A.O.)Switzerland


The male figure is shown wearing a short bag wig with low crown, decorated with incised chequerboard-like patterning. His round face has long eyes with pronounced raised rims, a slight smile playing over his lips. A wide neck leads to broad shoulders the top of a garment visible. The torso broken at the waist.

The overall style of this figure, particularly the wig type, suggests a late 13th Dynasty date.

Height: 6.8 cm

  - Egyptian necklace of lapis lazuli heart amulets

Egyptian necklace of lapis lazuli heart amulets

Late Dynastic Period. 26th-30th Dynasty, 664-343 BC

Private collection Belgium, acquired 1970s


Height: 2 cm each heart
Length as strung: 43 cm

Comprising 5 small heart-shaped 'ib' amulets carved from lapis lazuli, each in the form of an ovoid vessel with flat-topped rim surmounted by a ribbed suspension loop and with two lug-like projections. Strung with fine blue glass hoop spacer beads interspersed with groups of three similar yellow beads.

For the ancient Egyptians the heart was the most important of the body’s organs, they saw it as the seat of intelligence, the originator of all feelings and actions and the storehouse of memory.

Restrung and with modern clasp.

  - Romano-Egyptian alabaster alabastron

Romano-Egyptian alabaster alabastron

1st century BC- 1st century AD

Private collection UK


A slightly flared neck and wide convex lip surmount the tapering, round bottom body. Two wheel-cut grooves decorate the shoulder and neck, and Greek graffiti is scored on the shoulder.

Height: 20.5 cm

  - Egyptian gold and carnelian swivel ring

Egyptian gold and carnelian swivel ring

New Kingdom. 18th Dynasty, 1540-1295 BC

Scholz Collection, Hamburg, Germany, acquired in the 1930s, then acquired by a Brighton collector on the London Art Market, 1980s, and thence by descent

A New Kingdom swivel ring in Leiden demonstrates the same construction; cf. M. Bulsink, 'Egyptian Gold Jewellery', Turnhout, 2015, p. 157, no. 91. And for a comparable carnelian wedjat eye amulet, see Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, acc. no. 28.1373.

Consisting of a U-shaped shank and an amulet in the form of an udjat eye. The shank is made of a length-wise rolled up strip of gold foil, which is rolled tighter towards the ends to form two thin wires. These are threaded through the amulet and wound round around the shoulders of the shank.

Intact. Small chip to top left corner of amulet on obverse.

Ring size M; amulet length: 1.4 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

  - Egyptian basalt cosmetic vessel

Egyptian basalt cosmetic vessel

Middle Kingdom. 12th Dynasty, 1980-1801 BC

Private collection of Albert Davis, Arizona, USA, acquired between 1970-1

For similarly shaped vessels of varying material see Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie, 'The Funeral Furniture of Egypt. Stone and Metal Vases', reprinted Warminster, 1977, Plate XII. For an example in a Swiss private collection 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) no. 47. For a discussion on such vessels see Lise Manniche, 'Sacred Luxuries - Fragrance, Aromatherapy and Cosmetics in Ancient Egypt' (New York, 1999) p. 109-110.

The polished concave sides of the narrow vessel flare from a flat base to a projecting rim.
This type of cylinder vessel would have been used to store cosmetics or precious oils.

Height: 5.5 cm

  - Egyptian faience amulet of Thoth

Egyptian faience amulet of Thoth

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

Private collection, Normandy, France acquired 1960s


The god of wisdom and writing is portrayed in his ibis-headed manifestation. He stands on a thin integral rectangular base, the body and legs appearing from the back pillar which is pierced through for suspension. His left leg advances, his clenched hands held close to his hips, wearing a short pleated kilt and wig, the lappets falling over his shoulder.

Height: 5.5 cm