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Egyptian gilded wood and bronze ibis on original base

Egyptian gilded wood and bronze ibis on original base

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

Height: 41 cm with base


Provenance: Private collection William and Lily Diehl, New York, acquired in Egypt from Mr. Maguid Sameda in 1947, and thence by descent


Both the base and the ibis have been subjected to radiocarbon and metal analyses to confirm dating, with the parts that represent the god, namely the bronze and gilded wood, being dated to the 2nd Millennium BC, whilst the wooden base dates to the 1st Millennium BC.


This fine example of an ibis bird is naturalistically depicted seated, and with knees bent beneath the body. The forelegs are decorated with incised detail, such as the scaled legs and wrinkled feet that are true to life, and which stretch out in front with long toes and talons. The wooden body, with wings simply modeled, is majestically covered in gilt-gesso. The legs, tail feathers and head were cast separately and inserted, and each individual feather of the tail plumage is delicately detailed with incision. The neck is held forward of the body in a traditionally serpentine curve, and the long beak is incised with natural details. The face is very finely-modelled. Tenons below the toes and knees allow for the insertion of the bird into the separate wooden base.


Literature: See G. Roeder, 'Mitteilungen aus der Ägyptischen Sammlung. Band VI. Ägyptische Bronzefiguren' (Berlin, 1956) Tafel 58 a, for a similar example. Also, 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. 255-256, no. 169.


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