Lot 10
  • 10

An Egyptian Basalt Clepsydra (Water-Clock) Fragment, 30th Dynasty, probably reign of Nectanebo I, 380-362 B.C.

8,000 - 12,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • An Egyptian Basalt Clepsydra (Water-Clock) Fragment
  • Basalt
  • Height 5 7/16 in. 13.8 cm.; depth 1 7/16 in. 3.6 cm.
of convex form finely carved in sunk relief against the polished ground with the confronted figures of a king and a god, one figure holding a scepter and wearing a pleated wrap-around kilt with scalloped edge, the ceremonial bull’s tail falling behind, a line of inscription in sunk relief below, a column of carefully engraved inscription between the two figures translating, "To consecrate the bread for his father who ensures that he is endowed with life," four drilled water level markers on the inside.


probably from Athribis/Mostai in the Nile Delta
the American painter Joseph Lindon Smith (1863-1950), New York and Dublin, New Hampshire
by descent to the Hale Family, Dublin, New Hampshire

Catalogue Note

A fragment which appears to be from the same clepsydra is in the Petrie Museum, University College London, inv. no. UC44587 (http://petriecat.museums.ucl.ac.uk). The lines of inscription on this unpublished fragment refer to "Thoth son of the two Lords, he who emerges from the forehead," the local deity of the town of Athribis/Mostai on the Nile delta, possibly the place where the clepsydra was in use and later found.

Other examples close in style and period are in the Hermitage Museum and the Museo Barracco (A. Roullet, The Egyptian and Egyptianizing Monuments of Imperial Rome, Leiden, 1972, figs. 337-343). Also compare Cleopatra’s Egypt, Age of the Ptolemies, The Brooklyn Museum, 1988, no. 115 (Sotheby’s, New York, December 12th-13th, 1991, no. 44).

For Joseph Lindon Smith see the note to lot 65 in this catalogue.