Lot 8
  • 8

An Egyptian Copper Alloy Figure of a Priest, 26th Dynasty, 664-525 B.C.

80,000 - 120,000 USD
164,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • An Egyptian Copper Alloy Figure of a Priest
kneeling with his hands held up before him, the palms of his long slender hands facing in, and wearing a finely pleated kit with central tab, wide belt, and garment covering his lower torso, the face with eyebrows in relief.


German art market, as of 1982
The Merrin Gallery, Inc., New York, circa 1990


Philipp von Zabern, Archäologischer Kalender, Mainz, April 1982, illus.
Hans-Wolfgang Müller, "Eine ungewöhnliche Metallfigur eines blinden ägyptischen Priesters," in Sitzungsberichte. Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philo.-hist. Klasse, 1989, Heft 5, pp. 5-33, figs. 1, 2, 4-11
Jaromir Malek, Diana Magee, and Elizabeth Miles, Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Statues Reliefs and Paintings, vol. VIII, Oxford, 1999, no. 801-753-750
Jacques F. Aubert and Liliane Aubert, Bronzes et or égyptiens, Paris, 2001, p. 344

Catalogue Note

This figure of a kneeling priest looking at the palms of his hands is highly unusual, since figures in an attitude of prayer normally hold their hands facing out. According to Hans Wolfgang Müller (op. cit., pp. 14-19) the present sculpture might represent a blind priest asking the god Thoth for deliverance from blindness, and could be using his fingers to recite a ten-part magical spell dating back to the Old Kingdom. This spell refers to the mythical conflict between the rival gods Horus and Seth, and culminates with the thumb of the left hand in the request "Give me the Eye," as Thoth gave back to Horus the eye which Seth had wrested from him. Müller believes that the present figure could have originally faced the figure of an ibis, sacred to the god Thoth (for related examples see Müller, op. cit., figs. 15 and 17a).