A Large Egyptian Wood Upper Sarcophagus Bust, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664 - 525 BCE


Representing a characteristic form of the late seventh and early sixth century B.C, this quintessential Egyptian upper sarcophagus bust was designed to replicate the ideal body, and thus raise a mere mortal to the status of an everlasting, divine being. Here, the head and upper torso are depicted, portraying a softly modeled face with wide, almond-shaped eyes with slightly arched tapering brows, both highlighted in black pigment, a long straight nose and a mouth, the full lips outlined in red, that smiles gently.  The face is framed with a striated, tripartite wig, and the deceased is further depicted wearing an amuletic broad collar and a long false beard to identify him with the god Osiris.  Beautifully carved from several pieces of wood, the lid is joined together using a series of dowels. Symbolic of all that is eternal and imperishable, this timeless, simple elegance holds strong appeal to our modern aesthetics.

Reference: Ikram, S. & Dodson, A. "The Mummy in Ancient Egypt, Equipping the Dead for Eternity" Thames & Hudson (1998).

Dimensions: Height: 22 1/4 inch (56.51 cm), Width: 22 3/4 inch (57.78 cm)

Condition:  Surface wear with age cracks and pigment losses as shown. Stable losses to wood, loss to tip of nose, with expected signs of wear and scattered losses.   Overall the piece is in very good aged condition and offered with glass mount shown.  An example with great presence.

Provenance:  The Ashraf Eldarir Private Collection of Ancient Art, New York, USA, acquired by the present owner's grandfather, Mr. Souaya in Egypt in 1948, thence by descent.   Mr. Souaya was a friend of Prince of Egypt Omar Tosson, with whom he shared a passion for archaeology. The collection was formed during the 1930s-1940s, mostly gifts from Prince Tosson, and moved to the United States in 1948 where it remained with the family until the present day. 

Related Items