A large Egyptian wood female figure, circa 2500-2055 BC. 28 in (71 cm) high. Estimate: £250,000-350,000. This lot is offered in Antiquities on 6 December 2017 at Christie's in London
This example, notably large at 71 cm high, would have been commissioned by a woman of means. 'In ancient Egypt, women could have their own businesses and could inherit from their parents,' Delaloye explains. 'Indeed, a number of women became pharaohs.'
For the specialist, wooden artefacts are among the most fascinating survivals from ancient Egypt. 'It's all to do with the miracle that is the Egyptian desert,' she explains. 'The droughts enabled the preservation of wooden statues' like this one.
'The object has such presence. Ancient Egyptians wanted to leave a trace, and this 4,000-year-old statue is testament that they achieved that'
But what makes this piece so moving for the specialist is what it communicates about the person who commissioned it: the desire to be immortalised through art. 'The object has such presence,' says Delaloye, for whom the figure is a reminder that 'people in ancient Egypt wanted to remain eternal, to leave a trace. The fact that this 4,000-year old statue is with us now testifies to the fact that they achieved what they set out to do.'
In the 20th century, the figure belonged to the Dutch artist Johannes Anton 'John'Rädecker (1885-1956), whose expressionist style took cues from ancient sculpture. His most notable commission, a national memorial to the casualties of the Second World War, stands in Amsterdam's Dam Square.
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