Egypt, Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty XXV, ca. 747 to 656 BCE. This seated sacred ibis votive, associated with the deity Djehuty or Thoth - the god of knowledge in the Egyptian pantheon, is comprised of a bronze head with concave circular eyes that likely once held inlays and a long bill supported by a sinuous neck, a hand-carved wooden body covered in white gesso, bronze legs and tailfeathers. The legs, head, and tail feathers were each cast separately and present finely delineated details. Take note of those webbed feet and intricate markings on tail feathers. Custom, wooden stand. Size (ibis): 6.875" L x 2.625" W x 4.625" H (17.5 cm x 6.7 cm x 11.7 cm); 7.25" H (18.4 cm) on included custom stand; (wooden stand): 9.25" L x 4" W x 2.7" H (23.5 cm x 10.2 cm x 6.9 cm)
The ibis, an elegant, long-legged wading bird that lives along the shores of the Nile, was associated with the god Thoth. He was the god of wisdom and writing, and in worship to him many thousands of ibises were ritually sacrificed, embalmed, and mummified before being buried in underground galleries. Thousands of these burials have been excavated at Sakkara, near Memphis, Egypt's ancient capital. This piece was a votive piece created to be placed inside a tomb.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Attal private collection, Austin, Texas, USA via family descent from great uncle, acquired during first quarter of 20th century
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Ibis body is removable from legs. Repairs to small areas of gesso primarily underneath body, with head reinserted into neck cavity, bronze panels reattached to butt end, and both legs repaired along midsection; chipping and light adhesive residue along some break lines. Both legs are adhered to mortises atop wooden stand and cannot be removed. Chipping and darkening to some areas of gesso and exposed wood, with light encrustations across head, body, and legs. Great patina to bronze components, and nice earthen deposits throughout.