Ancient Egypt, Late Dynastic period, ca. 664 to 332 BCE. A special pair of finely carved and painted wooden legs, perhaps from a throne, an auxiliary royal seat, or a stool intended for a statue of a divinity. According to Nora Scott, former Associate Curator of Egyptian Art of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, lions were depicted, because it was thought that the sitter shared and/or derived qualities from the courageous King of Beasts. These legs still possess remarkable detailing of the wild felines' eyes, nose, muzzle, and coats, finely carved and painted on gesso-covered fabric. The curvilinear pattern embellishing the leonine bodies and the expressive visages of the wild felines delineated in red, yellow, and grey pigments, imbue the legs with a lively, almost animated quality. Size: 17" W x 20.875" H (43.2 cm x 53 cm) - both legs as arranged on stand; 25.125" H (63.8 cm) on included custom stand.
Perhaps the most famous ancient Egyptian chair was King Tut's Throne - among the most luxurious treasures discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. It is oftentimes referred to as Tut's Golden Throne; however, this may be a misnomer as scholars believe that the seat was actually an auxiliary royal chair rather than the boy king's throne. Interestingly, the so-called King Tut Throne was not made of solid gold as some have surmised, but rather was comprised of wood overlaid with sheets of precious gold and silver and further decorated with glaze, colored glass, and semi-precious stones. Given this, just imagine how these wooden legs were once adorned!
For more discussion of Egyptian furniture read an article by former Associate Curator of Egyptian Art Nora Scott entitled "Our Egyptian Furniture" (Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Volume XXIV, Number 4, December 1965). A miniature bronze model throne for a deity with legs depicting lions in the front and lion legs in the rear in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (accession number 64.308) is illustrated in this article as well (p. 148, figure 49).
Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA
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Expected surface wear with loss to pigmented gesso on linen decoration, age cracks, and losses to peripheries, dowels and slats (though there are still some remains of these), and high-pointed areas as shown. Overall the forms are very nice and still retain wonderful details.