Egypt, city of Sebennytos, Late Period, 30th Dynasty to early Ptolemaic Period, Sebennytic-Ptolemaic type, ca. 4th to early 3rd century BCE. A stunning mold-cast facial profile inlay formed from opaque glass of a sumptuous cobalt-blue hue. The left-facing profile features shallow impressions that form the almond-shaped eye, sloping brow, and stylized ear details. Full lips and a plump chin are set slightly lower than the smooth cheek, and the short neck terminates in a smooth semicircle. The visage has a rounded base that would have fit into a larger composite figural inlay as it perhaps represents a pharaoh based on how the petite recess between the eyebrow and ear was meant to receive a separate glass headdress. A delicate and rare example of exceptional glass artistry! Size: 0.8" W x 1.1" H (2 cm x 2.8 cm); 1.3" H (3.3 cm) on included custom stand.
The Thirtieth Dynasty is characterized by a myriad of scholars as being one of the last great periods of ancient Egyptian dynastic rule. The seat of the pharaoh in the Thirtieth Dynasty was situated in the Lower Egyptian city of Sebennytos located on the Damietta (Sebennytic) branch of the Nile Delta. According to authors E. Marianne Stern and Birgit Schlick-Nolte, "Egyptian art reached its last peak under the Thirtieth Dynasty. Well aware of the power of images, Ptolemy adopted Egyptian art forms and Egyptian ceremony to justify his rule in the eyes of the Egyptian people. The traditional Egyptian art forms continued from the Thirtieth Dynasty into the third century B.C., providing the name Sebennytic-Ptolemaic for the art of this period. Subsequently, the influence of Greek style elements significantly increased. Several stylistic features of [profile inlays] are characteristic of the Sebennytic-Ptolemaic style: the receding eyebrow, prominent mouth with pursed lips, golf-ball chin, and long neck with a curving edge." (Stern, E. Marianne and Birgit Schlick-Nolte. "Early Glass of the Ancient World: 1600 B.C. - A.D. 50 | Ernesto Wolf Collection." Verlag Gerd Hatje, Germany, 1994, p. 340)
For a nearly identical example facing to the right, please see: Stern, E. Marianne and Birgit Schlick-Nolte. "Early Glass of the Ancient World: 1600 B.C. - A.D. 50 | Ernesto Wolf Collection." Verlag Gerd Hatje, Germany, 1994, p. 342, no. 106.
For a stylistically similar example exhibiting a green hue, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 66.99.186.
A stylistically similar example, of a slightly larger size and shaped from turquoise-hued glass, hammered for $22,705 at Christie's, New York "Antiquities" auction (sale 1384, June 8, 2004, lot 112).
Provenance: ex-Dr. Sid Port collection, California, USA, acquired in the 1980s
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Neck reattached to bottom of head, with small chips and light adhesive residue along break line. Light abrasions to face and neck, with light brown weathering material within some recessed areas, and minor softening to some finer details. Light earthen deposits and fine remaining detailing throughout.