Ancient Egypt, Predynastic Period, Naqada III, ca. 3200 to 3000 BCE. An exquisite bifacial blade of an elongated ovoid form that is painstakingly knapped from creamy beige-hued flint with integral inclusions in hues of coffee brown, citrine, and pale grapefruit. The lengthy implement exhibits incredibly smooth faces - one of a planar form and the other with visible knapped patterning - along with a rounded butt end and a tapered point on the opposite end. The blade is knapped with a straight edge along the most uniform periphery as well as miniature serrations - all formed by hand - along the curved periphery. Knapped flint blades like this example are perhaps some of the oldest farming implements known to archaeologists. This type of bifacial blade was perhaps an insert for a sickle or a cutting instrument for ceremonial butchery in a temple. Size: 8" L x 2.1" W (20.3 cm x 5.3 cm)
A similar example hammered for GBP 25,000 ($34,392.62) at Christie's, London "Antiquities" auction (Live auction 10372, April 14, 2015, lot 1)
Cf. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 16.2.9
This piece has been searched against the Art Loss Register database and has been cleared. The Art Loss Register maintains the world's largest database of stolen art, collectibles, and antiques.
Provenance: private Toronto, Ontario, Canada collection, by descent, acquired in Egypt in 1894 to 1896
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Chip to curved tip, with nicks along straight and serrated edges not commensurate with age or use, otherwise intact and excellent. Fantastic surface smoothness throughout. Most serrations along curved edge are still pleasingly tactile.