Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Neferure - Christies Auction House

Here is a limestone Stela which i have never seen before. This is a PAST auction and the costs and details involved in the sale are of little value to me. What is of value is the existence of a stela featuring Neferure, complete with a depiction of her as well as her cartouche.

Neferure, Christies

This may be a well known item, but my own limited research has drawn blanks in every direction available to me. I would therefore like to ask a few questions:

  1. Who is the goddess to the left. she is a personification of fields, etc but the description does not name her. Perhaps this may give us the information which will allow us to see where this stela would have been erected (?)
  2. Neferure is depicted as "the divine wife [of the god Amun]". Would this suggest a date during the sole reign of Hatshepsut? - where it seems (Deir el Bahri) Neferure's status was elevated from Kings Daughter to Gods Wife of Amun (please correct me if i am wrong here).
  3. Provenance:


    Otto Wegener Collection, Munich, collected in the 1950s
    Edgar Wegener, Hamburg, 1983
    Thomas Wegener, 1995 
No mention here of an excavation. Collected in the 1950's means very little if we wish to bring the stela to life. No excavation reports, no photographs of this item in-situ. I'm also not sure how i include such items in the database.



Marianne Luban said...

Hi Stuart--you find everything! The goddess is "sxt" [Sekhet]a deity of the fields, written "sxyt" on the stela. This goddess is attested in Hannig's Egyptian dictionary. It's an interesting piece and looks authentic enough

Stuart Tyler said...

Hi Marianne. I was thinking of you the moment i found this. As soon as i saw the headdress actually- with your knowledge in that area.

I realised the importance of this piece once i was assured of Christies own work in ensuring genuine antiques are sold there.

IF (big "if") this was, say from a private person- not from the Royal family and courtiers- it would be a nice touch. However, IF (bigger "if") this was produced post- Nererure- it would open up a whole new area for us to explain.

Whilst we are unlikely to have any further information than we see on the Christies site- this piece may not have been examined in the way other Neferure depictions have. If that is the case- it would be nice to hear what Peter Dorman thinks.

As far as finding everything- that's my goal. If i am honest with myself i have set an impossible task. If, however i am able to create a working database for all- my dream is to have others pick up where i leave off- so that one day we may have a complete archaelogical database, which may give us more of an insight to the life of Hatshepsut.

We all have our dreams. :)


Marianne Luban said...

You're doing a great job. At least I am seeing objects I never knew existed and I'm sure I am far from alone in this. Yes, "private collection" so often means "no idea where it was found", so the context is lost--but this is true of many museum objects, as well. Neferura, it would seem, was the center of much focus. Senenmut included her in a number of his statues as being her governor was very prestigious. An old warrior was proud to have the same honor, as he mentioned in his tomb. Neferura probably inherited her mother's title of God's Wife when Hatshepsut took on kingly titulary.
She seems to have been the heir to the throne for awhile [as I see it] but was married to Thutmose III at some point. She may or may not have been the mother of his eldest son, Amenemhat. Dorman, in his wonderful book, "The Monuments of Senenmut" expressed the opinion that nothing really indicates Neferura died young. While on Senenmut's statues Neferura looks so little and infantile, at Deir el Bahari and the fragment of stela in question, she appears grown up. I will more could be learned about her.

tim said...

Hi Stuart

That cartouche really bothers me, the queens arms and hands bother me, the sloppy uraeus' around the sun bothers me. Certainly it's provincialism is not a sign of the royal workshops.

The stone looks old though the area in front of the Neferure's face appears reworked. As you can see Stuart I have my doubts about the piece also the piece did not make it's estimate,A ROYAL STELA not making it's estimate, big red flag!!!

I would place it in the forgery pile!


Marianne Luban said...

Hi Tim,

Forgers usually copy something familiar but I think depictions of the goddess Sekhet would be quite rare. Not only that, but the variation of the name as "sxyt" would be an odd deviation for a forger--although it is quite a reasonable one for an ancient artisan who had no access to a dictionary and was just going by pronunciation of the name. Also, a number of the stele are not exactly executed with the highest degree of craftsmanship. It largely depended for whom they were made, I imagine.

tim said...

Hi Marianne

Nothing about the goddess bothers me and there is a feeling in me that what we are looking at may be a 13th dynasty stela of a commoner which has been mutilated at some point before in the 1950's to make it royal?

I have to say if anyone can find a royal stela for $14,000 buy it quickly. The market in this case seems to have shown little interest in this bargain?