The blue gold of the Pharaohs
ho won the battle of Qadesh: Seti I or Muwatali II? It all depends on which side you're on, the Egyptian or Hittite. On the other hand, the victory of this shawabti is incontestable. Having been solidly estimated at €200,000, it harvested a mammoth €917,000. “Broken but not defeated” could be its motto, since nearly 3,300 years after its fabrication, it continues to faithfully serve the memory of the Pharaoh for whom it was made. Seti I was the second sovereign of the 19th dynasty and the father of the famous Ramses II. An accomplished soldier and great builder, he built himself a tomb from scratch in the Valley of the Kings, which is where our shawabti comes from. It belonged to Sommerset Lowry Corry, 2nd count of Belmorre, financier of Giovanni Battista Belzoni, who discovered Seti I's tomb in 1817, with its walls covered with fabulous paint décor. It is extremely rare to find shawabtis made of siliceous blue ceramic like that of this
€917,000 Egypt, New Empire, 19th dynasty, tomb of Seti I, Valley of the Kings, no. VR 17. Ushabti inscribed on seven lines (two missing) with the two cartouches “Nebmaatre” and “Osiris, son of Re, Seti beloved of Ptah”, in blue faience with black highlights, h. 22.9 cm.
Where ? When ? Who ? Paris-Drouot 24 October Thierry de Maigret auction house. M. Lebeurrier. How much ? €2,078,000
Pharaoh. Only six other examples are known to exist, all of them conserved in museums. A foreign buyer acquired this one. It was the climax of the sale of the collection of Charles Bouche (1828-2010), a dealer who specialised in military memorabilia from the Empire period, from Napoleon to the conquest of Egypt, by collecting archaeology. Sylvain Alliod
GAZETTE DROUOT INTERNATIONAL I N° 19