A head statue of the world’s most famous pharaoh, Tutankhamun, is to dazzle antiquarians next month when it goes under the hammer in London’s Christie’s auction house on July 4.
The unique, 3,000-year-old stone statue is expected to be sold for £4m with only one problem of not detecting its provenance.
The slightly chopped statue which shows the young king as god Amun is part of a long chain of antiquities that are auctioned at Christie’s for an audience fond of ancient Egyptian civilisation.
The head statue depicts the young famed king with his famous calm look, sharply lined eyes, and perfectly shaped lips.
Despite the fact that the origin of the statue was not announced by the famous auction house, experts explained that it was once showcased at the Karnak Temple where the tomb of Tutankhamun and most of his belongings and featuring statues were unearthed, according to the Financial Times.
The auction house has contacted Egyptian authorities and sent all the details of the statue; however, no official statement has come from the ministry of antiquities yet.
The head is not considered a new, unrecognised relic among antiquities’ collectors. It is reported to be a well-known relic that has been exhibited in Spain and Germany for students to study ancient Egyptian art.
Christie’s did not announce the place and time the statue was found. The auction house stated, according to the Financial Times, that it goes back to 1960’s “when Christie’s said it formed part of the collection of Prince Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis, a German collector. It subsequently passed through the hands of dealers until bought by the current owners in 1985.”
This was all before 1983 when Egypt regulated its Antiquities Law by banning trade and taking relics outside the country.
Laetitia Delaloye, head of the antiquities department at Christie’s, told the Financial Times that the beauty of the statue dates back to the Amarna period, which followed Tutankhamun’s ruling decade.
“The beauty of the lines and the way they’re carved are a testament to the Amarna style,” she said, according to Financial Times.
Delaloye added on to explain that, “artists retained the new style even after Tutankhamun restored older religious traditions.”
Aside from the statue, there are several other relics from different eras, such as the Ptolemaic era, on sale with the starting price of $101,000.
Among the items that are to be sold a day before Tutankhamun’s statue is a late period Egyptian polychrome wood coffin for Khamhor that dates back to the 26th dynasty, a statue of a Ptolemaic era bronze cat, a middle kingdom Egyptian gesso-painted wood funerary model of a boat, and a late period fragmentary Egyptian green faience lion.
The auction will take place exactly one year following another bid in which Christie’s sold dozens of Egyptian antiquities in 2018.
One of the sold statues was a bronze statue of Ihy, which dates to the late period among the 26th and 30th dynasties.
Ihy, whose name means the “sistrum player,” is the son of Horus and the goddess Hathor. He is always featured playing the sistrum, a musical instrument played by ancient Egyptians.
In 2016, Christie’s also sold a limestone relief that dates to the new kingdom, and a rare Egyptian red quartzite head of King Akhenaten, as a part of the Resandro Collection, which contained dozens of rare relics.