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And then along came a shrew, who knew?


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Here, for your consideration is a rather unpleasant nocturnal creature, the shrew, the latest addition my antiquity menagerie, which is quite modest since it only has a Babylonian frog.  So I thought he could use some company, albeit of an unfriendly disposition.  Besides, I really don't have a certified antiquity from Egypt.  Yes, there are the scarabs, and various forms of ceramics, but I was looking for something different, out of the mainstream.  The shrew fits this bill very nicely. 

I am anything but knowledgeable when it comes to ancient Egyptian mythology, and I am totally in the dark when it comes to its lesser known aspects, so when this bronze figurine came up for sale I decided to bite the bullet and purchase it post-sale.   As these figurines go the detail is very basic, but the modeling of the shrew's body is very nice, with the legs slightly bent back, as if he is getting ready to pounce on some nocturnal meal.  The creator of this object  effectively conveyed the tension in the body.  The patina is also quite nice.

So, here he is, in the collection, a stop on his thousands year journey, the cumulation of an on-again, off-again search for an Egyptian antiquity.  But of all the objects out there, in all manner of media from the vast history of ancient Egypt, I ended up with a little bronze shrew - who knew? 

Egyptian Bronze Shrew, Late Period, ca. 715-330 BC. Depicted walking, the shrew with long pointed muzzle, elongated body, and short legs.

The shrew was worshipped at Letopolis as one representation of the nocturnal side of Horus, the other being the ichneumon.

Ex Christie’s New York, 6 December 2001, lot 266, The Property of a European Gentleman. Ex Countess and Goat Ancient Art, MA, 14 February 2002; The Elizabeth Nutt Collection, NH. L. 2 7/8" H. 1" (7.3 cm x 2.5 cm).

Lot 406, Harlan J Berk Buy/Bid Sale 520

August 2022.


Edited by robinjojo
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