Egypt, Israel, and the Ancient Mediterranean World: Studies in Honor of Donald B. Redford

By Gary N. Knoppers; Antoine Hirsch | Go to book overview

DEAD AS A DUCK: A ROYAL OFFERING SCENE?1

Earl L. Ertman

I count Don Redford as a friend and colleague since our initial contact in Cairo in 1971 when the Akhenaten Temple Project Offices were housed in Tahrir Square. Don's wide-ranging interests include a thirst we share for the Amarna Period from its inception in Thebes through its moves to Memphis and Akhetaten. Don is an inspiring researcher who combines thoroughness with knowledge and a great analytical mind. May future generations of Egyptologists call on his name, that it will be remembered not only in Upper and Lower Egypt, but throughout time.

The fragment of a hard limestone block shows the forward half of a duck and parts of other birds carved in sunk relief (fig. 1). The modern history of this block starts in the late 1960's (before 1969) when it was purchased at an estate auction in Handen, Connecticut2 together wim the corner of a false door dated to Dynasty XI. The false door fragment was owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is merely circumstantial evidence that since both reliefs were sold together from the same collection in Connecticut that they were originally taken from the same site or date to the same time period.

1 I wish to thank the following individuals for assistance or comments related
to this paper: Hans Goedicke, Otto Schaden, F. C. Brock, Ray Johnson, and Peter
Brand. I gratefully acknowledge the assistance and permission of the Polish Mission
to Deir el Bahari directed by Dr. Jadwiga Lipinska for the use of photographs from
her work and for the excellent photographs taken there by George Johnson. Thanks
also to Richman Haire for the photograph of the relief under study.

2 The buyer, then a graduate student, now a book dealer, has attempted to recall
as many facts as possible related to the sale. My question to him was, “Do you recall,
was the duck relief sold together with the corner of a false door that you purchased at
the same sale?” The answer was, “Yes, we bought all the Egyptian items at the same
auction in Connecticut on the same day I can remember that there were all kinds of
other artifacts whoever collected this stuff liked antiquities. My own…supposition…was
that they all probably came from the same museum/dig/source, but I never knew
where that might be.” He added, “My recollection is that they [the two reliefs] went
together…two for one money. I think that because I liked one of them much better
than the other and doubt that I would have bid on the lesser one by itself. I know for
sure that they were purchased at the same auction… There were no other Egyptian
fragments [reliefs] as I remember, but lots of stuff from around the world.”

-193-

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