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Is this real or fake (Queen Tetisheri)?

 
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Nefer-Ankhe
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:10 am    Post subject: Is this real or fake (Queen Tetisheri)? Reply with quote

Is this statuette real or fake?

http://www.raceandhistory.com/manu/images/Tetisheri.jpg

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Lutz
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Limestone statue of Tetisheri, enthroned (London, BM, EA 22556, 1890,0412.5)
Quote:
"This attractive limestone statuette inscribed with the name of Queen Tetisheri (c. 1550 BC) was long regarded as a key piece for the study of Egyptian sculpture of the late 17th to early 18th Dynasties. Over the years it has played a major role in establishing the accepted view of artistic development in this period, and it has served as the basis of numerous critical assessments of other pieces. The suggestion, made in 1984, that the figure is a modern forgery was therefore considerably disconcerting to art historians.

The statuette was acquired in 1890 from the Luxor dealer Mohammed Mohassib and has since become familiar from illustrations in many popular and scholarly publications. Much less well known is another statuette of Tetisheri, of uncertain provenance, of which only the lower half survived. It was published with photographs in 1916, when in the possession of the French Institute in Cairo, but its present whereabouts are unknown. The obvious similarity of this piece to the figure in the British Museum led scholars to conclude that they had originally formed a fair.

Recent scrutiny of the British Museum sculpture, however, and comparison of its inscriptions with those of the 'companion' figure have cast serious doubts on its authenticity. The inscriptions on the two thrones, though identical in content, are strikingly different in quality and execution. Whereas the texts of the Cairo piece have clearly been carved by a masterful and confident hand, those of the British Museum statue contain numerous elementary errors and omissions which can only be explained as the mistakes of someone unfamiliar with the ancient Egyptian language and with the carving of hieroglyphic texts. Several signs are incomplete, incorrectly formed or absent altogether. Significantly, the sections in which these anomalies occur correspond exactly with areas on the Cairo statue where the texts were damaged or unclear. There can be no doubt that the British Museum texts were copied slavishly from those of the Cairo figure.

While it is possible that the inscriptions on the British Museum's piece have been added to a genuine ancient statue that had been left unfinished, a number of other circumstances suggest that the entire piece is a forgery. Traces of red and blue paint on the figure have been shown under analysis to contain barium sulphate (barytes), widely used by artists in modern times but not employed by the ancient Egyptians in this context. Certain peculiarities of the queen's costume - notably the double shoulder straps of the dress, which leave the breasts bare, and the strikingly unusual wig, which has no exact parallel - cast further doubts on the statue's authenticity. When all these factors are taken into account it becomes difficult to avoid the conclusion that the renowned statuette of Tetisheri is the work of a modern forger, made at Luxor probably shortly before 1890.

Literature: W. V. Davies, The Statuette of Queen Tetisheri, a reconsideration, BM Occasional Papers no. 36, London 1984."


Alfred Grimm / Sylvia Schoske : Im Zeichen des Mondes - Ägypten zu Beginn des Neuen Reiches. - [Katalog zur Sonderausstellung Im Zeichen des Mondes, Ägypten am Beginn des Neuen Reiches, München, Staatliche Sammlung Ägyptischer Kunst, 20. Februar bis 16. Mai 1999]. - München : Staatliche Sammlung Ägyptischer Kunst, 1999. - 121 p. - [Schriften aus der Ägyptischen Sammlung - SAS 7], suspect, however, on page 83 a portrait of an unknown princess / queen from the end of the 17th Dynasty, that was originally to be un-labeled and should be enhanced by the forged paint and inscription, assigning it to the famous queen. They base their view by certain iconographic details, found also in secured contemporary portraits, that may to a forger of the 19th Century have been unknown.

Greetings, Lutz.
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Montuhotep88
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't remember who said it-- it might have been Dr. Joyce Tyldesley-- but whoever it was said she was sad to find that this statuette is unlikely to be genuine, as it had always been one of her favorites.
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neseret
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lutz wrote:
Limestone statue of Tetisheri, enthroned (London, BM, EA 22556, 1890,0412.5)
Quote:
"This attractive limestone statuette inscribed with the name of Queen Tetisheri (c. 1550 BC) was long regarded as a key piece for the study of Egyptian sculpture of the late 17th to early 18th Dynasties. Over the years it has played a major role in establishing the accepted view of artistic development in this period, and it has served as the basis of numerous critical assessments of other pieces. The suggestion, made in 1984, that the figure is a modern forgery was therefore considerably disconcerting to art historians.

The statuette was acquired in 1890 from the Luxor dealer Mohammed Mohassib and has since become familiar from illustrations in many popular and scholarly publications. Much less well known is another statuette of Tetisheri, of uncertain provenance, of which only the lower half survived. It was published with photographs in 1916, when in the possession of the French Institute in Cairo, but its present whereabouts are unknown. The obvious similarity of this piece to the figure in the British Museum led scholars to conclude that they had originally formed a fair.

Recent scrutiny of the British Museum sculpture, however, and comparison of its inscriptions with those of the 'companion' figure have cast serious doubts on its authenticity. The inscriptions on the two thrones, though identical in content, are strikingly different in quality and execution. Whereas the texts of the Cairo piece have clearly been carved by a masterful and confident hand, those of the British Museum statue contain numerous elementary errors and omissions which can only be explained as the mistakes of someone unfamiliar with the ancient Egyptian language and with the carving of hieroglyphic texts. Several signs are incomplete, incorrectly formed or absent altogether. Significantly, the sections in which these anomalies occur correspond exactly with areas on the Cairo statue where the texts were damaged or unclear. There can be no doubt that the British Museum texts were copied slavishly from those of the Cairo figure.

While it is possible that the inscriptions on the British Museum's piece have been added to a genuine ancient statue that had been left unfinished, a number of other circumstances suggest that the entire piece is a forgery. Traces of red and blue paint on the figure have been shown under analysis to contain barium sulphate (barytes), widely used by artists in modern times but not employed by the ancient Egyptians in this context. Certain peculiarities of the queen's costume - notably the double shoulder straps of the dress, which leave the breasts bare, and the strikingly unusual wig, which has no exact parallel - cast further doubts on the statue's authenticity. When all these factors are taken into account it becomes difficult to avoid the conclusion that the renowned statuette of Tetisheri is the work of a modern forger, made at Luxor probably shortly before 1890.

Literature: W. V. Davies, The Statuette of Queen Tetisheri, a reconsideration, BM Occasional Papers no. 36, London 1984."


Alfred Grimm / Sylvia Schoske : Im Zeichen des Mondes - Ägypten zu Beginn des Neuen Reiches. - [Katalog zur Sonderausstellung Im Zeichen des Mondes, Ägypten am Beginn des Neuen Reiches, München, Staatliche Sammlung Ägyptischer Kunst, 20. Februar bis 16. Mai 1999]. - München : Staatliche Sammlung Ägyptischer Kunst, 1999. - 121 p. - [Schriften aus der Ägyptischen Sammlung - SAS 7], suspect, however, on page 83 a portrait of an unknown princess / queen from the end of the 17th Dynasty, that was originally to be un-labeled and should be enhanced by the forged paint and inscription, assigning it to the famous queen. They base their view by certain iconographic details, found also in secured contemporary portraits, that may to a forger of the 19th Century have been unknown.


The original study whch established the item as a forgery is this publication from 1984:

Davies, W. V. 1984. The Statuette of Queen Tetisheri: A Reconsideration. British Museum Occasional Papers 36. London: British Museum.

FWIW, the item is no longer on display in the British Museum, although I have seen it in the vaults of the BM quite recently: I suppose they are trying to determine what to do with it.

HTH.
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Oriental Studies
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are the relevant pages from Alfred Grimm / Sylvia Schoske : Im Zeichen des Mondes - Ägypten zu Beginn des Neuen Reiches (1999), pp. 83 & 86:



Greetings, Lutz.
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dashotep
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are any other statues known with that headdress rendered in such a way (cut away above the shoulders and around the throat)? It seems to be a feature unique to this statue, which might be another reason to doubt its authenticity. The sort of bun at the back also looks unusual.
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