Ancient Egyptian Sekhmet statue sells for $4.1m

A large granite statue of Sekhmet sold for $4.1m in a sale of ancient Egyptian artefacts at Sotheby's New York on December 8.

The sculpture dates to around 1403-1365 BC and is inscribed with the cartouche of the pharaoh Amenhotep III.

Sekhmet Sothebys statue
Sekhmet is the ancient Egyptian goddess of war

The cartouche displays damage, indicating its removal during Amenhotep's son Akhenaton's attempted purge of Amun, the old Egyptian sun god - after whom Amenhotep III was named.

Akhenaton intended to replace Amun with his own god Aten.

It also shows clear signs of restoration, most likely carried out around the time of Tutankhamun's reign (1332-1323 BC).

Sotheby's comments: "The present statue probably once stood among over six hundred images of Sekhmet, goddess of war and protector of the king, which adorned the courts and passageways of the great temple Amenhotep III built in honor of the goddess Mut at Thebes and where some still stand in the ruins of that complex."

A wooden mummy mask realised $1.4m, an increase of 180% on a $500,000 estimate.

The piece is of exceptional quality and served as the death mask of a high ranking figure.

The stand on which it rests is custom made by carpenter Kichizo Inagaki (1876-1951).

Inagaki specialised in stands for ethnographic artefacts and undertook commissions from well-known figures such as Joseph Brummer and Auguste Rodin.

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