Hermes-Thoth marble head realises 33% increase to sell for $4.6m

A large marble head of Hermes-Thoth dating to the late Hellenistic period has sold for $4.6m against a $2.5m-3.5m estimate at Sotheby's New York - an increase of 32.8%.

The piece headlined the Egyptian, Classical, and Western Asiatic Antiquities sale on December 12.

Hermes Thoth statue marble
The statue of Hermes-Thoth dates to around the 2nd century BC

The circa 2nd century BC head probably stood on a figure of the god, and features a pointed-leaf headdress - common on depictions of Hermes from the era but rare on other deities.

The piece closely resembles that of Skopas, a well-regarded sculptor of the period. Examples of his work are held in the permanent collection of the British Museum in London.

The facial features, however, are consistent with earlier depictions of Herakles that derive from a circa 400 BC original - often referred to as the Lenbach-Herakles type.

An Egyptian diorite sculpture depicting the head of the goddess Sekhmet achieved $4.1m against an $800,000-1.2m valuation - up 249.7%.

Sekhmet statue Sothebys antiquities
The statue of Sekhmet was produced during the reign of Amenhotep III

Sekhmet was the ancient Egyptian goddess of war and protector of the pharaohs.

The statue from which the head is taken is thought to have stood in the great temple at Thebes, built by Amenhotep III (1390-1353 BC) in honour of the goddess Mut - with whom Sekhmet is often associated.

It is likely to have been of a significant size, with the head alone standing at 14 inches high.

A circa AD 1 Roman sculpture of a young satyr wearing a mask of Silenus, with restorations carried out by baroque sculptor Alessandro Algardi in 1628, made $3.5m.

In total the sale realised $16.2m.

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