A hand-painted Egyptian carving of a lioness head is to auction at Antiquities Saleroom in Erie, Colorado on June 13.
The circa 664 BC carving is thought to be worth $20,000-30,000.
An important and ancient symbol of ferocity and strength, the lioness head is believed to have been a sculptor's model, which would have been used during the production of Sekhmet sculptures.
According to ancient mythology, Sekhmet, the sun goddess, was a prominent constituent of the trio of deities which protected Upper Egypt. Depicted as having the head of a lioness and the body of a woman, the cult of Sekhmet dominated Egyptian society during the 12th dynasty.
Duly, thousands of amulet-like Sekhmet sculptures and images were produced. Since recreating the dimensions of a lioness from life may have been tricky, artists employed models, such as the present example, which enabled them to make their sculptures more realistic and uniform in appearance.
Also among the Egyptian offerings is a terracotta seal used to make the royal seals of famous boy-king Tutankhamen.
Estimated at $30,000-40,000, the seal has been described as "priceless" by Antiquities Saleroom co-owner and director Bob Dodge.
Of the sale, Dodge comments: "In all of our sales we make an effort to include nice pieces for every level of collector…. for the advanced collector, there are highly important pieces valued at tens of thousands of dollars."
Ancient artefacts often command large sums at auction.
In April 2013, a moss-covered temple step, brought to the UK from Sri Lanka at the beginning of the 20th century, sold with a 1,744% increase on its £30,000 ($45,788) top estimate, bringing £553,250 ($844,540) to Bonhams.
For more information as to the investment potential of weird and wonderful collectibles, see our free guide to investing in unique items.
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