Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Finding of Tetisheri's Statue

It is believed that two statues of Tetisheri were "found". We are not sure about the finding of these statues since they were not found in a properly conducted archaqeological excavation. Instead they simply "appeared" on the antiquities market.

One of the statues was a fragment which consisted of little more than the throne upon which the Queen sat. This fragment is now lost, but a copy of the inscription was made and is preserved to this day. The second of this pair of statues is the one in the British Museum.

Dr. Davies noticed that some of the characters in the inscription were badly formed, a frequent clue that an inscription was carved in modern times (by someone who actually could not read hieroglyphs). When he compared the inscription on the statue in the British Museum to the copy of the inscription on the "lost" statue, he noticed another problem.

On the lost statue, the inscription on the Queen's throne is broken off in the lower left corner. If you look at the photo in this article, you will see that the statue in the British Museum is also damaged in the same spot on the Queen's throne. But on the British Museum's statue, the damage is not caused by a break in the stone; instead, it looks like a chisel was used to remove a portion of the inscription.

It seems odd that two statues would have a damaged inscription in the same place and that the damage on one of the statues would look to have been deliberately done. Dr. Davies theory is that the broken statue had an inscription that was real, and that a forger copied the inscription onto the (previously uninscribed) statue that is now in the British Museum. Since the forger did not know hieroglyphs, he damaged the inscription in the lower left corner to hide the fact that he did not know what characters the original inscription contained there.

So, if the inscription is a fake (and I think that it is), does that mean that the statue is a fake as well? Or is the statue a real antiquity and only the inscription is forged?

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