Well, Here’s Moses…

by forrest fenn

These vignettes from Forrest’s collection are only to share. To see 294 additional pieces  please visit
www.splendidheritage.com

 

 

whittleAs I watched Leo Salazar carve this figure from a freshly cut pine tree, he assured me that it would be a perfect likeness of Moses. And I believed it because why else would someone throw his arms out like that except to summon the Israelites and lead them out of Egypt and across the Red Sea to Mount Sinai?

“That’s where Moses received the Ten Commandments,” Leo said, and he spoke like some kind of omniscient religious guru. His words were fit for the lessons at any Sunday school.

It was interesting to see the sharp knife skillfully whittle the wood, which did little to resist the artist’s efforts. As the face of Moses began to appear, Leo’s smile took on a pleasing quality. I just sat there and grinned.

Several hours more, and there stood the majestic Moses in his flowing robe.

I gave $350.00 for the beautiful figure because I enjoyed Leo so much. But Moses had been an old man and this portrait of him looked too white and new. I solved the problem by standing him on the roof of our gallery so the sun and snow could act as aging agents.

After three years the wind toppled Moses over and broke his right hand. I glued it back and stood him up again, where he stayed for another three years. Finally Moses took on the distinguished, darkened look that I thought he deserved.

Moses now stands in my home on the second step that leads into my den, and his expression continues to telegraph a timeless message.

 

Osiris…King of Gods…

by forrest fenn

These vignettes from Forrest’s collection are only to share. To see 294 additional pieces  please visit
www.splendidheritage.com

 

 

egypt

Egyptian mythology is enigmatic to me and somewhat foreboding, like a delicate mixture of portents that coinstantaneously entice…yet frighten. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to the mysterious physical properties that represent the ancient gods.

While holding Osiris tightly, I can almost feel his mighty power, and sense the lure of other gods about which the ancient Egyptians felt so strongly.
With Dal’s help I’ll try to bring a few of our venerated Egyptian objects close to your eyes.

IMG_1115s
This 3,000-year old New Kingdom Egyptian necklace is dominated by a bronze image of Osiris. He holds a symbolic flail and crook, and large ostrich feathers decorate each side of his crown. He wears a pharaoh’s beard. Rare bronze all-seeing eye amulets, spaced with faience beads, emphasize his supremacy.

IMG_1104s
To quote a book of Egyptian mythology:

“A god of the earth and vegetation, Osiris symbolized in his death the yearly drought and in his miraculous rebirth the periodic flooding of the Nile and the growth of grain. He was a god king who was believed to have given Egypt civilization.

IMG_1086s

IMG_1087sThe oldest religious texts refer to Osiris as the great god of the dead, and throughout these texts it is assumed that the reader will understand that he once possessed human form and lived on earth. As the first son of Geb, the original king of Egypt, Osiris inherited the throne when Geb abdicated. At this time the Egyptians were barbarous cannibals and uncivilized. Osiris saw this and was greatly disturbed. Therefore, he went out among the people and taught them what to eat, the art of agriculture, how to worship the gods, and gave them laws. Thoth helped him in many ways by inventing the arts and sciences and giving names to things. Osiris was Egypt’s greatest king who ruled through kindness and persuasion. Having civilized Egypt, Osiris traveled to other lands, leaving Isis as his regent, to teach other peoples what he taught the Egyptian.

IMG_1089s

IMG_1092sDuring Osiris’ absence, Isis was troubled with Seth’s plotting to acquire both her and the throne of Egypt. Shortly after Osiris’ return to Egypt, in the twenty-eighth year of his reign, on the seventeenth day of the month of Hathor (late September of November), Seth and 72 conspirators murdered him. They then threw the coffin in which he was murdered into the Nile, with his divine body still inside.

 

IMG_1099s

IMG_1111s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isis, with the help of her sister Nephthys, and Anubis and Thoth, magically located Osiris’ body. Upon learning that his brother’s body was found, Seth went to it and tore it into fourteen pieces and scattered them throughout Egypt. Isis once again found every piece of his body, save his phallus (it had been eaten by the now-cursed Nile fish). She magically re-assembled Osiris and resurrected him long enough to be impregnated by him so that she could give birth to the new king Horus.

IMG_1098s IMG_1095s
Seth of course was not willing to surrender the throne of Egypt to the youthful Horus and thus a tribunal of gods met to decide who was the rightful king. The trial lasted eighty years. Eventually through Isis’ cunning she won the throne for her son.”

And that’s probably more than you want to know about Osiris, et al.

 

 

Faience Protector of the Dead…

by forrest fenn

These vignettes from Forrest’s collection are only to share. To see 294 additional pieces  please visit
www.splendidheritage.com

 

 

egypt

Some of the beauty of old Egyptian beads is that they look old. The more beat-up they are the more intrinsic value they have for me. I like to imagine where they were worn 3,500 years ago, and what they’ve seen. Who fabricated them and where?

IMG_0895s

Bead colors were symbolic of different things, green meant growth and development, red stood for blood, which intended continued life and energy, black, which symbolizes rebirth, and blue referenced the everlasting sky.

This necklace contains beads made from red cornelian, blue faience, white ostrich egg shells, and black glass. The green eye beads are watchful. Nearly all later cultures copied Egyptian eye beads.

Faience Anubis amulets, such as the large blue one on this necklace, were powerful protectors of the dead. They are often found in the linen wrappings of embalmed mummies.

 

 

 

 

Sacred Beetle…

by forrest fenn

Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian. 

 

egyptOn the forum Lia asked about an object pictured in my Egyptian Mummy story. So I made some close-up shots. It’s a faience scarab, the sacred beetle, all-seeing eye. In many cases when humans were mummified, the heart was removed and replaced with a scarab, which lives on forever in the body, thus guaranteeing an afterlife. The belly of this beetle is covered with a Hieroglyphic biography of the recipient. I acquired it in trade from a museum over fifty-years ago. Since it’s attached to a gold chain I wish now I had placed it in Indulgence. Thanks for asking Lia.

IMG_0879

IMG_0881

IMG_0885

 

Falcon Mummy…

by forrest fenn

Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian. 

 

egyptStudying ancient Egyptian artifacts is a rewarding hobby for me. The fifteen pieces in our collection are housed in the Egyptian wing of my library.

 

tabletops

The Egyptian wing of the Fenn Museum, 20” x 30″.

 

A special piece is the sixteen-inch falcon from the Middle Kingdom period (12th Dynasty – c. 2,000 BC.) It’s mummification represents the Egyptian belief in the existence of an afterlife. The linen wrappings are designed to last an eternity. It was an offering to Horus, the most powerful god in Egyptian mythology.

IMG_0665s IMG_0670s

 

When the falcon was being x-rayed at the hospital a crowd of nurses and doctors came in to watch.

 

IMG_0876s

Middle Kingdom faience necklace. We loaned it to Nancy Reagan’s Press Secretary who wore it opening night at the opera. She said no one knew what it was.

Gold is the Skin of the Gods…

by forrest fenn

Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian. 

 

 

egyptpyramid7This 12 inch gilded wooden figure is Ibis, the sacred bird of Thoth, the god of wisdom. His hair is inlaid blue Faience, the first glass ever intentionally produced by man. He dates to 7th – 6th century BC, and his beak and scepter are of bronze. He’s not supposed to be carrying a scepter, but there it is. Hmmm. Sometimes it’s the aberration of an object that wets the wits of a collector.

ibis

Thoth was one of the main deities in Egyptian mythology. He’s depicted here as a man with the head of an Ibis. Thoth maintained the universe, and moderated disputes between good and bad to make sure neither gained an advantage. He invented hieroglyph, the Egyptian system of writing.

Many years ago a trader friend named Consuela asked me to go to her room in the La Fonda hotel. She wanted to show me something in private and promised I would buy it. That was a new sales pitch for me and I said okay. After we enjoyed a cold Coors she unwrapped this beautiful Thoth figure and placed it on a table in front of me. I knew exactly what it was and instantly dreaded that she would ask more for it than I could afford to pay. I was enthralled, and reminded myself that a man in the desert dying of thirst might pay a million dollars for a glass of water.

When Consuela started playing Eddy Arnold’s “What’s He Doing in My World” on her wind-up, Victor-Victrola record player, I relaxed a little. It was a good omen because that’s a song Peggy and I used to like when we were in high school.

Consuela said the ancient Egyptians believed that gold was the skin of the gods and that Thoth was so strong that the sun couldn’t shine without his permission. “His power will keep you young,” she promised. I wondered if some of her talk was salesmanship but it had long been my belief that I was aging by mistake.

After two more beers and a call to my banker, I purchased this beautiful gilded figure from Consuela for a price no one thought was fair but me, and Consuela of course. Thank you Eddy Arnold, wherever you are.

PS, It appears that Consuela’s prophecy may not be working.