A spectacular exhibition of ancient pieces of faience from the private collection of the Aboutaam family originally formed by Sleiman Aboutaam and continued by his sons, Ali and Hicham.
Faience was used to make jewelry and amulets throughout the Nile Basin and the Near East as early as the 4th millennium B.C. The Aboutaam Collection spans the entire spectrum of the ancient world. The earliest pieces in the exhibition are Mesopotamian amulets of animals dating from the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C. (ca. 2500-2300 B.C.). The latest pieces are from Parthia (Syria) in the 2nd-3rd century A.D. Most of the 100-plus examples on view are Egyptian and date from the Middle Kingdom (2040-1650 B.C.) and the New Kingdom (c. 1570-1294 B.C.). Most of the works in the exhibition have a distinguished provenance, coming as they do from well-known established collections. Among the past owners were renowned collectors Charles Gillot, Daniel-Marie Fouquet, Baron Empain, and Charles Ratton. The includes ushabtis (funerary figurines), amulets, cups, seals, pyxides, statuettes, pots, bowls, animal-form vessels, bottles, jars, and vases.
Fans of “William,” the well-loved Egyptian faïence hippopotamus at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will be pleased to see that there are three other examples of blue-green hippopotami in the show that are among the stars of the exhibition. Two date from the Middle Kingdom (dynasty 11-13) One is from the Late Period (6th-4th century B.C.), which is known as the Persian Period because it was truly international with similar works appearing from Egypt to Iran and the Levant. The hippopotamus, which looks so benign and lovable, was, in fact, a force of nature to be reckoned with, both in this life and in the next.
Other highlights include an Egyptian New Kingdom light green figure of a seated antelope; an Egyptian pectoral with a military scene representing Ramses II, dating from the 13th century B.C.; an Egyptian Late Period amulet of Taweret, a fertility deity, associated in this representation with women in labor; a Greek aryballos (small globular vase) in the form of a hedgehog from the mid-6th century B.C.; a Late Period Egyptian dish decorated with a pair of lions; and an Egyptian amphora from the Hellenistic period decorated with a gold leaf wreath.
Catalogue Available in French and English