Professor Claude Vandersleyen preliminary report


Professor Claude Vandersleyen examined 29 pieces from the Mansoor Amarna Collection in Paris, in presence of Madame Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt.   The following excerpts are from his preliminary report of July 25 & 26, 1989, and letter of September 29, 1993.

English translation of the French excerpts
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1) They are objects like ones whose anthropological characters are similar to known Amarna objects.

2) The pieces are generally of very high quality requiring not only great artistic skill, but also an unexpected competence in all the details of the Amarna style.

3) The model of the faces and skulls is richly varied.

4) Given the general competence and the great homogeneity of the group, the anomalies are inexplicable, unless we admit an unexpected boldness, as has been revealed in the Karnak Colossi.

5) AT FIRST GLANCE, the bas-reliefs which seemed to be absolutely horrible, hideous or foolishly copied , proved to be of impeccable finesse and execution.

6) Some oddities are inexplicable when one considers the extreme skill with which the entire works were done.

7) The entire collection is very interesting, informative and even seductive.

8) I am surprised by THE QUALITY of many pieces and by the competence of whoever made them.

9) I have been struck by the irrefutable competence of the author of these works, regardless of the period in which he lived.

10) The 29 pieces I have examined are surprisingly diverse in quality: some are horrible failures while others are masterpieces indicating the hand of an artist fully aware of the most subtle characters of Amarna art.

11) The majority of the works, whether beautiful or ugly, are of homogeneous style, produced through real inspiration, creative, RATHER THAN the work of a copyist.

12) If the works were by a modern forger, they would have been by someone creating a series in the “amarna manner” independent of the series found by Borchardt . It is unlikely. The collection may have come from a workshop experimenting new forms of art, a workshop in which apprentices would have been working next to master sculptors. (some statues of princesses are very seductive)

13) It is very possible that the Mansoor collection is authentic.

14) My report of 1989 was basically favorable to the collection.

15) The studies made regarding the competence of the sculptor must be continued.

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