100381 | FRANCE. "Le Cynocéphale" bronze Plaque
100381 | FRANCE. Bronze Plaque. Issued 1906. "Le Cynocéphale" (60x53mm, 88.57 g, 12h). By P. Jouve in Paris.
Simian cynocephalus (dog-headed monkey) seated left, holding ushabti (Egyptian funerary figurine) / Four monkeys seated left and facing upon tree branch. Edge: «hallmark» BRONZE «hallmark» 134.
Maier 37. Choice Mint State. Pleasing yellow-brown surfaces, with a delightful matte appearance; a few light spots on the reverse. Very rare and extremely interesting. Compare to a similar example in iNumis (3 May 2018), lot 202 (which realized a hammer of €820 [plus buyer's fee]).
A characteristic which has existed in various mythologies and art forms since antiquity, cynocephaly comes from the Greek κύων (dog) and κεφαλή (head). Some deities in the Egyptian pantheon were represented with the heads of jackals and, in Christianity, St. Christopher was oft-depicted as such, while Paul the Deacon refers to the phenomenon in his Historia gentis Langobardorum.
Paul Jouve, having created the sculpture which inspired this plaque, added to this tapestry with an interesting arrangement featuring a dog-headed monkey holding a relic of the past, an Egyptian figurine, also dog-headed, blending the past with the present. The holder of the relic possesses a near-human level of contemplation as it considers this similar-looking ancient object. On the reverse, though the monkeys feature no cross-species characteristics, the iconic "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil," a decidedly anthropomorphic trait, can definitely be felt.
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