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sigmund freud biography
Freud collections

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Freud's Collection of Antiquities
Freud's collection fills the study and the front room. These antiquities created an extraordinary interior work space which was even to survive the move to another country. Today's visitors to the study in London are often astonished to see that Freud worked in a museum of his own creation.

The collection itself reflects the taste of someone more concerned to accumulate objects with meaning for him than to acquire items which would be impressive to a small band of fellow collectors. By 1939 Freud had amassed over 2000 objects and the collection encompassed items from the ancient Near East, Egypt, Greece, Rome and China. 
Terracotta Cone of Gudea

Mesopotamian, ca. 2135 B.C. 
h. 10.8cm

This terracotta cone or 'nail' is one of two almost identical specimens in Freud's collection. It carries 10 lines of cuneiform disposed in two vertical columns. The inscription records the reconstruction of the temple called Eninnu by Gudea, ruler of Lagash, in honour of Ningirsu, the city god. This was one of at least 15 temples erected by Gudea, who is well-known to us from his extensive series of statues, many of which are now in the Louvre in Paris. Gudea's inscriptions record how he re-established peace in the land, uniting the people of Lagash 'like the children of a single mother'.

Frontal Covering 
of a Mummy
Egypt, 332-30 B.C.

The coloured vignettes at the upper left and upper right contained named representations of the four sons of Horus. The role of these minor deities was the elimination of hunger and thirst. The lower left and lower right vignettes depict Osiris, Lord of the Underworld, protected respectively by Isis and her sister Nephthys, the two principal mourners at the god's funeral.

Athenian red-figured Lekythos

Greek, 450-440 B.C. 
h. 37.4cm

The scene shows a winged woman pursuing a youth. She must be Eos, goddess of dawn, and the youth, who carries a lyre, is likely to be Tithonus, a prince of Troy. 

    South Italian, ca. 5th century B.C. 
 h. 18.5cm

In the Greek legend of Thebes, the Sphinx was a monster, half-lion and half-woman, who destroyed those who could not answer the riddle: "What is it that walks on four legs in the morning, on two at noon, and on three in the evening?" Oedipus answered that it was Man, who first crawls on all fours, then walks upright, and in old age needs a stick as a third leg.


China, ca. 1600 A.D. 
h. 24.5cm 

This head probably comes from a standing figure of a Buddhist attendant, possibly a bodhisattva, a saintly and benevolent being who attends the Buddha and, out of compassion, has chosen to forego nirvana until all others have attained it.



Roman, Ist or 2nd century A.D., 
after a Greek original of the 5th century B.C.
Bronze 10.4 cm.

This solid cast figurine of Athena was one of Freud's favourite pieces and stood in the centre of his desk. It presents the Goddess of wisdom and war in frontal pose, with her left hand raised to hold a spear (now missing). In her lowered hand she carries a patera (libation bowl) decorated with a petal design. Her breastplate depicts a Medusa's head. The overall style of the piece suggests a Roman work of the first or second century; the pose, however, very probably derives from a Greek original of the fifth century B.C.



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