Egyptian-Revival Jeweled Fan Brooch, Cartier, London, 1923
Composed of an Egyptian glazed steatite plaque of semicircular shape, circa 600 B.C., inscribed with hieroglyphs, the border of papyrus and lotus motifs decorated with pear-shaped cabochon sapphires and square segments of onyx and enamel within a ground of pavé-set old European-cut and single-cut diamonds, the base centering a stylized lotus blossom similarly set with old European-cut, single-cut and rose-cut diamonds and accented with 2 kite-shaped cabochon sapphires and a band of black enamel, mounted in platinum and gold, signed Cartier, Londres, numbered 7300. With original signed case.
An archive photograph of this brooch appears in the exhibition catalogue Cartier: 1900-1939, Judy Rudoe, p. 138, fig. 66. The caption under the photograph states that the inscription relates to Mentuemhat, mayor of Thebes.
The reverse of the faience segment is applied with a gold plaque inscribed with the following: “Overseer of the Priests, Overseer of the Gate of the Foreign Countries, The Priest of Thebes, Mentu-Em-Hat, The Son of the Priest of Amun, The Prince of Thebes, Nesptah The Overseer of the Two Houses of the Soul, Priests of the Tomb of This Priest.”
Soapstone (also known as steatite or soaprock) is a talc - schist, which is a type of metamorphic rock. It is largely composed of the mineral talc and is easily carved/worked.