Dominique Vivant-Denon was an arts administrator (he directed the Medallic Mint as well as the Musée Napoleon, now the Louvre Museum, and several other entities), a collector, and an arbiter of taste during the Napoleonic period. He accompanied the Egyptian campaign of 1798-99 as a draftsman and published the drawings in 1802 as Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypt. One of the sites, the pylon at Ghoos in Upper Egypt, served as the model for the upper part of this medal cabinet, which was intended for Napoleon but remained in Denon's possession. The front and back panels are inlaid with the scarab flanked by uraei on lotus stalks. Each of the twenty-two drawers is inlaid with a silver bee, one wing hinged to provide a pull.
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