In India, some of the wealthiest families are shelling out six figures for a 1.6-meter-long sculpture. It’s called the “Queen of the Nile” and costs 10.25 million rupees — about US$223,000 including import duties — to own it. What is this pricey bauble? A sculpture of a scene of Ancient Egypt from Lladró, a Spanish maker of porcelain figurines. The piece features lithe dancers and musicians entertaining Queen Nefertari, the royal wife of Ramses II, the pharoah, and her entourage as they journey down the river in a boat.
Lladró is well-known for its sculptures of wedding couples, which typically cost between 25,000 rupees to 33,000 rupees (about US$550 to US$720). The company has created other limited-edition sculptures – of Buddha, of a blue dragon, of a bridal carriage.
The 2006 “Queen of the Nile” by Juan Carlos Ferri Herrero is the largest and most expensive creation the Spanish firm has ever made, according to the company’s sales team in India. Lladró will produce only 100 of the pieces – so far, the company has sold 14 of them in India. (All the sales in India occurred before Egypt’s recent political upheaval.). The company did not respond to requests for information on how many other “Queen of the Nile” sculptures had sold in other parts of the world.