Ten commandments tablets used in original film
Lot 3130W
A pair of Mt. Sinai granite tablets from The Ten Commandments
Sold for US$ 60,000 inc. premium
Lot Details
A pair of Mt. Sinai granite tablets from The Ten Commandments
Paramount, 1956. The original pair of tablets carved from red Mt. Sinai granite, used for publicity photographs and reference for the prop department. Biographer Scott Eyman writes of this set of tablets, "for DeMille, nothing would do but the red granite of Mount Sinai. Paramount's prop department made three sets of tablets out of fiberglass; the granite master set kept in DeMille's office was too heavy to hold" (Empire of Dreams, Simon & Schuster, 2010, p. 469).

DeMille's dedication to historical authenticity was legendary, and he charged Henry Noerdlinger to spend two years researching the appropriate sets, costumes, and props for the film. The size of the tablets was based on the "six handbreadths" dimensions given in ancient descriptions, the writing on the tablets is in an early Canaanite script used in the 13th century B.C., and the placement of the commandments is based on Noerdlinger's hypothesis that one tablet dealt with man's relationship with God and the second with man's relationship with other men. In 1956, the University of Southern California published a book of Noerdlinger's research for the film, entitled Moses and Egypt, in which this set of tablets is illustrated.
11 3/4 x 23 in.
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