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Early Bolivian vessel may command upward of $40K

A pre-Columbian vessel with a dynamic three-dimensional jaguar effigy head is one of the lots vying for top lot status in Artemis Gallery's Nov. 9 auction.

BOULDER, Colo. – Artemis Gallery will continue turning back time with a fine antiquities and ethnographic art auction on Nov. 9. All forms of bidding will be available, including absentee or live via the Internet.

The 384–lot auction includes classical antiquities, art, and relics from cultures spanning the globe. The timeline begins in Ancient Egypt and traverses the important civilizations of Ancient Greece and Rome. Furthermore, it also ventures into the Near East, Africa, Oceania, and Europe/Russia. Along with examples of items from indigenous Pre-Columbian peoples.

Vessel Bears Jaguar Effigy Head

Bolivian vessel

Pre-Columbian Tihuanaco (Bolivia, circa 400-900 CE) kero-form vessel ($40,000-$60,000). All images courtesy Artemis Gallery

Among the potential headliners is a very large vessel from Bolivia. The Tihuanaco (circa 400-900 CE) kero-form vessel features a projecting three-dimensional jaguar effigy head. The piece is certified authentic by Nicholas Stoetzer of Stoetzer, Inc. fine Art Services, Miami. It will convey with the report from that examination.The estimate on this piece is between $40,000 and $60,000

From the mysterious land of the Sphinx and Great Pyramid of Giza, comes a fascinating selection of antiquities. Items include an 8.4-inch-tall Egyptian faience ushabti of Sema Taui (circa 380-343 BCE). It has an estimate of $7,000 to $9,000. Also up for bid, a limestone panel (circa 1550-712 BCE). The panel features carvings of an owl, tilapia, and human face, among other images. It heads into the sale with an estimate of $12,000 to $16,000.

Prestigious provenance accompanies two lots, in particular: a superb bronze figure of Osiris (ex Parke-Bernet), with an estimate of $40,000-$60,000; and a papyrus fragment from The Book of the Dead (ex Christie’s), which appears together with a polychrome stucco cartonnage fragment depicting a procession of female deities, est. $4,000-$6,000. A museum-exhibition example textile from the Egyptian Coptic period. It dates to the 4th to 6th century CE. Dancers and musicians appear on the textile, which carries an estimate of $6,000 to $9,000.

Eye on Early Greek Metalwork

A selection of Ancient Greek pottery and metalwork appear in the sale. Two top highlights include, an Apulian red-figure plate decorated with a Lady of Fashion, $2,400-$3,600; and a Hellenistic bronze kylix/drinking vessel, $2,500-$3,500. Three Greek sculptural artworks are worthy of special mention, as well. An expressive circa 500 BCE terracotta relief of the satyr Marsyas, which is TL tested, may reach $4,000-$6,000; while a larger-than-lifesize bronze of a sandaled foot from a statue, complete with lead weights inside its hollow foot, is estimated at $9,000-$12,000. An important circa 600-400 BCE Etruscan votive bust of a young man, TL tested and from a Swiss private collection, comes to auction with a $14,000-$18,000 estimate.

A stunning Roman Imperial Period bronze oil lamp, circa 1st to 3rd century CE, has a bifurcated handle depicting a three-dimensional male head, most likely a god. It’s pre-sale estimate is $5,000-$7,000. Another wonderful Roman figural piece is a high-quality cast bronze finial in the form of a prancing horse. In conclusion, this well provenance circa 2nd to 3rd century CE artwork is estimated at $3,500-$5,000.

Appealing to Nordic Interests

Viking jewelry and relics continue to attract new collectors to Artemis sales, which almost

Viking pendant

20K gold filigree Viking pendant, circa 10th to 11th century CE ($3,000-$4,500).

consistently contain an excellent array of Nordic rarities from which to choose. This time the Viking trove includes a rare 20K gold filigree pendant, circa 10th to 11th century CE, with the image of a dragon on the obverse. Weighing 10.4 grams, it has an estimate of $3,000 to $4,500. Additional treasures in this section include a magnificent silver torq of lunate form with stippled and stamped designs, $4,000-$6,000. Another excellent example of a cast-silver Thor’s Hammer pendant, $2,000-$3,000.

Furthermore, near Eastern highlights include two remarkable swords: a circa 1100 BCE Luristan iron sword with elaborate handle, $4,000-$6,000; and a Caspian Sea bronze sword cast as a single piece, with provenance that includes the Harmer Rooke Gallery, NYC. As a result, it carries an estimate of $3,500 to $5,000.

Also, the auction is brimming with Asian highlights from distinguished collections. One of the most intriguing is a 19th-century Naga (northeastern India/northwestern Burma) shield and spear from the last quarter 19th century. The wicker, leather and fur shield is decorated with six bone carvings of anthropomorphic faces below five monkey skulls. It is estimated at $4,000-$6,000. In addition, a sandstone head of Dvarapala (Cambodia, Khmer) from the Angkor Period (circa 11th century) stands 13 inches high on its included custom stand, $6,000-$9,000; while a set of 12 Chinese Ming Dynasty pottery figures designed as tomb attendants in draped “gowns” represents all of the different signs of the zodiac. In conclusion, this visually appealing set may make $6,000-$8,000.

Venus Makes An Appearance

Pre-Columbian artworks range from a Valdivian redware Venus figure, $4,000-$6,000; to an Olmec robin’s-egg blue jade maskette, $8,000-$12,000; and a published Mayan Peten polychrome tripodal bowl with Sotheby’s provenance, $15,000-$20,000. 

Finally, the auction also includes tribal art from the Northwest Coast USA, including two beautiful totems and a Haida Tree of Life button blanket; a published early 20th-century Maori carved-wood couple, and early Russian icons. A premier example of European artistry is the late 19th- to early 20th-century Austrian cold-painted bronze with glass sculpture titled The Musician. It stands 15 inches high and is an exquisite example of the type of work for which the Bergmann foundry was so well known. Previously sold at Christie’s NYC, it comes with a COA and is estimated at $20,000-$40,000.

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