LOS ANGELES - Ancient Resource, LLC is proud to present an exciting array of ancient art in its April 6th auction, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers and Artfact.com. The auction contains more than 360 lots of well-provenanced goods representing a range of cultures, from the exceptionally rare Babylonian through Egyptian Greek and Roman, to all of the diverse peoples of the New World.
The market for antiquities continues to soar as better pieces enter the realm of tangible assets. Many view antiquities as a viable hedge against inflation and the declining dollar. Provenance is important in this category, and the bulk of Ancient Resource's selections come from select US estates and European collections assembled from the late 19th and early 20th century.
Auction highlights with a bit of history:
The 21st Dynasty marked the height of the Egyptian development of blue glazed faience. Glazed in this deep rich color, faience was perceived as substitute for blue-green materials such as turquoise, found in the Sinai peninsula, and lapis lazuli, from Afghanistan. The symbolism embedded in blue glazing could recall both the Nile, the waters of heaven and the home of the gods. Our ushabti epitomizes the quality of the period:
Lot 59. A beautiful Egyptian bicolor faience ushabti, 3rd Intermediate Period, 21st Dynasty, c. 1075 - 945 BC, mummiform, wearing tripartite wig with seshed head-band, arms folded over chest, each hand holding a hoe, bag on back, column of text down front. H: 3 ½” (8.9 cm). Intact and in superb condition. 19th Century collection label on back. Ex English private collection.________________________________________________________________________________
The vast majority of canopic jars were produced in limestone or pottery. In the Third Intermediate Period and later, dummy canopic jars were introduced. Improved embalming techniques allowed the viscera to remain in the body; the traditional jars remained a feature of tombs, but were no longer hollowed out for storage of the organs. This change allowed for the production of magnificent jars in faience. Our lid capped one of his highly unusual pieces:
> Lot 108. A choice bi-color faience canopic lid in the form of Qebehsenuef, 3rd Intermediate Period, c. 1075 - 665 BC, the falcon-headed canopic deity which is one of the “Four Sons of Horus’. The jar lid is beautiful detailed with dark blue lines in the striated wig and black cosmetic details, all over the bright turquoise base. 1 3/8” x 1 ¾” (3.5 x 4.7 cm). Ex New York City private Collection.
In ancient Egypt, mummification was as much an art as it was a ritual of life and death. This was especially true during Egypt’s golden age of the New Kingdom. Weeks of special attention were given to the deceased during the mummification process, above all for the bodies of kings and important officials. It is extremely rare to find mummified remains showing this high level of care and preparation, and we are fortunate enough to offer such a specimen from a highly esteemed institution.
A wonderfully preserved head from an Egyptian Mummy, New Kingdom, c. 1570 - 1075 BC. The mummification technique used here exemplifies the finest traditions of New Kingdom procedures. The features of the regal looking face are perfectly detailed, the fine linen still tightly wrapped and exuding the scent of the anointment oils. If not a royal, which will take further research, it can be said with great assurance that this is the head of a high official. Offered in a mahogany display stand with a plexiglass cover. Roughly 8 1/2" x 7". Head in very stable condition, tight wrappings and attached tufts of hair. A significantly inferior mummified head last sold at Heritage for over $31,000. Our lot is a much finer representation of the finest form of mummification.. In the 1700 and 1800's mummies were sought out by medical schools for research, dissection and curiosity. Ex. University of Edinburgh Medical College.
The first of January was dedicated by the Romans to their God of Gates and Doors, Janus. he is commonly depicted with two faces...one regarding what is behind and the other looking toward what lies ahead. Thus, Janus is representative of contemplation on the happenings of an old year while looking forward to the new. Some sources claim that Janus was characterized in such a peculiar fashion due to the notion that doors and gates look in two directions. Therefore, the God could look both backward and forward at the same time. Originally, Janus was portrayed with one bearded face and the other clean-shaven, which may have symbolized the moon and the sun, or age and youth. Our lot continues that theme but uses Dionysos as a subject:
> Lot 124. A Roman marble janiform herm, 1st - 2nd Century AD, one side depicting Dionysos with curled beard and moustache and wearing foliate wreath with vines to either side of his head. The opposite side depicts a youthful satyr with short curly hair, his eyes wide and his mouth slightly open. H: 8” (20 cm). Mounted on custom base. Ex Charles Ede Ltd, London 1988; Ex German private collection, acquired from Christies, 18 Oct. 2005.
Terra cotta figures of women bearing gifts were quite popular in Ancient Greece. The great majority of the figurines simply represent a woman upright, without attribute. These latter figurines were offered in all sanctuaries, independently of the divinity. The terracotta figurines were often purchased at the entry of the sanctuary and placed on temple benches or next to the cult God. They were used to replace offerings in kind, like animals or food. Our lot is a beautiful example of a female offering this type of gift.
> Lot 172. A Greek terracotta figure of a woman, c. 5th Century BC, wearing chiton and himation, her necklace with large diamond-shaped pendant beads. In her arms she clutches what appears to be apple, her facial expression is calm and serine and her hair is styled back in ridges. Some losses to feet, but an attractive piece mounted on a custom metal base. Ex English private collection, acquired prior to 1980.
The Inca made beautiful objects of gold, silver, copper, bronze and tumbago. But precious metals were in shorter supply than in earlier Peruvian cultures so surviving works in silver are quite rare. The Inca metalworking style draws much of its inspiration from Chimu art and in fact the best metal workers of Chan Chan were transferred to Cusco when the Kingdom of Chimor was incorporated into the empire. The metalworks of the Incas were perhaps the most advanced in America. When the Spanish encountered the Incas most of the silver and gold goods were melted down for bullion. As a result we are quite pleased to offer:
> Lot 352. A late Inca heavy pure silver mirror, Peru, c. AD 1000 - 1450, heavy and of solid construction, the handle with rectangular profile and rounded base, the rounded end pounded flat and polished, a central hole, perhaps for suspension or for a decorative applique. H: 12 1/8” (30.7 cm). Intact, the front side cleaned and re-polished, the back side with original patina. Mounted on custom base. Property from the Collection of Marjorie and Charles Benton, Evanston, Illinois.
The Chimu people of Peru were master metal smiths. Although copper is found naturally on the coast, it was mostly attained from the highlands in an area about 3 days away. Since most of the copper was imported, it is likely that most of the metal objects that were made were likely very small. The pieces, such as wires, needles, digging stick points, tweezers, and personal ornaments, are consistently small, utilitarian objects of copper or copper bronze. That said our offering in the Chimu bronze area is quite unique.