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Lot 65019


Unknown maker, circa 1909
7-1/2 inches (19.2 cm) high

This sculpture of a falconer, made of different semi-precious stones, represents a Russian falconer of the 17th century dressed in a corresponding historical costume. The tradition of creating hardstone figures was started in the late 19th-early 20th century by the famous St. Petersburg Company of Carl Fabergé, which revived the technique of the three-dimensional Florentine mosaic. This item was created in the style of Fabergé.

The figure is executed in a complicated technique out of three-dimensional pieces of semi-precious stones adjoined with pins and special glue. This labor-consuming, complicated work required the highest level of experience, skill and special knowledge.

The falconer's saber, arrows and bow are crafted from precious metals. The saber is executed accurately and painstakingly, and can be unsheathed. There are 25 rose cut diamonds carefully set throughout the figure as noted in the sheath, the falcon's eyes, and as the buttons on the caftan. Purpurin, a vitreous substance of deep red color invented by a worker at the Imperial Glass Factory in St Petersburg, is featured in the falconer's collar, cuff, and sash.

In the falconer sculpture a deliberate small distortion of proportions produces a comic impression. The coloring of the figure is based on the combination of red, green and beige; it is reserved and harmonious; the precious metal details vivify the figure with bright strokes.

Marks were stamped on the gold edge of the caftan, as well as on the sword and underside of the base, including the hallmark for gold (56 (583) - 14 karat); Russian State Hallmark Department for secondary details - female head in kokoshnik (Russian head decoration) turned to the right, enclosed into the circle (which was used in 1908-1917) of the master H. W. in the oval - Henrik Wigstrom, the head of one of Fabergé's workshops.

The falconer figure is distinguished in its high quality of execution, accurate fit of all stone details, and skillful work on metal detail - ammunition, quiver and saber. Especially nice is the modeling of the falcon's figure, its treatment in the technique of chasing and further engraving. The stone details are very well treated and highly polished.

Independent gem and mineral evaluations as well as metal spectroanalysis accompany the lot and are available for bidder review.

Provenance: From the collection of Kenneth Pushkin

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Estimate $50,000 - $75,000Nov 14, 2008
Starting Bid $25,000
Dallas, TX, USA