BOULDER, Colo. – Fresh collections with impeccable provenance and an ironclad guarantee of authenticity and legality form the core of Artemis Gallery’s Wednesday, April 20, auction. The expertly curated 400-lot selection includes ancient weapons, Asian and ethnographic art, and other great rarities. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.com.
The sale will open with prized ancient weapons from the collection of the late John Piscopo. His holdings span numerous cultures over a timeline that fittingly begins with Lot 1 – an Egyptian pre-Dynastic flint blade that dates to circa 4000-3100 BCE. Measuring 5.35 inches long and with similarities to the blade of a knife in The Louvre’s collection, its estimate is $1,200-$1,800. Lot 27, a Viking iron battle ax, circa 1000 CE and discovered in northern Europe, is estimated at $500-$750. Another deadly hand-wrought weapon is Lot 71A (above), a massive ancient Chinese bronze ge (pole ax with lengthy blade). Dating to circa 450-100 BCE, it would have been attached to a long pole and swung with great speed and mortal consequences. It is expected to make $2,400-$3,400.
An extraordinarily decorative war relic from 17th-century Scotland, Lot 29C is a round, bronze-studded leather and wood shield known as a targe (below). Until the landmark Battle of Culloden in 1746, this type of implement was the Scottish Highlander’s main form of defense in battle. Consigned directly from a private collection where it was held for more than 30 years, it is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.
Also among the stellar weapons offerings is the collection of Indonesian kris (keris) handles amassed by the late Ami Brown (1929-2010), a renowned antique Asian armaments and art collector whose business successes included the founding of Coca-Cola Israel. Many examples from this collection were previously displayed in the Ein Harod Museum of Art. A top highlight is Lot 40, a circa-17th or18th-century high-karat gold handle from Southeastern Asia in the form of Nyamba, a Sub-Saharan African god. The character’s jewel-studded crown indicates the owner of the sword that was topped by this hilt was a person of high status. The piece is estimated at $5,000-$7,500. Also noteworthy are Lot 42, a 17th/18th-century Thai silver and ebony kris in the form of a garuda (long-beaked bird), $1,500-$2,000; and Lot 66, an 18th-century Indonesian kris elaborately carved to replicate a fearsome demon, $2,500-$3,500.
Many lots come with major museum provenance. Lot 28, a 15th/16th-century German or Swiss iron halbert (below) stands 8ft tall and has a blade that measures 28½ inches long. An impressive example of its type, it was deemed worthy of inclusion in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is offered with a $3,200-$4,500 estimate. Also, a circa 618-906 CE Chinese Tang Dynasty horse and rider, exhibited in the 1960s at the Denver Art Museum, is entered as Lot 74 with expectations of reaching $7,000-$9,000.
Lot 72C, a rare and highly important stone head of a Bodhisattva, boasts a trail of provenance that includes its April 5, 1956 sale at Parke-Bernet Galleries as part of the Tonying & Co., collection of Chinese art. From the Northern Wei Dynasty, circa 386-534 BCE, the carved head is 6¼ inches high and made of gray schist. It is similar to a head from the same period and the same source (Longmen Caves) that sold for $158,500 at a September 2010 auction at Christie’s. A conservative estimate of $25,000-$35,000 has been placed on this ancient treasure.
Fifteen lots of antique European textiles come with provenance from the collection of Her Majesty Queen Elena, wife of His Majesty Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy; and subsequently by descent to Her Majesty Queen Giovanna of Bulgaria, and Maria Luisa of Bulgaria. A highlight of the collection is Lot 130P, a 17th-century CE Flemish Baroque tapestry titled The Bath (below). Measuring 74½ by 86¾ inches, it depicts two maidens in billowing robes bathing an infant, perhaps a holy child, while another maiden looks on. Its auction estimate is $6,000-$9,000.
Fine Pre-Columbian art is a staple of Artemis Galleries’ auctions. The April 20 selection includes an absolute charmer – a Huari Culture (southern coastal Peru, circa 700-1000 CE) pottery vessel in the form of a river otter (below) . Polychrome painted, the otter’s tilted three-dimensional head has a detailed mouth with “teeth,” carved whiskers on both sides of its nose, and bas-relief eyes that masterfully capture the creature’s playful nature. Estimate: $6,000-$9,000.
The sale also features beautiful paintings from several cultures and periods. Lot 135A, a circa-19th-century oil-on-canvas from Spanish-Colonial Mexico, depicts two venerable bishops, Srs. Medardo and Gildardo, who were known as advocates for the poor. Standing amid symbols of Catholicism, the high clergymen are accompanied by a pair of angels holding up the traditional mitered hats worn by bishops. Ex Historia Antiques/James Caswell collection, the historical artwork (below) is estimated at $5,000-$7,500.
All items in the auction are unconditionally guaranteed to be authentic and to have been legally acquired. As an additional service to its customers, Artemis Gallery carefully packs all goods in-house to ensure a safe delivery.
Bidders may participate in Artemis Gallery’s Wednesday, April 20, auction absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.com. The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern. For additional information about any item in the auction, call Teresa Dodge at 720-890-7700 or email email@example.com.