BOULDER, Colo. – Every auction event conducted by Artemis Gallery’s team of antiquities experts is a trip back in time, with exciting artifacts from scores of important cultures just waiting to be discovered. A favorite with collectors, the company’s Exceptional Series features the finest consignments of investment-grade art and artifacts from Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Near Eastern and Far Eastern, and Pre-Columbian cultures. The first Exceptional Auction of the new decade, boasting 351 museum-worthy lots, is slated for Thursday, Feb. 13, with absentee and live-online bidding available through LiveAuctioneers.
Top lots include monumental Pre-Columbian guardian figure, $175,000-$200,000; and Anatolian white marble idol dating to 5th/4th millennium BCE, $90,000-$150,000
The sale opens with a fantastic array of Ancient Egyptian pieces. A blue paste-glass heart scarab amulet (below) inscribed with hieroglyphs (see catalog for translation) dates to circa 664 to 30 BCE, the Late Period to Ptolemaic periods. The top of the amulet displays lifelike scarab beetle details of wings, legs and head. On its underside is a clearly defined five-line series of hieroglyphs, probably from the Book of the Dead. Unlike others of its type, it has never been drilled. The pre-sale estimate is $12,500-$17,500.
A remarkable rarity, a complete set of canopic jars from Egypt’s 26th Dynasty (circa 664-525 BCE) consists of four white and blue glazed faience containers (see top of page), each with a lid formed as the three-dimensional head of a son of Horus. They are: Duamutef (jackal), Imsety (human), Hapi (baboon) and Qebehsenuef (hawk), with the tallest of the quartet standing 8 inches tall. Among the most iconic of all Egyptian artifacts, canopic jars were used to store the organs removed during the mummification process. Accompanied by an Art Loss Certificate, the set is estimated at $50,000-$75,000.
The beautiful selection of Ancient Greek art and artifacts includes marble heads (including a head of Herakles, ex Christie’s, $35,000-$50,000), a variety of masterfully painted Attic vessels, coins, jewelry, 18K gold hair adornments, and bronzes. A rare cast-bronze horse (above) on an openwork self platform, circa last quarter of 8th century BCE, exhibits a style characteristic of wealthy Laconian workshops of its time. The presciently abstract equine is expected to make $15,000-$20,000.
From Ancient Rome to the Internet, Artemis Gallery will offer gorgeous colored glass vessels, wearable gold jewelry, bronze artworks, marble reliefs and statuary, figural oil lamps, mosaics and more. A large (18.1in high), evocative marble relief of Minerva and Arachne (above) is from the Roman Imperial Period, circa 1st to 2nd century CE, and probably came from the side or a sarcophagus or monument. Previously held in New York and Swiss private collections, the stunning relief is accompanied by a digital Art Loss Register Certificate and estimated at $40,000-$60,000.
The Near Eastern category is led by two sensational pieces, the first being an Anatolian annular idol (above) dating back to the 5th to 4th millennium BCE. Hand-carved from a single piece of white marble, the unusually large (13.625in) and weighty ring-form object has an elliptical ‘head’ and openwork ‘eyes.’ “Metallurgy was still in its embryonic stages during the period in which this idol was created, and stone sculptors were limited to tools made from obsidian or emery,” said Artemis Gallery Executive Director Teresa Dodge. “With this in mind, the harmonious balance of the piece is all the more impressive. In our research, we were able to locate only one other example, which was exhibited at the Gagosian Gallery in New York.” Estimate: $90,000-$150,000.
The second Near Eastern highlight is a Mesopotamian or Sumerian hand-carved and incised steatite black panther (above), its eyes inlaid with shell seed beads. The well proportioned figure from the late 4th to early 3rd millennium BCE has resided in at least two European private collections over the past 60 years. A very similar example sold at Christie’s New York in 2011 for $183,500. Estimate: $30,000-$35,000
Among the high-quality Asian antiquities available at various price points are a 46-inch-tall Indian Chola Tamil Nadu stone Vishnu, ex Sotheby’s, $80,000-$100,000; and a 19th-century Tibetan silk thangka with the image of a White Tara Bodhisattva, $8,000-$12,000. Chinese entries include bi discs, finely carved stone depictions of Buddha, Tang Dynasty bronze stirrups, a pair of Han Dynasty ceramic tomb panels (TL-tested), a Ming Dynasty iron eagle-claw mace, and a monumental hand-carved, three-dimensional portrayal of Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion (above). Dating from the Late Ming to early Qing Dynasty (circa 17th-18th century CE), its height is 48 inches and its pre-sale estimate is $50,000-$75,000.
An abundance of exceptional Pre-Columbian art includes a monumental Moche (North Coast Peru) silver and copper guardian figure, circa 100-400 CE, estimated at $175,000-$200,000. Its provenance includes the Ian Arundel collection, Los Angeles (acquired 1950s/’60s), and most recently, a Hawaii private collection. A 20-inch Guatemala Maya polychrome ceramic incensario (above) with Teotihuacan influence, circa 4th century CE, is entered with a $25,000-$35,000 estimate.
The auction features many other fascinating artworks and objects, African/tribal/Oceanic relics, Native American, Spanish colonial and American art; a Japanese Edo samurai’s armor suit and helmet, a Papua New Guinea cowrie-shell-decorated alligator skull, 11 Troodon dinosaur eggs in a matrix, and even a 35-million-year-old fossilized Chilotherium rhino skull.
Artemis Gallery’s Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 Exceptional Auction will start at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. All items come with Artemis Gallery’s guarantee that they are authentic and legal to purchase, own, and if desired, resell. An Artemis Gallery COA will accompany each purchase. The company ships worldwide and has its own in-house white-glove packing and shipping department to ensure quality control. For additional information about any item in the auction, call Teresa Dodge at 720-890-7700 or email email@example.com. Bid absentee or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com.
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