BOULDER, Colo. – It is obvious when a collection of any type has been amassed with passion and perseverance. That is the case with the extensive and exceptionally fine collection of antiquities, Asian and ethnographic artworks at the heart of Artemis Gallery’s December 5-6 auction. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
“The couple who consigned their remarkable collection to us never wavered in their quest to locate the most culturally significant pieces,” said Artemis Gallery Managing Director Teresa Dodge. “Their dedication and ability to identify objects of historical importance will now benefit many other collectors, including those who may be new to the pursuit, because all items will open at a low price, with no reserve.” In addition to the featured collection, the 521-lot auction includes a number of select pieces from other consignors. All purchases convey with Artemis Gallery’s unconditional guarantee that they are authentic and legal to purchase, own, and if desired, resell.
In their trademark fashion, Artemis has organized the upcoming auction chronologically, starting with Ancient Egyptian relics. The mysterious rituals and icons of the people who dominated the “cradle of civilization” on the Nile are showcased by such offerings as a beautiful pre-Dynastic Naqada (circa 3600-3300 BCE) black-top pottery vessel, estimate $2,000-$3,000; and a huge (55in. high) circa 305-30 BCE Ptolemaic sarcophagus panel with a painted rendering of the goddess Nut, $20,000-$30,000. A wonderfully detailed cast-bronze figure depicting the goddess Bastet (or Bast), who has the body of a human woman and the head of a cat, dates to circa 712-332 BCE and is expected to secure a winning bid of $5,000-$7,000.
Several very fine examples of Greek Attic pottery will be auctioned, including a black-figure trefoil oinochoe with Sphinx imagery, $7,000-$9,000; a calyx krater emblazoned with a scene of Nike and combatants, $9,000-$12,000; and a superb lidded black-figure amphora by the Priam Painter, circa 520-510 BCE. This vessel, which has been TL tested, is particularly important because the Priam Painter was one of the most sophisticated artists of his time. Estimate: $15,000-$20,000. Other Egyptian highlights include a leaded-bronze figure of s striding Thoth with an offering, $5,000-$7,000; a rare and finely patinated Late Dynastic Period (circa 664-332 BCE) wooden female concubine statue, $1,500-$2,000; and a mummified sacred Ibis (bird), $2,500-$4,000.
The Ancient Roman category is widely varied, spanning fine art, militaria and quintessential examples of the type of glass jewelry that launched a tradition of Italian glassmaking that continues to this day. A circa 2nd century CE brass roundel bears the repousse motif of a woman, likely the Gallic goddess of horses, Epona, on her mount with two other horses in the background. Estimate: $5,000-$7,000. A marble face of a satyr in relief, ex Sotheby’s, is estimated at $2,500-$3,500; while a massive (52 x 24in.), framed 3rd-5th century stone mosaic (shown at top of page) depicting a playful dolphin swimming with a number of well detailed fish, carries a $40,000-$60,000 estimate. A potential ladies’ holiday gift that can’t miss is a stunning Roman/Byzantine necklace composed of 58 ancient glass and stone beads. A full 22.5 inches long and dating to circa 300-1200 CE, this one-of-a-kind creation is entered with a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.
The Near Eastern selection serves to showcase the remarkable tradition of metal artistry that developed in various cultures of far western Asia before and during the 1st millennium CE. A rare circa 9th-7th century CE Luristan bronze cup with low-relief images of winged bulls is presented on a custom stand and has an $8,000-$12,000 estimate. Form and function join forces in a pair of handsome Archaemenid (circa 500-330 BCE) leaded-bronze hinges emblazoned with lions, a symbol of royalty as evidenced by examples seen in the palace of Persepolis. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000.
An exciting array of Asian art includes a number of Chinese treasures, such as a Neolithic Liangzhu culture greenstone bi disc that dates to circa 3400-2250 BCE. “The fact that the disc is undecorated confirms that it is from the Neolithic period,” Teresa Dodge noted. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000. A rare Sui Dynasty glazed pottery horse, 581-618 CE, is expected to make $5,000-$7,500; while a Ming Dynasty glazed ceramic fu dog in a playful pose, circa 1368-$1644 CE, could leap to $2,400-$3,600 at auction.
Day 2 is devoted primarily to Pre-Columbian and ethnographic art. The list of highlights is a long and impressive one. One of the top pieces is an enormous (21.375 x 18.125in. high) Mayan Territories (Guatemala) pottery cache vessel with molded relief jaguar heads and a central, open-mouthed feline with visible claws. Made during the Classic Period, circa 250-900 CE, it has been TL tested and confirmed to be ancient and “of the period.” Estimate: $10,000-$15,000
Yet another Pre-Columbian pottery standout is a polychrome Mayan Ulua Valley (Honduras) cylinder vessel encircled with richly hued iconography. The theme is of a seated lord wearing an immense, highly decorative headdress, with painted “World Tree” crosses positioned so to represent the four cardinal directions. Fascinating and visually appealing, it is estimated at $4,500-$6,750.
An imposing 15-inch high Mexcala stone figure of the “M-14” type, circa 300-100 BCE, originated in Guerrero, Mexico, and was carved and string-cut from a veined green stone. Having a long line of prestigious provenance, it also comes with authenticating paperwork prepared in 1972 by Hasso von Winning, PhD, of Hollywood, California. Estimate: $12,500-$15,000.
If there is a showstopper in the Pre-Columbian category, it is quite likely Lot 158, an Aztec (Mexico) volcanic-stone sculpture expertly carved to replicate a coiled serpent. Its features – incised beady eyes, an open mouth with sharp fangs, and a long forked tongue – convey an intimating presence, only further enhanced by the rattler at the end of the snake’s body. A similar representation of an Aztec coiled stone snake is held in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Measuring 13.5 by 9.5 by 13 inches, the fearsome reptile in Artemis gallery’s sale carries a $20,000-$30,000 estimate.
Ethnographic art will conclude the two-day event, with highlights including a published Hopewell Native-American stone bird-form pipe, circa 100 BCE to 500 CE; $600-$900; several 20th-century Tlingit (Northwest Pacific Coast) woven reed baskets; and a late-19th or early 20th-century Maori (New Zealand) korere, or feeding funnel, with profuse decorative carving overall, $600-$900.
An Artemis Gallery COA will accompany each and every purchase. The company ships worldwide and has its own in-house 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.