BOULDER, Colo. – On May 18, the Old World will reveal its fascinating treasures in Artemis Gallery’s 351-lot auction of important classical antiquities, ancient and ethnographic art. Each piece has been scrupulously authenticated and described in expert detail in the online catalog, so bidders can confidently choose from an unparalleled selection of legally acquired, fully guaranteed art and artifacts from history’s greatest civilizations. Many pieces previously resided in distinguished private or institutional collections.
Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
As is the custom in all Artemis Gallery auctions, a timeline allows collectors to focus on periods and cultures of greatest interest to them, whether it is the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans or Etruscans, or the early societies of the Far East, Africa or the Pre-Columbian era.
The auction will open with an Egyptian cast-bronze figure of Osiris (below) from the Third Intermediate Period to the Late Dynastic Period, circa 1070-332 BCE. A heavy, well-detailed depiction of the mummiform god of the Underworld, this votive figure was likely kept in a wealthy family’s home or in a temple for use as a ritual object. It stands 9.25 inches high (on plinth) and is expected to sell for $9,000-$12,000.
Also of note in the Egyptian section are Lot 3, a wood panel – probably a coffin cover – carved with the Eyes of Horus and other hieroglyphs, $4,000-$6,000; and Lot 4, a Ptolemaic to Romano Egyptian (circa 3rd century BCE to 1st century CE) plaster/ground gypsum mummy mask of a male with distinctively molded and painted features (below), which is estimated at $6,000-$8,000.
A strong array of Ancient Greek relics is led by Lot 7C, a molded and incised circa 5th century BCE bronze helmet whose style is known as “Pseudo-Corinthian.” Artemis Gallery Executive Director Teresa Dodge explained that the term refers to “a style of construction in which the helmet is worn on the head but gives the impression that it covers the face. There are false eyeholes and an elongated noseguard on the actual helmet, so it renders the impression of a face mask to those who approach. Helmets of this type are found in elite museums such as The British Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.” Auction estimate: $25,000-$30,000. Other Greek highlights include a fine Apulian polychrome fishplate and a Messapian trozella (tomb vessel) formerly in the collection of British film star and author David Niven (1910-1983).
The Ancient Roman section offers a variety of media objects, from a mosaic depicting twin birds, to a marble torso of a youth, to unusual glass forms. There are vessels, jewelry designs, a stirring stick, and perhaps most unusual of all, Lot 33, a Roman glass baby feeding bottle (below) estimated at $900-$1,800.
Lot 42K is an incredible 24K gold pendant with a colorful cloisonné enamel depiction of Jesus Christ (below). Executed to a very high standard, it has a gold self-loop, making it a wearable artwork. “Byzantine cloisonné work was so beautiful that it inspired artisans throughout the Migration period in well into medieval Europe,” Dodge noted. “Just as it is today, this pendant would have been a valuable, rare and treasured item to its original owner.” Estimate: $6,000-$9,000.
Many Asian cultures are represented in the sale, with highlights including a 4th century Indian Gupta Dynasty sandstone carving of a lion head, a Pakistan or northern India Punjab red sandstone fragment of the head of Vishnu, and two very special Cambodian Khmer artworks. Lot 66 is a scrupulously detailed bronze shrine or temple, est. $10,000-$15,000; while Lot 62 is a circa 12th-13th century CE high-relief sandstone panel of a dancing aspara figure (below). It is estimated at $5,000-$7,000.
From the Pre-Columbian world, Artemis offers Lot 83C, a circa 1000-1500 CE Costa Rican figure of a shaman carved from porous volcanic stone. The subject wears a conical, peaked hat and holds a snake under his chin, perhaps symbolically channeling himself into a serpent. With provenance from the Whisnant Gallery in New Orleans, the figure is estimated at $3,000-$4,500.
A favorite form with collectors of Pre-Columbian art is the Colima (West Mexico) redware dog. The May 18 auction offers an especially fine example as Lot 73. Its body serves as a vessel, and a pouring spout emerges from the top of the seated dog’s head. His human-like teeth are bared in a grin, and his perky ears point upward, as though he is alert to a sound. Standing 10.5 inches high, the nicely shaped pottery pup is cataloged with a $4,000-$6,000 estimate.
Ethnographic art includes a choice late-19th/early 20th century CE Maori jade pendant or ear ornament, $7,000-$9,000; and a vibrant circa 19th-century CE Woodlands Indian beaded bandolier bag with provenance from the Museum of American Indians, $3,000-$5,000. Lot 84H, a circa-1870 CE Nootka painted cedar-bark basketry hat from the Pacific Northwest, is of the type that Lewis and Clark collected while exploring the Columbia River. Previously auctioned at Sotheby’s New York (2012), it now comes to auction with an $8,000-$12,000 estimate.
The sale also features wonderful examples of Spanish Colonial art, Viking and Byzantine jewelry; antique edged weapons, Russian icons, and other captivating survivors from civilizations that are long gone.
For additional information about any item in the auction, call Teresa Dodge at 720-502-5289 or email email@example.com.