Cultural secrets ‘unmasked’ in Artemis Gallery’s May 12 antiquities auction

Ancient Egyptian cartonnage sarcophagus mask, 712-300 BCE, est. $3,500-$4,500

Ancient Egyptian cartonnage sarcophagus mask, 712-300 BCE, est. $3,500-$4,500

 

BOULDER, Colo. – Those inveterate time-travelers at Artemis Gallery – Bob and Teresa Dodge – are ready to take another virtual trip back in time through the great cultures of the world, and antiquities collectors are invited along for the ride. Their Thursday, May 12 auction offers a wonderful array of masks and mask-like objects that span the centuries from Ancient Egyptian times through 20th-century Mexico. All auction items are unconditionally guaranteed to be authentic and legal to purchase. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.com.

Lot 1, a painted cartonnage sarcophagus mask (pictured above), 712 to 300 BCE, depicts an elegant Egyptian beauty with ochre-painted skin and “kohl” lined eyes, brows and lashes. Formerly in the Ligbue collection of Venice, Italy, it is expected to make $3,500-$4,500 at auction.

A rare 8th-century Nara Period Japanese mask of Karura, one of 14 characters in the gigaku religious dance-drama that was performed for the Japanese royal court at Buddhist temple ceremonies, is entered as Lot 13A. Karura is a giant mythical bird that protects the Buddhist faith, hence its fierce expression. Gigaku masks are the oldest type of Japanese masks in existence, and this example, ex Morgan collection of Santa Fe, N.M., is estimated at $9,000-$12,000.

 

Rare 8th-century Japanese wood Gigaku mask, Karura type, est. $9,000-$12,000

Rare 8th-century Japanese wood Gigaku mask, Karura type, est. $9,000-$12,000

 

From the Sican / Chimu Culture of northern coastal Peru comes a circa 800 to 1000 CE cinnabar-painted copper mask with decorative triangular adornments and mysterious optical projections. Andean people created and placed such masks on the mummies of elite individuals to protect them in the afterlife. Of exceptional quality and presented on a museum-quality black metal stand, the mask carries a pre-sale estimate of $14,000-$21,000.

 

Pre-Columbian Sican/Chimu (northern coastal Peru) painted copper mask, circa 800-1000 CE, est. $14,000-$21,000

Pre-Columbian Sican/Chimu (northern coastal Peru) painted copper mask, circa 800-1000 CE, est. $14,000-$21,000

 

African masks comprise a category of their own in the May 12th auction. An elegant carved wood Guro mask of the female spirit Gu has an elaborate coiffure with studded accents, and filed, peg-like “teeth.” The circa early 20th-century mask is estimated at $2,500-$5,000. Another top highlight is Lot 46, a striking Nigerian Igala wood helmet mask carved from a single piece of wood. Such masks were used to celebrate the tribal king’s might and therefore were crafted to a very high standard. Its estimate is $3,500-$7,000.

 

Elegant African carved wood Guro mask of the female deity Gu, early 20th century CE, est. $2,500-$5,000

Elegant African carved wood Guro mask of the female deity Gu, early 20th century CE, est. $2,500-$5,000

 

Two circa-20th-century Ibibio masks are book examples from the 2013 reference Masks from West and Central Africa: A Celebration of Color and Form. Lot 77B is an Ivory Coast facial mask whose headdress depicts a three-dimensional carved and painted soccer player kicking a ball. Estimate: $1,400-$2,500. Lot 122F, which is from Nigeria, fuses indigenous Ibibio and Christian iconography. Its red facemask with eye slits and plaited “hair,” is surmounted by a three-dimensional depiction of Christ’s crucifixion. Estimate: $1,200-$1,800.

Mexican masks include a Diablo (devil) by the revered mask artist Juan Horta Castillo, a very early wooden dance mask depicting El Viejo (old man), and an early 20th-century Day of the Dead carnival mask, shown below, which is cataloged as Lot 85. The colorful red, cream and black-painted wood mask was formerly in a museum collection and is offered at auction with an $800-$1,200 estimate. There are also a number of desirable masks from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Japan and the American Pacific Northwest.

 

Mexican Day of the Dead carnival mask, early 20th century CE, ex Art for Eternity, NYC; ex Tryworks Collection, est. $800-$1,200

Mexican Day of the Dead carnival mask, early 20th century CE, ex Art for Eternity, NYC; ex Tryworks Collection, est. $800-$1,200

 

In addition, the sale features ethnographic art and antiquities as varied as: a Chinese Tang Dynasty Sancai glazed camel and Han Dynasty standing dog (see below); a Greco-Persian silver phiale (ex Denver Art Museum), an African Yoruba wood offering bowl supported by decorative avian caryatids, and an Etruscan terracotta bust of a woman (ex Sotheby’s).

 

Chinese Han Dynasty standing dog, pottery, circa 206 BCE to 220 CE, ex Sarkisian Gallery, Denver, and exhibited at The Denver Art Museum, est. $1,800-$2,500

Chinese Han Dynasty standing dog, pottery, circa 206 BCE to 220 CE, ex Sarkisian Gallery, Denver, and exhibited at The Denver Art Museum, est. $1,800-$2,500

 

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 Thursday, May 12, 2016 auction either absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.com. The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. For additional information about any item in the auction, call Teresa Dodge at 720-890-7700 or email teresa@artemisgallery.com.

 

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live online at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.