Pax Romana’s Nov. 8 & 15 auctions feature ancient art, jewellery, weaponry

China, Tang Dynasty, pottery figurine of a Bactrian camel and rider, circa 618-907 A.D., 610mm x 440mm. Provenance: Private collection of Oxford professional, formed in 1970s-1990s on UK art market. Estimate £6,000-£12,000

LONDON – Pax Romana Auctions will host a no-reserve two-part online sale of antiquities, jewellery, ancient weaponry, Asian and classic art on successive Sundays, November 8 and 15. The first of the two auction sessions celebrates “Masterpieces of Ancient Asia,” while the second is titled “Ancient Jewellery, Weaponry and Classical Art.” Bidders are invited to participate absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

The Nov. 8 session focuses on Asian masterpieces, while Nov. 15 sale features ancient jewellery, weaponry and classical art

Curated by the auction house’s director Ivan Bonchev (Ph.D., University of Oxford), the sale spans over 5,000 years of history, with virtual journeys to the Indus Valley Civilization and Ancient Egypt, as well as the lands of Medieval Crusaders and Ming Dynasty China. Many of the pieces – especially the breathtaking jewellery – would make unique gifts worth considering in the run-up to Christmas.

The Masterpieces of Ancient Asia sale on November 8 includes 196 lots. Some of the largest pieces are those of Chinese stone and terracotta. For example, Lot 13 is an incredible standing Buddha that dates from the Northern Qi Dynasty and measures nearly a meter tall. Elegantly carved, it would make an impressive addition to any room.

China, Northern Qi Dynasty, cream-colored stone torso of standing Buddha without hands or head (probably made of precious metals), circa 549-577 A.D., 900mm tall on custom stand. Provenance: Old Somerset (England) collection of Asian art formed in 1980s/1990s. Estimate £20,000-£40,000

Similarly imposing, Lot 14 is a magnificent Tang Dynasty gilded head of a Buddha with red painted accents and a peaceful facial expression. Each of these lots is estimated at £20,000-£40,000.

China, Tang Dynasty gilded stone head of Buddha with two-tiered ‘snail-shell’ hair curls ornamented by red spiraling ‘jewel,’ circa 618-907 A.D., 530mm tall on custom stand. Provenance: Old Somerset (England) collection of Asian art formed in 1980s/1990s. Estimate £20,000-£40,000

In crafted terracotta, one can experience a great appreciation of Chinese artifacts through their detail and the “personality” rendered by the artist. For example, Lot 3, a one-of-a-kind Tang Dynasty Camel and Rider reflects a level of craftsmanship that imbues extraordinary charm in both the rider and his mount. Estimate: £6,000-£12,000. Lot 26 is a striking Han Dynasty figure of a court lady, garbed in a beautiful robe and delivering a direct stare to the observer. The figure is estimated at £2,000-£4,000.

Among the rarest pieces in the Asian selection are four Ancient Chinese bronzes, which have been tested and authenticated by an independent Belgian Laboratory. Including a ceremonial gui and you, the pieces once held great ritual importance and are a revered part of Chinese history. These four bronzes are extremely rare. Similar examples have commanded auction prices in excess of $100,000. Pax Romana’s estimates range from £6,000-£12,000 and, at the upper end, £20,000-£40,000.

Four extremely rare Ancient Chinese bronzes, independently tested by a Belgian laboratory. Estimates range from £6,000-£12,000 and, at the upper end, £20,000-£40,000.

Moving on geographically, the auction also includes some incredible items from southwestern Asia. From ancient Gandhara, there are a number of stunning schist statues. Intricately carved in a Greco-Buddhist style, the figures are representations of the many cultures that passed through this important trading center. Lot 39 is a schist head of a Bodhisattva, someone who has reached enlightenment, with a thin moustache and strong presence. This piece has an estimate of £6,000-£12,000. Lot 33, a majestic standing Bodhisattva, is expected to make £4,000-£8,000.

Life-size Gandharan schist head of a Bodhisattva, with elaborate coiffure featuring topknot, elaborate headpiece, heavy eyelids, undulating moustache above closed mouth, 100-300 A.D., 310mm tall. Provenance: Old British collection of Asian art formed in 1990 on UK and European art markets. Estimate £6,000-£12,000

Proceeding farther west, the auction present artifacts left by powerful Islamic empires, including the Seljuks. Lot 73, a Seljuk mortar and pestle, would have been used either for food preparation or the creation of medieval medicine. An excellently decorated and well preserved example of an important instrument of everyday Seljuk life, it has an estimate of £2,000-£3,000.

Seljuk Islamic bronze mortar and pestle, circa 1100 A.D., excellent condition and patina. Provenance: Important collection of London doctor, passed by descent to his son. Originally acquired in 1980s on UK art market. Estimate £2,000-£3,000

The second of the two auctions, on November 15, will showcase weaponry and classical art, as well as a superb and extremely rare collection of wearable ancient jewellery pieces. For the animal lovers amongst us, two pieces that immediately catch the eye. Lot 2 is a fully authenticated Celtic gold ring featuring three small ducks that often symbolized grace and resourcefulness in Celtic culture. Lot 193 similarly shows three animals: a mother cat with her two kittens. Carved from carnelian and dating to Ancient Egypt the felines are representative of the goddess Bastet, who was endowed with protective powers. The former has an estimate of £4,000-£8,000 and the latter, £4,000-£6,000.

Rare Celtic Iron Age gold ring comprising three hoops with filigree-decorated shoulders, joined by bezel surmounted by three miniature figural ducks, circa 200 B.C., authenticated via XRF analysis from independent Belgian laboratory. Provenance: Property of a London gentleman, formerly with the Parthenon gallery; previously in old English collection formed in the 1980s. Estimate £4,000-£6,000

Shifting the focus to Ancient Greece, Pax Romana presents a fully authenticated gold ring from the Hellenistic period that depicts the myth of Leda and the Swan. Demonstrating the advanced technology of Greek jewellery-making in this period, and illustrating characters from an important Greek myth, the piece has an estimate of £3,000-£6,000. Also dating from the Hellenistic period, lot 209, a pair of beautiful and complex gold filigree earrings, has an estimate of £4,000-£6,000.

From the early medieval period in the Byzantine empire comes Lot 11, a gold cross with a central cabochon garnet and an unusual feature: large, well-cut garnets serving as the limbs of the crucifix. This piece is one of a kind and could only have been owned by one of the wealthiest of Byzantine noblemen. Estimate: £2,000-£3,000

Wearable Byzantine gold cross with central garnet cabochon and tapering garnet arms, circa 1100-1300 A.C. Provenance: Collection of gentleman based in London, formerly in old British collection, acquired in 1980s. Estimate £2,000-£4,000

Weaponry is always a highlight of Pax Romana events, and this auction does not disappoint. The November 15 opener is a very rare and fully authenticated Roman Bronze Montefortino helmet with an estimate of £20,000-£30,000. Also, a remarkable Greek Chalcidian helmet embossed with images of deer is entered as Lot 13, also with an estimate of £20,000-£30,000.

Very rare Roman Montefortino bronze helmet of type worn by Roman soldiers during Roman Republic era, circa 100-50 B.C., authenticated via XRF analysis from independent Belgian laboratory. Provenance: Property of London doctor, private Oxford (England) collection, acquired mid-1980s on UK art market. £20,000-£30,000

The Classical Art section is distinguished by masterfully painted kraters shown as Lots 487 and 489. Both are from Southern Italy and reflect the importance of wine and the social, cultural and political events that centred around the mixing, pouring and drinking of it. No two kraters are ever the same and therefore are prized for their original designs. Each of the kraters carries an estimate of £6,000-£12,000.

Southern Italian, Apulian, terracotta red-figure bell krater with flaring rim, lug handles; circa 300 B.C. Side A depicts seated aristocratic woman holding phiale (libation bowl), confronted by crouching Nike holding vessels, 280mm high x 325mm wide. Provenance: Kent (England) private collection; previously in old British collection formed in the 1980s on the UK/European art markets. Estimate £4,000-£6,000

Classical artworks of Ancient Rome complete the auction highlights. Lot 485 is a marble head possibly depicting a Roman philosopher. With an inquisitive expression, this piece would make a stunning focal point for any collection and is estimated at £4,000-£6,000. Lot 502, a Roman ritual patera used during religious events, has a wonderful patina and is estimated at £2,000-£3,000.

Bid absentee or live online in both sessions, November 8 and November 15, via LiveAuctioneers.com. There are no reserves in either sale. All items will be carefully packed and shipped by Pax Romana’s expert in-house team. For additional information on any auction item call Dr. Ivan Bonchev, Director, Pax Romana, on +44 758 5515618 or email enquiries@paxromana.auction. Online: www.paxromana.auction.

Note: Rate of exchange today is £1=US$1.30

 

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