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Antiquities

Christie’s

10 AM, Tuesday, June 13, 2000

Roman marble statue of Diana

Lot 306, Diana, Roman marble statue, circa 2nd Century, A.D., 36 1/2 inches high

By Carter B. Horsley

If you can’t have Audrey Hepburn at the top of your staircase making like a goddess of Samothrace, then the next best thing may be Lot 306, a 36 ½-inch high Roman marble statue of Diana, circa 2nd Century, A.D., that is being offered in this major Antiquities auction at Christie’s, June 13, 2000.

"The goddess of the hunt moving rapidly forward with her right left advanced, wearing boots and a chitoniskos belted below the breasts, the garment clinging to her body from the motion, with crinkly folds billowing to the sides, a mantle draped over her left shoulder, flowing behind and over a portion of the tree stump support, the now-missing head originally separately-made and pinned in place," the catalogue entry noted.

The graceful sculpture was formerly in the collection of the André Emmerich Gallery in New York and has a very conservative estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $64,625 including the buyer's premium as do as results in this article.

It is far more attractive and graceful than some much-higher estimated sculptures such as Lots 292, 299 and 305, which are good but not as romantic.

Lot 292 is a late Hellenistic statue of the Muse Erato, 72 inches high, circa 1st Century B.C. "Erato was the Muse of lyric poetry or hymns, identified by her kithara….Although a work of the late Hellenistic Period, this fine statue recalls earlier Greek sculpture of the 4th Century B.C.," the catalogue noted. The full-figure sculpture, which has quite a serene countenance, has an "estimate on request." It sold for $1,656,000 to a European dealer.

Lot 299 is a late Hellenistic or Roman marble figure of Aphrodite, 55 ½ inches high, circa 1st Century B.C.-1st Century A.D., that is one of many works in the auction that were once in the collection of Dr. Elie Borowski. Christie’s is selling a large selection of Ancient Greek Vases that were formerly part of Dr. Borowski’s collection in an evening auction, Monday, June 12, 2000. Dr. Borowski was a scholar, collector and connoisseur of ancient art and was for a time a curator at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and his collection would eventually form the core of the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem. The works being put up at auction were sold about 10 years ago by Dr. Borowski to "pave the way for the building of the Bible Lands Museum." The catalogue notes that "this beautiful marble sculpture strongly recalls the pose and proportions of the so-called ‘Capitoline Venus…The top of the head above the center part, the noise, the right leg from below the knee and the left leg from mid calf are modern restorations." The lot, which is both the cover and the back-cover illustrations of the catalogue, also has an "estimate on request." It sold for $1,986,000 to an American private collector.

Lot 305 is a Roman marble figure of Apollo, 46 ½ inches high, circa late 1st Century B.C.-early 2nd Century A.D. It has an estimate of $125,000 to $175,000. It sold for $160,000 to an American dealer.

The sale was quite successful with 87 percent of the offered lots selling for a total of $7,888,083, as compared to Christie's auction the previous night of Greek Vases that totalled $7,053,906 and sold a very impressive 93 percent of the offered lots. The combined, two-day total of $14.9 million was the "most successful season total for antiquities in Christie's history," the auction house announced.

For those who admire portrait busts, Lot 304, a Roman marble portrait of a man, Roman Republic, circa mid 1st Century B.C., is quite striking and in fine condition. This 13 ¾-inch high work was once in the collection of the Earl of Lonsdale, Lowther Castle, Westmoreland, and has a conservative estimate of $60,000 to $90,000. It sold for $58,750.

Lot 325 is a less appealing but quite interesting Roman portrait bust of a man holding a snake, circa 2nd Century A.D. It has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It sold for $82,250.

Gold statuette of goddess

Lot 421, late Hellenistic or Roman goddess, gold, 1 3/4 inches high

For those who disdain bronze, Lot 421 is a late Hellenistic or Roman gold statuette of a goddess wearing a sleeveless chiton and holding a spouted libation vessel in her right hand. The 1 ¾-inch-high work has an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000. It failed to sell.

Many of the more impressive or intriguing lots in the this auction come from other cultures.

Among the Egyptian pieces of several stone sculptures are Lots 218, 219, and 245. Lot 218 is a New Kingdom rose granite head of a nobleman, Dynasty XIX-XX, 1290-1070 B.C., that is 5 ¼ inches high and missing only part of his chin and lower left jaw. The work was formerly in the of Amenhotep III, 1403-1365. The face of the lion-headed goddess is in excellent condition and the lot is conservatively estimated at $100,000 to $150,000. It was withdrawn.

 

Ptolemaic naophoros of Pekher-Khonsu

Lot 245, Ptolemaic diorite naophoros of Pekher-Khonsu, 13 1/2 inches high, circa 3rd Century B.C.

Lot 245 is a Ptolemaic diorite naophoros of Pekher-Khonsu, 13 ½ inches high, circa 3rd Century B.C. This handsome work of a seated god is missing its hands and the naos and its legs, but is quite impressive and has an estimate of $90,000 to $120,000. It failed to sell.

There are numerous other nice Egyptian works of art.

A quite sweet gilt cartonnage mummy mask, Roman Period, circa 1st Century B.C.,-1st Century A.D., is offered as Lot 228. The 13-inch-high mask that is decorated with polychrome over gesso, had a gilded face and is very pleasant and has a modest estimate of $4,000 to $6,000. It sold for $11,162.

Lot 233 is a Late Period bronze group with Imhotep, 4 ¾ inches high, Dynasty XXX, 380-343 B.C. and shows Imhotep holding a papyrus scroll in front of a kneeling worshiper and two couchant lions. The bronze has a light green patina and an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $15,275.

Egyptian bronze head of Osiris

Lot 243, Late Period inlaid bronze head of Osiris, Egypt, 3 1/2 inches high

From the same dynasty is Lot 242 is a Late Period inlaid bronze head of Osiris, 3 ½ inches high, that has an atef-crown with feathers inlaid with alternating strips of turquoise and lapis colored glass and eyes inlaid with mosaic glass with turquoise rims. The lot has a conservative estimate of $5,000 to $7,000. It sold for $11,162.

Many of the auction’s better pieces come from the Near East.

Bactrian or East Iranian mythological figure

Lot 439, Bactrian or East Iranian mythological figure, black chlorite, 4 1/4 inches high, circa 2200 B.C.

Lot 439 is a fearsome Bactrian or East Iranian black chlorite mythological figure, 4 ¼ inches high, circa 2200 B.C. The

In contrast to the former lot’s ferocity, Lot 440 is a Bactrian stone female statuette whose depicted person is rather stoic and a bit sad. The 3 14-inch-high statue of dark steatite or chlorite for the body and white calcite for the head, is circa late 3rd Millennium B.C. The body is clad in a voluminous garment with rows of pointed tongues and incised folds, with a V-shaped neckline in back. The lot has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $23,000.

Lot 443 is a Syrian white stone lion, 4 ½ inches long, circa 3100-2900 B.C. of great charm. It has a conservative estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It failed to sell.

Lot 446 is a group of 20 Near Eastern duck weights, circa Late 2nd-Early 1st Millennium, B.C. the very graceful oval forms with the animals’ heads resting in the center of their backs, are Assyrian, Babylonian and Achaemenid and the largest is only 1 ¼ inches long. The estimate for the lot is $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $11,750.

Middle Elamite banded agate lion

Lot 448, Middle Elamite banded agate lion, 2 1/4 inches long, circa 12th Century, B.C.

For those who collect animal antiquities, Lot 448 will be hard to lose as it is an exquisite Middle Elamite banded agate lion, 2 ¼ inches long, circa 12th Century B.C. A related work is in the Louvre. It has an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for $82,250!

Luristan votive plaque

Lot 486, Luristan votive plaque, 7 1/4 inches, circa mid 2nd Millennium B.C.

There are three excellent Luristan works, Lot 486, 487 and 488. The first is a bronze votive plaque, 7 ¼ inches high, circa mid 2nd Millennium B.C., from the Ishiguro Collection. The relief depicts two heroes battling animals and has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $9,987. The second is a bronze situla, 5 inches high, circa 10th-9th Century B.C., with a frieze depicted a bearded nobleman seated on a throne with one attendant fanning him and another perhaps playing a stringed instrument. The lot has an estimate of $12,000 to $15,000. It sold for $18,800. The third is a bronze pin, 10 ½ inches long, circa 9th-8th Century B.C., with two large ibexes at one end with a lion approaching them along the pin’s shaft. This was formerly in the collection of Dr. Elie Borowski and has a conservative estimate of $2,000 to $3,000. It sold for $8,812.

Sassasanian parcel gilt silver bowl

Lot 513, Sassanian parcel gilt silver elliptical bowl, 8 inches long, circa 6th-7th Century, A.D.

Two Sassanian bowls, Lots 511 and 513, are very impressive. The former is 6 13/16 inches in diameter and comes from the collection of Dr. Elie Borowski. The bowl, which is circa 4th-6th Century, A.D., has a central medallion with a large eagle surrounded by eight s smaller bird medallions. It has a conservative estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $44,650. The latter is a parcel gilt silver elliptical bowl, 8 inches long, circa 6th-7th Century A.D. It is decorated with a repoussé figure of a dancing woman wearing a tightly-fitted long sleeved garment of diaphanous material that reveals her breasts and navel. She holds an apple in one hand and a mirror in another. The catalogue notes that there is "extensive debate" over the identification of the goddess, ranging from an image of Anahita, a pre-Zoroastrian goddess of fertility to a follower of Dionysos to a personification of the seasons. An ewer in the Arthur B. Sackler Gallery has three similar figures. The lot has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for only $28,200.

This auction has a large and fine collection of seals.

Lot 566 has some very nice Mesopotamian amulets. Lot 567, for example, has three such amulets. It has an estimate of $2,000 to $3,000, and sold for $3,025.

Lot 577 is a very good Near Eastern bronze cylinder seal, 2 ½ inches high, circa 3rd Millennium B.C., that is deeply engraved with a stylized bull and an ibex and surmounted by a handle in the form of an ibex. It has a conservative estimate of $1,000 to $1,500. It sold for $8,225.

Use the Search Box below to quickly look up articles at this site on specific artists, architects, authors, buildings and other subjects

See The City Review article on the Spring 2000 Antiquities auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 1999 Antiquities auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Antique Jewelry evening auction at Christie’s Dec. 8, 1999

See The City Review article on the Dec. 9, 1999 antiquities evening auction at Sotheby's of the Christos G. Bastis Collection

See The City Review article on the Dec. 10, 1999 Antiquities auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the June 5, 1999 Antiquities Auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 1998 Antiquities auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1998 Antiquities auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 1997 Antiquities auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1997 Antiquities auction at Sotheby's

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