Artemis Gallery’s Dec. 8 Holiday Sale presents Beautiful, Unusual Gift Ideas from Ancient Cultures

. December 6, 2016

BOULDER, CO – Artemis Gallery’s Dec. 8 auction is the ideal place to find beautiful and unusual holiday gifts that have long withstood the test of time. The 330-lot sale of ancient, Asian and ethnographic art caters to all tastes and budgets with its carefully curated selection of classical antiquities from Egypt, Greece, Italy, the Near East and Far East, including China, Japan and Thailand.

Exceptional Egyptian mummy mask, circa 750-500 BCE, carved and painted wood, est. $5,000-$7,000. Image courtesy of Artemis Gallery

Exceptional Egyptian mummy mask, circa 750-500 BCE, carved and painted wood, est. $5,000-$7,000. Image courtesy of Artemis Gallery

Not only will bidders find Thursday’s auction to be a very pleasant and easy way to acquire pieces of great distinction, they will also be doing so with Artemis Gallery’s ironclad guarantee that each and every item is authentic, as described, and legal to acquire according to federal guidelines. A certificate of authenticity will accompany each purchase. In addition, because the company handles all packing and shipping in-house to ensure quality control, co-owners Bob and Teresa Dodge are pleased to guarantee delivery of any auction item to U.S. or international addresses in time for Christmas or Hanukkah.

The auction opens with an impressive 9¾-inch stone jar from Egypt’s Early Dynastic Period, circa 3100-2686 BCE. Cylindrical with a flat base, the vessel was made from banded alabaster and is tastefully finished with a carved “rope” motif beneath its rim. Crafted to a high standard and suitable for any interior decor, it is expected to make $4,000-$7,000.

One of the auction’s unquestionable stars is Lot 5A, an exceptional Egyptian mummy mask from the 22nd to 27th Dynasties, circa 750-500 BCE. Carved from a fine-grain hardwood, the mask has a striking three-dimensional quality to it, with finely delineated nose and lips, well modeled cheeks, arched brows and dramatically lined, almond-shape eyes. The mask is topped by a grand, blue headdress, its brim accented by painted “beads.” Presented on a custom stand and with provenance from a pre-1975 European collection, this prized auction entry is estimated at $5,000-$7,000.

The trail of distinguished provenance continues with ancient treasures of Mediterranean cultures. Lot 20, a Cypriot limestone head, early Hellenistic Period, circa 310 BCE, depicts a male youth with classical features wearing a laurel wreath over slightly wavy hair. This piece was deaccessioned from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cesnola collection, one of the Met’s original collections when it opened at its current site in 1880. A museum “book example,” it is estimated at $30,000-$40,000.

The interest in Viking jewelry has increased with every Artemis Gallery auction since the specialty category was introduced. The Dec. 8 Holiday Sale showcases the Viking/Norse tradition of metalsmithing with three highlight pieces in particular: Lot 35F, a twisted silver wire bracelet made for a child or woman, $500-$700; Lot 37A, a heavy silver and bronze bracelet, $2,000-$3,000; and Lot 37C, an ornamental twisted bronze torc, $1,800-$2,500.

The Asian category is led by Lot 60D, an enormous Cambodian, Khmer Empire (Angkor culture) gray stone Buddha seated in the lotus position, hands in Dhyana Mudra (meditation) mode, on a three-tiered throne. The flaring, hooded head of a giant naga, the serpent king Muchilinda, rises behind the deity protectively. Mounted on a custom stand, the circa late 12th to early 13th century CE Buddha measures 36 inches tall and is estimated at $30,000-$50,000.

Because Pre-Columbian art encompasses so many civilizations – each with its own cultural and artistic traditions – there is always a fascinating variety available in Artemis Gallery’s auctions, from the whimsical Colima pottery dogs of Mexico to the carved Jade celt axe gods of Costa Rica. Both those types of objects happen to be cataloged in the Dec. 8 Holiday Sale, along with a superb Mayan Ulua Valley (Honduras) circa 550-850 CE polychrome cylinder vessel with rich iconography. Entered as Lot 93E, this piece displays the theme of a seated lord wearing an immense, elaborate headdress, alternating around the cylinder’s circumference with the image of a fantastical bird creature, possibly Kukulkan (Quetzalcoatl). A rare survivor of a mysterious people who left no written records, this likely ritual drinking vessel is estimated at $6,000-$8,000.

A guaranteed conversation-starter in any home, Lot 103C is an early 20th-century CE Yoruba (Nigeria) forged iron staff used by doctors to protect and heal the sick. The staff is topped by a ring of small peacock-like birds standing around a central avian figure of Osanyin, a Yoruba deity associated with medicine and divination. Mounted on a custom stand and with a line of provenance that includes the Adeon Gallery, Chicago, it is expected to make $600-$900.

Wearable art – a term used by fashion magazines to describe fine jewelry that incorporates ancient stones, beads, glass and other decorative pieces – is a popular category in Artemis sales. The treasure chest for December 8th has opened to reveal holiday gift ideas as stunning as anything one would see in New York’s Fifth Avenue jewelry stores. Just a few of the many exquisite choices include: Lot 5, a custom-designed necklace and earrings fashioned of Ancient Egyptian faience beads with five amulets and dangling beaded chains (circa 1550-332 BCE), $2,000-$3,000; and Lot 25B, an Ancient Roman (circa 1st-3rd century CE) 20K gold ring with an orb-like central garnet cabochon, $1,800-$2,500.

Bidders may participate in Artemis Gallery’s Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 auction live online, by phone (please reserve phone line in advance) or by leaving an absentee bid that will be lodged confidentially and competitively on their behalf. The sale begins at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. Bid absentee or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers. For additional information on any item, call Teresa Dodge at 720-890-7700 or email teresa@artemisgallery.com. Visit Artemis Gallery online at http://www.artemisgallery.com

Category: Auction News

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