BOULDER, CO – Artemis Gallery’s Thursday, February 9th Varity Auction lives up to its name and then some, with hundreds of fine-quality pieces to suit all tastes and budgets. From relics of early Middle Eastern civilizations through to the Pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial periods of the Americas’ rich history, there are many wonderful “gems” to be discovered in this sale.
The cornerstone of every Artemis Gallery auction is classical antiquities of Ancient Egypt and Rome. Among the Ancient Egyptian highlights are: Lot 3A, an appealing circa 1070-712 BCE cast-bronze ibis, posed as though standing in the shallow waters of the Nile, estimate $900-$1,400; and an elegant Apulian (Magna Graecia, southern Italy) red-figure hydria, $2,000-$3,000. Dating to around the 4th century BCE, the hydria features a pleasing depiction of a Lady of Fashion on one side and a large palmette on the other side. The vessel was formerly in the collection of James Farmer, a noted collector who acquired it at Sotheby’s New York. Yet another Lady of Fashion adorns Lot 10C, a circa 350-320 BCE Greek skyphos purchased by Farmer in 1995 at Christie’s. Est. $600-$900
Also originating in Magna Graecia, circa 350-250 BCE, Lot 10F consists of a pair of graceful oinochoe vessels designed as portrait heads of a male and female, each topped with a pitcher. Both figures are cleverly crafted contiguous pieces with well-defined, naturalistic features and a post-fire-applied white pigment. The two-piece lot, ex James Farmer collection, is very reasonably estimated at $4,000-$6,000.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, many will be shopping for the gift that can’t miss: jewelry. Artemis Gallery’s February 9th sale offers a fantastic array of hand-selected, wearable ancient jewelry from a number of cultures. One of the finest inclusions in the group is Lot 42C, a breathtaking late 3rd to 2nd millennium BCE Bactrian necklace. It features a round pendant of hammered 22K gold sheet suspended from a strand of 10 circular lapis lazuli beads spaced with eight 22K gold openwork beads. This statement piece is estimated at $1,800-$2,500.
Lot 38, a striking Ancient Sassanian (Iran), circa 3rd to 5th century CE twisted silver cuff bracelet showing both Near Eastern and Greco-Roman influences is estimated at $1,200. Suitable for either a man or woman, Lot 23A is a circa 2nd-5th century CE 18K gold Imperial Roman ring set with a red jasper intaglio. It is carved with the figure of a three-faced, bearded man and estimated at $600-$900.
The Asian art section is brimming with treasures of the Far East, such as Lot 49D, a Khmer Empire circa 12th century CE sandstone carving of a devi, or female goddess. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000. Lot 56 is a huge and spectacular Chinese Neolithic jade bi disc from the Liangzhu culture, 3400-2250 BCE. Standing 21.25 inches on its museum-quality stand, this carved-jade celestial symbol displays a mesmerizing variety of colors, from deep forest green to russet, soft gray and pearly white. A similar bi disc roughly half the diameter in size sold for $40,000 at Christie’s New York in 2013. Artemis will auction its example with a $12,000-$15,000 estimate.
The broad category of Pre-Columbian art is amply represented by such highlights as Lot 86B, a choice 300 BCE to 300 CE Colima (Western Mexico) redware sculpture of a seated shaman, $6,000-$8,000; and a circa 1000-1550 CE Colombian Tairona region blackware vessel of anthropomorphic/zoomorphic form, $4,000-$6,000. A large and important circa 1500-300 BCE Chorrera culture (Ecuador) carved-stone object in the form of a jaguar may have been used to grind the ingredients of hallucinogenic drugs used by shamans. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000
There are many intriguing pieces from Africa and Papua New Guinea in the tribal art section, but an object from the Batak people of Sumatra (Indonesia) crosses over into the scientific realm. Lot 65, dating to the late 19th/early 20th century, consists of a pair or oracle/divination devices, one carved from a water buffalo rib; the other from the scapula of an ox. Both are inscribed with symbolic figural and geometric patterns, as well as Batak characters and Sanskrit text, and serve as a calendar and almanac set.
“Batak priests inscribed sacred texts on sheets of bark, bamboo cylinders, and the bones of oxen and water buffalo,” explained Artemis Gallery Executive Director Teresa Dodge. “These writings – essentially magic formulas, recipes for medicines, and instructions for rituals and cures – were passed from generation to generation within a priestly class.” Similar to notations made on a calendar, inscriptions on rib bones like the one that is part of the set to be auctioned often contain information that priests used to “divine” auspicious days for particular activities. Estimate: $900-$1,500
All items entered in Artemis Gallery auctions are unconditionally guaranteed to be authentic, as described in the catalog, and legal to acquire according to federal guidelines. A certificate of authenticity will accompany each purchase, and all goods will be packed in house by the gallery’s own staff to ensure an enjoyable and stress-free experience for all buyers.
Bidders may participate in Artemis Gallery’s Feb. 9, 2017 ancient antiquities, Asian art and ethnographic 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Artemis Gallery online at http://www.artemisgallery.com/.
CAPTION: Rare Pre-Columbian Chorrera (Ecuador, circa 1000 BCE) redware box with glyph-like motif and prone figure on upper section, est. $3,000-$5,000. Image courtesy of Artemis Gallery