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Camera Secreta


Camera Secreta

Suite 744, 2 Old Brompton Road, London sw7 3dq, uk Tel: 020 7413 9937, Fax: 020 7581 4445 Mobile: 07836684133 / 07768236921 Email: enquiries@finch-and-co.co.uk Website: www.finch-and-co.co.uk


[1] A Fine Victorian Cased Collection of Aust­ralian Birds by James Gardner of London including a Laughing Kookaburra a Pied Nutmeg Pigeon a Green Nutmeg Pigeon an Australian King Parakeet a Bee Bee Parrot a Mistletoe Bird a Regent Bower­bird a Yellow Tailed Diamond Bird a Variegated Wren and an Emu Wren A large Trade Label to the reverse for James Gardner of Oxford Street London and a smaller Gardner Trade Label to the interior James Gardner Exhibited at the 1851 Great Exhibition and styled himself ‘Taxidermist to the Royal Family’ Mid 19th Century

s i z e: 82 cm high, 53.5 cm wide, 27.5 cm deep – 32¼ high, 21 ins wide, 10¾ ins deep s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 17, item no. 1, for a Victorian cased collection of Australian Parrots by T.M. Williams The kookaburra is an intriguing member of the kingWsher species that feeds on snakes and lizards. It is sometimes called the laughing jackass in Australia as it has a weird laughing cry which is strangely human in aspect, very loud and disturbing and even alarming to the uninitiated. A group of them will raise a wild chorus of crazy laughter as they go to roost in the treetops at dusk and again wake everyone within hearing distance just as dawn breaks. They perform this ritual so regularly that in the outback of Australia they are known as the bushman’s clock. Britain in the 19th century was a major focus for the development of the art of taxidermy and the science of natural history. Today it seems to have become largely forgotten, no longer an art and disregarded as an educational tool in zoological study, it is often neglected as a part of the nation’s cultural heritage.


[2] A Very Rare Neolithic Early Bronze Age Northern British Cer­e­monial Stone Mace Head Circa 3500 – 2500 bc

s i z e: 19.5 cm dia., 12.5 cm deep – 7¾ ins dia., 5 ins deep 28 cm high – 11 ins high (including stand) Pp rov e na nc e: Found on a farm in Cumbria in 1950’s. Gifted to a noted Yorkshire collector of clocks In The British Isles around 3500 to 2500 bc larger and more stable domestic settle­ ments were formed and expanded along the gravel covered terraces of the major rivers such as the Thames. Here, and in parts of eastern Britain and Yorkshire new types of individual burials made their appearance with distinctive artefacts such as these mace heads appearing together with Xint axes, knives and adornments such as bone pins or jet belt Wttings. These people had the plough and were the Wrst true northern farmers with calendric rituals who aligned stone circles on the summer solstice and their ancestor’s tombs on the winter solstice. As Professor Barry Cunliffe in his Oxford Prehistory of Europe states: Northern Britain in this period seems to have had a particularly flourishing culture drawing on an indigenous background not present further south. Early stone artefacts such as this, known by some as rock art turn up in spoil heaps, Weld clearances, garden rockeries and built into later structures such as the foundations of bridges, castles, churches and walls. Some of them were placed, probably delibe­ rately, in later prehistoric structures where their ritual signiWcance lingered on. We are around 150 generations away from the people who made this startlingly modern sculpture. Reminiscent of the work of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth it has survived upwards of some 3000 years of turbulent human history.


[3] A New Zealand Maori Whalebone Short Stabbing Hand Club Patu Paraoa Of simple elegant form with ridges carved across the butt a hole for wrist cord Fine colour and patina 18th – Early 19th Century

s i z e: 37.5 cm long, 10.5 cm wide (max) – 14¾ ins long, 4 ins wide (max) s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 20, item no. 71, for another Maori whalebone stabbing club War to the Maori was regarded as a recreation, a form of sport carried out under Wrmly established rules using a range of weapons. Maori warriors consequently spent a considerable portion of their time grooming and training for battle. Their chosen weapons required a very high degree of physical Wtness and were only effective when used with great dexterity. Made from the spatulate section of a whale’s jaw, the blade is known as the rau which gave rise to the Maori term for conquest raupatu presumably as so many successful battles were fought with this type of blade. Used as a striking weapon the distal end of the club was thrust straight from the shoulder delivering a blow to the enemy's temple, or if their hair could be grasped, the patu could be driven up under the jaw or ribs.


[4] An Unusual Pair of China Trade Cantonese Carved Ivory Parrots on Cherrywood Bases Circa 1880 – 1900

s i z e: 21 cm high – 8¼ ins high Parrots have never been domesticated in the same way that chickens, ducks and pig­eons have, but more species of parrot have been tamed and raised in captivity than any other group of birds. Tribal peoples have kept them as pets since time immemorial and the talking ability of the African Grey is mentioned in ancient Greek and Roman texts. Parrots develop their ability to mimic only in captivity to which they adapt with ease. No other bird uses its feet almost like hands, holding food in one foot and biting pieces off much as one would eat a sandwich. Reacting to Xattery and capable of showing affection, parrots are extremely long lived. Individuals are known to have lived upwards of 50 years in captivity and one is recorded as having reached 80.


[5] A Western Australian Aboriginal Wood Shield probably from the West Kimberley Coastal Region 19th Century

s i z e: 80 cm long, 13.5 cm wide – 31½ ins long, 5¼ ins wide This type of shield carefully decorated to the front and back, were said to have been an important trade item with other aboriginal groups in the Kimberley region. When collecting for Macleay in this area in 1888, Froggatt noted that shields are used by only the coast tribes and that Aborigines living among the rugged limestone ranges did not use shields or boomerangs.


[6] A Collection of Six Agate Artists or Colourman’s Mortars and Three Pestles Perhaps for a Miniaturist Portrait Painter 19th Century

s i z e: 1.5 cm high, 3.5 cm wide (min.) – 3 cm high, 7 cm wide (max.) ½ ins high, 1¼ ins wide (min.) – 1¼ ins high, 2¾ ins wide (max.) s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 6, item no. 27, for another example The grinding of pigments and the preparation of paints and media was one of the most labour intensive aspects of the painter’s workshop. When Sir Godfrey Kneller came to England in 1674/5 he brought with him a servant whose sole job was to grind pigments and prepare materials for use in the studio. The miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard listed fine Cristall, Serpentine, Jasper or Hard Porphyry as the most suitable materials for colourmen’s grindstones or mortars. The harder and denser the material the less likely it would be to contaminate the pigment being ground. Some minerals such as lapis lazuli, used to make ultramarine, were so hard and so expensive that they were always Wrst reduced in small amounts by pounding with a mortar and pestle, which was covered with a cloth to prevent the valuable dust from drifting away. Other pigments, such as ochre were ground by means of a muller or pebble stone and a Xat ledger, and were used for larger works in the artist’s studio.


[7] A Georgian Sand Glass Measuring Three Minutes of Time A label to the base: ‘Maria Baer Collection’ Late 18th – Early 19th Century

s i z e: 9 cm high, 4 cm dia. – 3½ ins high, 1½ ins dia. p rov e na nc e: Ex Maria Baer collection (daughter of Herman Baer) Ex collection Eva Weininger Regarded as a symbol of earthly life and death, the sand glass is an instrument that was formerly in common use for measuring intervals of time. They range from the 3 or 4-minute egg timer such as this example, through quarter and half hour glasses, to the hourglass. They were a more accurate development from clepsydras or water clocks of the early eastern Mediterranean civilisations, which employed falling drops of water, instead of grains of sand, to measure time. The Royal Navy used sand glasses until 1839 to count the half hours until watches and clocks gradually superseded them.


[8] An Italian Renaissance Table Cabinet of Ebony and Ivory The two doors with ivory panels engraved with portraits of the Roman Emperor’s Vespasian and Nero opening to reveal a drawer lined interior Probably Naples 17th Century

s i z e: 47 cm high, 64 cm wide, 30 cm deep – 18½ ins high, 25¼ ins wide, 11¾ ins deep The art of ebony veneering and ivory engraving seems to have been brought to Italy by German and Netherlandish emigrant craftsmen. In 1569 in Spanish ruled Naples a contract was signed by Giovanni Battista de Curtis described as an intarsiatore in avolio,


an ivory engraver, and Giacomo Fiammingo, a scrittorista, a cabinet maker, for the making of two cabinets in ivory to be adorned with engraved designs based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Contemporary engravings inspired the designs of the ivory plaques and the combination of ebony and ivory to produce an austere black and white colour contrast reXected the fashion in contemporary Spanish court dress, which had become popular throughout Europe. Cabinets were used for display and storage, but cabinets like these also became imbued with status and a distinct message. They became the ultimate miniature wunderkammer enclosing works of art and curiosities, a reXection of the whole known world, in a princely and courtly setting.


[9] A Bismarck Archipelago New Britain Ritual Skull Traces of red ochre to the base 19th Century

s e e: 14 cm high, 14.5 cm wide, 17.5 cm deep – 5½ ins high, 5¾ ins wide, 7 ins deep p rov e na nc e: From the estate of a Harley Street physician, gifted in 1960 to P Asquith, Yorkshire The Bismarck Archipelago comprises the islands of New Britain, New Ireland, New Hanover and the Admiralty Islands and is now politically part of Papua New Guinea. Although sighted by Schouten and Lemaire in 1606, it was William Dampier the famous English adventurer and corsair who landed on New Britain in 1700. In 1767 Philip Carteret discovered the strait between the islands, named it St George’s Channel, and gave the islands their English names. The whalers of the late 18th and 19th Centuries were followed by German colonists who named the island New Pomerania. During the Second World War, New Britain was of strategic importance and occupied by the Japanese. Liberated by the allies in 1945, New Britain gained its independence from Australia in 1975. New Britain is made up of a large number of relatively independent village communities, comparable with those in the New Guinea mainland. The Wrst anthropologist to live with and study the people was Richard Heinrich Robert Parkinson. In his book Thirty Years in the South Seas 1907, he refers to a skull cult in New Britain which is a separate and distinct practice from the making of partial skull masks. He states skulls of wealthy people, who have a lot of ‘tabu’ are exhumed after a certain time, placed on a frame and ceremonies take place. However, this has absolutely nothing to do with skull masks.


[10] A Bering Strait Eskimo Inuit Carved Marine Ivory Sinker in the Form of a Bowhead Whale Early 19th Century

s i z e: 3.5 cm high, 5 cm wide, 15.5 cm long – 1¼ ins high, 2 ins wide, 6¼ ins long s e e: Finch and Co catalogue no. 16, item no. 29, for a drag handle in the form of a Bowhead Whale and catalogue no. 13, item no. 3, for two Inupiak Bowhead Whale sinkers The Bowhead whale was the most important animal to the Inuit, it was their major source of meat, oil and baleen. They took great care in how they decorated and treated their hunting materials throughout the whaling season so as not to offend the spirits of the whales and in order to insure the success of the hunt. Whale shaped sinkers such as this were attached to the Wrst lines drawn around the captured whale making it fast to the boat umiak and magically insuring the propitiation of the whale’s spirit. To the Inuit hunting rituals insure that the seasons whaling will be productive and that the animals will return in future years.


[11] A Large Ancient Egyptian Bronze Statuette of Isis Seated Suckling Horus on her Lap Traces of red and green patination Late Period 600 – 332 bc

s i z e: 16 cm high, 5 cm wide, 7 cm deep – 6¼ ins high, 2 ins wide, 2¾ ins deep 22.5 cm high – 8¾ ins high (including stand) p rov e na nc e: Ex Private Scottish collection The goddess who encapsulated the virtues of the archetypical Egyptian wife and mother, Isis was also known as the Mistress of Magic who combined her great medicinal skills with great cunning. She became the symbolic mother of the Egyptian King who himself was regarded as a human manifestation of Horus. In post Pharonic times her cult was adopted as one of the classical mystery cults gradually spreading through the Hellenistic world and the Roman Empire with temples erected to her in Rome itself. In Greco-Roman times her cult surpassed that of Osiris in popularity, seriously rivalling both the traditional Roman gods and early Christianity, and it is from the Wgure of Isis seated with Horus on her lap that the iconic Christian image of the Madonna and Child originates.


[12] A Pair of English Carved Pine Jointed Artists Lay Figures Male and Female 19th Century

s i z e: 32 cm long – 12½ ins long (each) p rov e na nc e: Ex German Private collection Jointed wooden Wgures representing ideal proportions of the human body have been used by artists for several, if not many centuries. They most probably originated in Italy or Greece and have been used by artists and sculptors for the posing of bare limbs in various positions and also for the arrangement of draperies. They can be found in all sizes from a few inches high up to life size. From the 17th Century lay Wgures were made with pivotal ball joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, thighs and ankles so arranged as to allow for natural bending and turning. The faces are expressionless, and the majority are carved from pine.


[13] A Collection of 16 Oceanic Tribal Fish Hooks Comprising: A New Zealand Maori large wooden hook used for shark fishing, the bone barb lost A New Zealand Maori wood shanked and haliotis shell inlaid trolling lure with bone hook secured with flax cord A North West Coast Tlingit Halibut Hook of spruce root, cedar wood and bone Seven Solomon Islands fish hooks some with glass beaded lures one hook with an added mother of pearl strip carved to resemble a bonito fish restricted to Malaita Island Two Tongan Tridacna shell hooks one with a barbed shell hook the other with a bone point Two Marshal Islands fishhooks made from tridacna shell of typical form Two Hawaiian Islands tiny mother of pearl fish hooks decorated with stylised markings 19th Century s i z e: 2 cm long - ¾ ins long (min) / 17 cm long – 6¾ ins long (max) p rov e na nc e: Ex English Private collection The Wshhook is an ancient form of hunting for food. Fishhooks of Xaked stone have been found dating from Neolithic times and Wshing is still of enormous importance as a fundamental source of protein to many of the people’s of the PaciWc Islands. Fishhooks besides being barbed and baited also carried brightly coloured beads or other materials, which revolving in the water simulate a small Wsh and act like an artiWcial spinner to bait and hook a larger Wsh. Considering that none of these sixteen hooks are made of any form of metal, and were constructed with tools of stone and sharks teeth and then tied with specially prepared Wbre, they are a triumph of Stone Age technology.


[14] A Central African Democratic Republic of the Congo B­e­mbe Peoples Male Fetish or Power Figure Bilongo The eyes inlaid with shell a bundle of ritual substances to his scarified abdomen standing holding a rifle in one hand the other touching his beard Small chips to the base and hair Old smooth silky patina 19th Century s i z e: 16.5 cm high – 6½ ins high In addition to producing representations of ancestors the Bembe make use of small sculptures for a form of coercive medicine. The nganga or healing priest gives the chosen sculpture its supernatural power by inserting the bilongo, the bundle of ritual substance, into an aperture on the Wgure. Simultaneously, the patient expects to be relieved of the negative inXuences with which he has been beset.


[15] A Pair of English Medieval Limestone Corbels Carved with Grotesque Heads 14th Century

s i z e: 18.5 cm high, 16.5 cm wide, 47 cm deep – 7¼ ins high, 6½ ins wide, 18½ deep 19 cm high, 13 cm wide, 50 cm deep – 7½ ins high, 5¼ ins wide, 19¾ deep


p rov e na nc e: From a garden in the West Country Ex Private Oxfordshire collection These two grotesques with exaggerated facial features were probably carved by the same stonemason. Intended for interpretation by an uneducated medieval audience, they were intended to avert any evil inXuence from within the conWnes of the church and to admonish the sinner.


[16] A Collection of Three Bering Strait Ipiutak Walrus Ivory Amuletic Human Figurines 19th Century

s i z e: [a]: 5.2 cm high – 2 ins high [b]: 5 cm high – 2 ins high [c]: 4.6 cm high – 1¾ ins high p rov e na nc e: Excavated at Shishmares, Alaska Ex Private collection Personal charms and amulets in human form were made of walrus ivory and driftwood and were usually received as a child from a much older adult family member. Charms such as these three were nearly always inherited or gifted rather than newly made. Handed down through generations they were believed to have great power. Sometimes a song was given along with an amulet, and the shaman would impose a food taboo for a season’s length. Ivory human Wgurines were often used in magical practices to help with fertility or to affect the birth of a son. The shaman would direct the woman to sleep with the Wgure under her pillow.


[17] An Antique Skull of a Southern African Black Rhinoceros Diceros Bicornis 18th – Early 19th Century s i z e: 28 cm high, 56 cm long, 33 cm wide – 11 ins high, 22 ins long, 13 ins wide p rov e na nc e: From the Estate of the Artist Sean Rice CITES article 10 has been granted and is available for this artefact Unlike a stag’s antlers which have a bony core connected to the skeleton, a rhinoceros horn is not integrated with the skull. Instead, the thick nasal bone supports the horn and absorbs the impact when the rhino charges. Its very large head bears two, and sometimes three horns with the female having smaller horns. The black rhino is actually grey, but takes on the colour of the mud in which it wallows. It is the largest living land animal after the elephant.


[18] An Unusual Victorian Cased Hunting Stock Pin Depicting a Silver Peregrine Falcon with Finely Detailed Feathers and Ruby Eyes Wearing Gold Jesses Seated on a Perch the whole set upon a Gold Pin Circa 1860-1880

s i z e: 9 cm long – 3½ ins long p rov e na nc e: From the estate of a former Devonshire Master of the Hunt Falcons can only be trained through positive reinforcement. They must never be punished. They are solitary creatures and so fail to understand hierarchal dominance in a relationship, which is familiar to social creatures such as dogs and horses. Lord Tweedsmuir regarded falcons as avian aristocracy: No hawk regards you as a master. At the best, they regard you as an ally who will provide for them and care for them and introduce them to some good hunting. You only have to look at the proud head of the peregrine falcon to realise that. In reality you become their slave. (Tweedsmuir, Always a Countryman pg 128)


[19] Two Dutch Falconry Bonnets by Mollen The smaller hood for a Merlin the larger hood for a Peregrine falcon Late 19th Century s i z e: [a]: 9 cm high – 3½ ins high (including feathers) [b]: 8.5 cm high – 3¼ ins high (including feathers) p rov e na nc e: Ex London Private collection No other form of hunting has been held in such high regard over the centuries as falconry and to have a noble falcon perched on the Wst became a symbol of persons of rank. In the Middle East falcons are regarded as the quintessence of beauty, speed and audacity, and are still thought to be symbols of great status. Adriann Mollen was Prince Alexander of the Netherlands professional falconer. Prince Alexander was president of the Royal Loo Hawking Club and in the area surrounding the Palace of Het Loo he developed ideal conditions for heron falconry. The area was also on a migration route for peregrine falcons, which were caught and trained for numerous European Royal dynasties. Mollen became famous not only for his reputation as a sympathetic falconer, but also for his technical skill in producing falconry equipment.


[20] A Rare North Western Alaskan Ipiutak Eskimo Carved Wood Ceremonial Shamans Flying Figurine 18th Century – Early 19th Century

s i z e: 13 cm high – 5 ins high p rov e na nc e: Excavated from the permafrost and sold on St Lawrence Island Ex Private collection c f: British Museum has a similar Wgure (1855.11-26.167). Believed to have been obtained during the search for Sir John Franklin in North West Alaska; 1848 – 1854 The flying shaman was the subject of many legends in Siberian and Alaskan mythology. The shaman was bound to a rope or thong in various ways and would Xy to the spirit world, usually the moon. There was a noted Point Hope shaman called Asetchuk who was reputed to be able to Xy, and in 1880 is said to have Xown to St Lawrence Island to look for his son. Wooded Wgurines would be suspended from the back so that they hung in a horizontal position from the roof of the ceremonial house. They Wgured prominently in whaling ceremonies and observances along the entire western coast of Alaska. At Point Hope, a four-day religious ceremony called the sitting was held in honour of the season’s killed whale’s souls just after the new ice had formed in the autumn. Knud Rasmussen witnessed one of these ceremonies in 1927: a carved wooden bird hangs from the roof, it’s wings being made to move and beat four drums placed around it. On the floor is a spinning top stuck about with feathers, close by is a doll, or rather the upper half of one, and on a frame some distance from the floor is a model skin boat, complete with crew and requisites for whaling. The proceedings open with the singing of a hymn; then a man springs forward and commences to dance; this, however, is merely the signal for mechanical marvels to begin. The bird flaps its wings and beats its drums with a steady rhythmic beat. The top is set spinning throwing out the feathers in all directions as it goes; the crew of the boat get to work with their paddles; the doll without legs nods and bows in all directions; and the most wonderful of all, a little ermine sticks out its head form its hole in the wall, pops back again and then looks out, and finally runs across to the other side to vanish into another hole, snapping up a rattle with a bladder attached as it goes. All hold their breath, for should the creature fail to enter the hole with rattle and bladder behind it, one of those present must die within the year. But all goes well, and the company gasp in relief. (Across Arctic America 1927)


[21] A Fine Chinese Ivory Brush Pot Bitong

Carved in the scholar’s taste, standing on three low feet with inset ivory base Smooth mellow silky patina Qing Dynasty 17th Century s i z e: 10 cm high, 6 cm dia. – 4 ins high, 2¼ ins dia. The Chinese bitong or brush pot gradually supplanted other methods of storing writing brushes from the mid 16th century and is found in all the materials used by the Ming and Qing craftsmen. Bamboo and ivory with their natural circular sections were an obvious and favourite choice for the making of these pieces. During the Qing period works of art carved in the scholar’s taste became popular with the increasingly prosperous middle classes who wished to follow the Emperor's lead in pursuing an interest in the arts. The principal objects in the scholars’s studio were connected with the desk, the composing of poetry and the pursuit of calligraphy and painting.


[22] An Impressive Rare Anthropomorphic Native American New Mexico Zuni Pueblo Sacred Stone Fetish Figure Extensive traces of original polychrome Late 19th – Early 20th Centaury

s i z e: 31 cm high – 12¼ ins high p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection cf: Brooklyn Museum, New York 04.297.5053, A Zuni Stone Fetish of a Bear collected by Stewart Culin, 1904 Regarded by the Zuni as powerful and sacred, stone fetish images were kept by Pueblo families as personal spirit helpers. They were made as representations of the Zuni gods and were consulted for guidance in all-important matters. Stewart Culin (1858-1929), a founder of the American Anthropological Association and collector of many South Western Native American artefacts now in the Brooklyn Museum, NY had a great interest in ritual stone objects. In 1904 he gave a lecture in which he noted the American Indian’s constant and widespread use of stone in various mechanical arts. He displays the nicest discrimination in the selection of stone for different uses and in the quality and temper of material which he thus employs (1904b: 18)


[23] A Napoleonic Prisoner of War Carved Bone Games Box

Decorated with 14 Water Colour Panels of Urns of Flower, Figures, Buildings and Landscapes The sliding lid flanked by a cribbage board revealing an interior divided for a set of dominoes and for a painted set of bone playing cards An ink inscription underneath reading Tourny Late 18th – Early 19th Century s i z e: 9 cm high, 26.5 cm long, 10 cm wide – 3½ ins high, 10½ ins long, 4 ins wide p rov e na nc e: Ex Private maritime collection of Leslie Gooday OBE No record of life as a Napoleonic prisoner of war in the purpose built Depot at Norman Cross in Cambridgeshire is known to exist, although an interesting collection of their carved bone works of art can be seen in the little known city museum in nearby Peterborough. The Depot received its Wrst inmates in 1797 and was for many years the only prison speciWcally constructed for the custody of captives from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Dartmoor was also built for the same purpose, but was not occupied until 1809. It became a convict prison in 1850 and is today still used as such.


[24] A Siberian Arctic Yakut Shamans Ceremonial Iron Mask 18th Century or Earlier

s i z e: 23.5 cm high, 19.5 cm wide, approx: 5 cm deep 9¼ ins high, 7¾ ins wide, approx: 2 ins deep c f: University of Gottingen Asch collection exhibition Shamans in the Palaeolithic for a similar mask Traditionally the Siberian Yakut were herders of cattle and horses. They were also experts at smelting and smithing iron, producing tools, weapons, jewellery and armour. In the Middle Ages Yakut warriors wore body armour and helmets, and put armour on their horses. Metal is still used to decorate Yakut clothing. Neighbouring groups who were unable to smelt iron from ore perceived Yakut smelting skills to be gifts from the spirits. Yakut shamans were regarded as the most powerful in Siberia because of their ability to smith and smelt metal, and over hundreds of years they developed a complex metalworking culture. Amuletic iron Wgurines were created to act as spirit helpers and as offerings to propitiate the various spirits of the natural world such as those of the sacred cliffs and the sacred tree. Metal was considered a more powerful material than bone or wood. Dressed Wgurines were sometimes given a miniature iron mask to wear and used as sacriWcial offerings.


[25] A French Carved Limestone Head of Saint Peter Perhaps from the Auvergne 13th Century

s i z e: 26 cm high – 10¼ ins high p rov e na nc e: Found in an English Garden Sold at Auction 2014 The depiction of Saint Peter has been consistent down the ages: a square face and curly beard with either short hair or bald and tonsured. The grave and naturalistic face carved with high cheekbones suggest that it is the head of Saint Peter. The eyes are wide open and precisely carved as beWts one of the twelve apostles. The twelve men picked by Christ to be his apostles and his companions stood in an elevated position. They were given the power to exercise demons, cure disease and inWrmity, and ultimately to assist Christ in judgment over humanity. Twelve was a symbolic number for when God made his Wrst covenant with Israel it was divided into twelve tribes. The twelve apostles stood in place of these twelve tribes.


[26] A Bering Strait Inupiak Eskimo Carved Walrus Ivory Amuletic Pendant of Human Form The hole for a cord attachment 18th Century – Early 19th Century

s i z e: 5 cm high – 2 ins high p rov e na nc e: Excavated at Cape Rodney, Alaska Ex Private collection Amulets of human form were hung in the back between the shoulder blades, at the neck, or sewn into the clothing or to an amulet strap worn against the body. An Eskimo woman sketched by Beechey in 1827 wears an amulet such as this around her neck. It was believed that amulets of human shape with a hole in the neck had to be nourished and so were fed once a day. The amulet was worn as a protection against evil spirits and to bring good luck. Each amulet had a speciWc purpose and so a person was likely to wear several of them.


[27] Alaskan Yupik Eskimo Walrus Ivory Hair Comb Nuyitet Carved with Two Anthropomorphic Caribou Heads 18th Century

s i z e: 6 cm high, 2.5 cm wide, 0.75 cm deep – 2¼ ins high, 1 ins wide, ¼ ins deep p rov e na nc e: Excavated Port Clarence, Alaska Ex Private collection Eskimo women comb their hair with both ivory and antler combs. They wear their hair in two braids, which they decorate with strings of beads, animal fur and ivory ornaments. They would wash their hair in urine to kill off any lice and then carefully comb the hair. Mothers would regularly perform this task for their children. These Nuyitet combs were also used by women as decorative hairpieces. Combs with wider teeth were called tangle removers, Tegurriliurutet.


[28] A Venetian Bronze Figure of the Venus Marina Standing with a Dolphin Attributed to Tiziano Aspetti (1565 – 1607) and his Workshop Fine old lacquered dark brown patina solid cast mounted on a turned marble base Circa 1590 – 1600

s i z e: 12 cm high – 4¾ ins high / 20.5 cm high – 8¼ ins high (including stand) c f: A larger bronze of the Venus of Marina by the hand of the Master in the Read Collection, London (Planisciq 1921 Wg 644) Aspetti was trained in the Venetian tradition of Alessandro Vittoria and Girolamo Campagua and although much younger than Vittoria, he was deeply inXuenced by him. He was also inXuenced by the works of Sansovino, echoes of whose Wgures can be seen in his bronzes. Aspetti was an artist who appears to have been happiest when working on a small scale, and these sculptures often formed the tops of perfume burners and inkwells. Aspetti was part of the large and prosperous industry in Venice during the late 16th and early 17th Century that was producing large numbers of bronze door knockers, Wre dogs, candlesticks and furniture mounts, and so his work merges almost inextricably with that of Vittoria and Roccatagliata and their workshops.


[29] A South African North Nguni Carved Wood and Abstract Poker-Worked Double Headrest Repair to base of two legs Old smooth silky patina the edges worn from domestic use Late 19th – Early 20th Century

s i z e: 14.5 cm high, 5.5 cm deep, 53.5 cm wide – 5¾ ins high, 2¼ ins deep, 21 ins wide


African headrests were made to sleep on and to protect the elaborate hairstyle of the sleeper. By day they were kept in the rafters of their owners huts gaining a patina from the smoke of the Wre and by night from the oil in the hair. They were highly portable and would be carried by the owner when travelling. In 1870 Thomas Baines travelling in the Shona area noted: to keep the well oiled locks from being soiled by dust every man carries with him a neck pillow like a little stool, which suffers not the head to come within eight or ten inches of the ground; (Baines The Northern GoldďŹ elds 1877:27).


[30] An Indo-Portuguese Goa Carved Ivory of the Madonna as Our Lady of Conception Holding the Christ Child Standing on the Horns of a Crescent Moon Raised on an Ivory Base Carved with Acanthus Leaves Her left hand once holding a sceptre Extensive traces of old red polychrome and gold leaf to the hair and robes Second half 17th Century

s i z e: 21 cm high, 7.5 cm wide, 5.5 cm deep – 8¼ ins high, 3 ins wide, 2¼ ins deep During the 17th and 18th centuries Goa became a magnet for craftsmen from all over India and the surrounding regions. It was a major commercial and artistic centre connecting southern and northern India with the rest of the World. With the development of shipping and sea routes it became a trading hub in luxury goods. As a consequence, large numbers of Europeans settled in Goa most of them merchants connected to the trade in precious stones, gold, ivory, jewellery and exotic curiosities. Some of them were missionaries, and it was the Jesuits in particular who inXuenced and developed a market for religious images in Goa. From early on the Portuguese were engaged in the proWtable ivory trade, setting up workshops, employing craftsmen and exporting the resulting works of art back to Europe. When, in the late 16th century, the body of the Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier came back to Goa and a cult of catholic pilgrimage grew up around his sacred shrine devotional images became sought after locally and a steady home market was also developed.


[31] A Rare and Unusual English Carved Boxwood Lottery Teetotum or Gambling Ball Incised on 32 sides with the numbers 1 to 32 18th Century

s i z e: 4 cm dia. – 1½ ins dia. s e e: Finch & Co Catalogue no. 22, item no. 7, for another boxwood example Since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I lotteries have been a very lucrative source of government income. First devised in 1568-69 when urgent repairs were needed to the harbours and coastal fortiWcations of England in order for them to be able to repel any Spanish seaborne invasion, lotteries became established by successive Acts of Parliament as a legitimate means of increasing revenue. Teetotum balls give the gambler much more of a winning chance than that of a spinning dice, because when thrown the faceted numbered sides of the ball give an equal chance of any number turning up.


[32] An Erotic German Coquilla Nut and Ivory Snuff Box

The two Coquilla panels decorated with scenes of sexual activity the ivory middle band carved with acanthus leaves and two mask heads Mid 17th Century s i z e: 5 cm high, 4 cm wide, 3.5 cm deep – 2 ins high, 1½ ins wide, 1¼ ins deep p rov e na nc e: Ex collection Eva Weininger s e e: Finch & Co Catalogue no. 10, item no. 35, for another similar Coquilla nuts were Wrst seen in Europe in the mid 16th century and were very popular for carving small objects. They are the fruit of the Attalea Funifera palm tree, which grows extensively along the eastern side of South America. When freshly collected they are soft and pliable to carve, and the oily nature of the nut makes it ideal for keeping snuff in good condition, preventing it from drying out.


[33] An Impressive Ancient Egyptian Ptolemaic Limestone Figure of the Grotesque Dwarf God Bes Traces of original polychrome decoration Ptolemaic period 332 – 32 bc

s i z e: 36 cm high, 18 cm wide, 14 cm deep – 14¼ ins high, 7 ins wide, 5½ ins deep p rov e na nc e: Ex Private collection Andre Rigaux, Louvciennes, France Ex Private London collection purchased 1970 c f: Similar painted relief Wgures of Bes in the Bes Chambers at Saqqara Despite the god’s apparent ferocity he was a beneWcent deity much favoured as a protector of the family and associated with sexuality and childbirth. His image is therefore found on all of the mammisi or birth houses associated with the Late Period temples as well as being carved on everyday objects such as cosmetic items. He was also one of the most popular deities represented in amulets. The sexual aspect of the god seems to have become particularly prominent during the Ptolemaic period when Bes chambers were built at Saqqara, and it has been suggested that pilgrims probably spent the night there in the hope of experiencing dreams, perhaps in connection with the renewal of their sexual powers.


[34] A Pair of North Alaska Inupiak Eskimo Caribou Bone Snow Goggles Decorated with Skeletal Patterns 19th Century

s i z e: 3.5 cm high, 14 cm wide, 2.5 cm deep – 1½ ins high, 5½ ins wide, 1 ins deep p rov e na nc e: Ex Private collection In the winter snow goggles are essential equipment for the hunter to protect his eyes from blowing snow and snow blindness. Goggles cut down the amount of light entering the eye, protecting the retina from becoming partially burnt by excessive ultraviolet radiation reXected from the snow-covered landscape.


[35] A Bering Sea Eskimo Inuit Hand Club Formed from the Penis Bone of an Artic Walrus Early 19th Century

s i z e: 59.5 cm long – 23½ ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex London deceased estate s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 6, item no. 15, and catalogue no. 12, item no. 106, for other examples Necessary for procreating in the freezing cold of the Arctic seas, walrus penis bones form a naturally weighted club that is used by the Inuit hunter like a braining stone. For the Inuit the club is made of a spiritually compatible material that will appease and placate his quarry.


[36] A Rare German Hunting Amulet Charivari Formed from a Gold Mounted Early Mauser Rifle Bullet The gold acorn and oak leaf mount surmounted with a gold cap engraved ‘29.IX.1911. 14 Ender Hirsch’ (14 point stag) An attached brass inventory no. 1283 Early 20th Century

s i z e: 3 cm high – 1¼ ins high p rov e na nc e: From the Arms and Amour collection of Schloss Marienburg. The Dukes of Hanover, Lower Saxony, sold Sotheby’s October 2005 s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 17, item no. 95, for a collection of eight silver mounted German Charivari Hunting amulets Charivari are prized in Europe for their supernatural ability to bring luck and success to the hunter, as well as simultaneously displaying his prowess. St. Hubert is the patron saint of hunters; having spared the stag that miraculously appeared to him deep in the forest bearing a crucifix between its antlers, he advised that they see every stag they hunt as a symbol of Christ. Accordingly gunstocks were often inlaid and decorated with the vision of St. Hubert.


[37] A Pair of Framed Italian Finely Carved Ebony Panels depicting the Legend of Perseus and Andromeda Each with an old ink extensively inscribed paper label to the reverse Mid 17th Century

s i z e: 27.5 cm high, 24 cm wide – 10¾ ins high, 9½ ins wide s e e: Finch and Co catalogue no. 3, item no. 72, for a French ebony plaque depicting Neptune Perseus was a legendary Greek hero, the son of the Argive Princess Danaë and Zeus who came to her in the form of a golden shower. It was Perseus who killed the Gorgon Medusa and presented her head to the goddess Athena, who had given him a mirror shield. On his way back to Seiphos Island he stopped in the Kingdom of Ethiopia ruled by King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia. The Queen boasted that her daughter Andromeda was equal in beauty to the Nereids infuriating Poseidon, who in vengeance sent Xoods on the land and a sea monster Cetus who destroyed both man and beast. The oracle of Amman announced that no relief would be found until the King exposed his daughter to the monster and so she was chained naked to a rock. Perseus slew the monster and setting her free, claimed her in marriage.


[38] A Native American Plains Lakota Sioux Drum Decorated with a Faded Sunburst Design in Red Black Yellow and Blue The Thin Buffalo Rawhide Stretched and Pinned with Iron Tacks to a Hooped Wood Frame Circa 1870 – 1890

s i z e: approx: 30 cm dia. 8 cm deep – 11¾ ins dia., 3¼ ins deep c f: A similar drum in the collection of D.T. Vernon at Colter Bay Visitor Centre, Wyoming, published in The Spirit of Native America by A.L. Waters, no 959. 1989 Richly diverse, American Indian music was unique in its almost exclusive emphasis on singing accompanied simultaneously by the playing of a drum. Plains Indian drums were made with single or double heads stretched over hoops or cylinders and beaten with hands, wands or sticks, usually to emphasise the rhythm of a particular ceremony and to accompany the characteristic plains style of a tense, nasal quality of song. Music was integral to Native American life on the plains where it was performed everyday, in public or private contexts, to preserve and perpetuate traditional culture, to express and affirm tribal identities and to honour families and the ancestors. Early European explorers and missionaries were fascinated by Native American music describing it in their journals as having a connection to the spiritual realm. Indeed, sacred Indian narratives teach that music is not a human invention, but was Wrst given to the people by spirit beings in order to facilitate interaction between them.


[39] An Specimen of a Narwhal Tusk Monodon Monoceros with later Silver Tip Old smooth patina with deep spiral twist 18th Century

s i z e: 198 cm long – 78 ins long Article 10 certiWcate available s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 20, item no. 44, for a pair of silver tipped Narwhal Tusks During the Middle Ages the tusk of a Narwhal was sold as the horn of a unicorn. Physicians believed that powdered unicorn horn could cure ills from plague to rabies, and even magically raise the dead. It was marketed as a precursor to Viagra and rivalled snake’s tongue and griYn’s claw as a detector of poison. As poisonings amongst the royal courts of Europe were all the rage in medieval times unicorn horn became one of the most coveted substances, worth ten times its weight in gold. French monarchs dined with Narwhal tooth utensils and placed tusks along banqueting tables. Martin Luther was fed the powdered tusk as medicine before he died and the Emperor Rudolf II regularly took a pinch as an antidote to melancholy. The spiralled Ivory tusk was used to make the sceptre of the Hasburgs, Ivan The Terrible’s staff, the sword of Charles the Bold and the throne of the Danish Kings.


[40] A Rare Alaskan Yup’ik Eskimo Carved Walrus Ivory Figure Iinrut with a hair knot wearing a Parker 18th Century or earlier

s i z e: 17.5 cm high – 7 ins high p rov e na nc e: Ex Private collection Iinrut were made by shaman to represent a protecting spirit. It was said that these Wgures called uya made whistling sounds and provided protection for the house and its occupants. The image would be hung or placed at the house entrance, as it was believed that the deceased ancestors would be called upon to help their living relatives. These uya were also used to predict whether the household would be successful in their hunt for game throughout the coming year. Food and water would be put into a bowl and dipper next to the uya and the disappearance of the food and water would predict that the family would catch a lot of caribou in the following season. The uya would always be portrayed wearing a parka.


[41] An Interesting Netherlandish Carved Stone Head of Pan Attributed to Rombout Verhulst (1624 – 1698) Museum restoration to tip of nose 17th Century

s i z e: 22cm high – 8½ ins high p rov e na nc e: Christies King Street, London; 2007 Ex Private European collection c f: A Similar Stone Garden Figure Prudence in Rijksmuseum attributed to Rombout Verhulst (1624 – 1698) Rombout Verhulst was a Flemish sculptor who worked mainly in Holland. In the 1650’s he was the most important assistant to Artus Quellin I in the sculptural decoration of the town hall in Amsterdam. By 1663 he had settled in The Hague where he became a leading sculptor of busts and tombs. His monument to Admiral Michel de Ruyter of 1681 in the New Church in Amsterdam is considered to be his masterpiece. Pan was a goat-horned and goat-legged Greek god. The son of Hermes and favourite of Dionysus, the fertility God. Born in Arcadia, he played on the Syrinx and haunted caves and lonely rural places. He was playful and energetic, but irritable especially if disturbed during his siesta. He could inspire fear and a sudden groundless fright in both men and animals. Like other Olympians, he enjoyed chasing nymphs, especially Echo.


[42] A Napoleonic Prisoner of War carved Bone Dou­ble Domed Domino Box shaped as a Marriage Bed The two arched lids sliding off to reveal two sets of dominos Late 18th – Early 19th Century

s i z e: 11.5 cm high, 15 cm long, 10 cm wide – 4½ ins high, 6 ins long, 4 ins wide p rov e na nc e: Ex East Anglian Private collection Great numbers of French prisoners of war displayed a passionate addiction to gaming and gambling unmatched by any of the other pursuits from all the other countries represented in the British Depots and prison ships. Almost everyone enjoyed the occasional Xutter on games of chance or skill, and the clever industrious prisoner of war who realised this and kept the Depot markets stocked with domino sets, playing cards, chess sets and teetotums was sure of regular and rewarding employment. Dominoes as a game was not known in Europe until around 1750. It was introduced by French prisoners of war into England at the end of the 18th century. Dominoes was a new, exciting game and all the rage in the 1800’s!


[43] A Central African Democratic Republic of the Congo Pende Peoples Ritual Dance Staff Inscribed in Ink to the Shaft: ou A.P. Dubois en Souvenir de Jean Marie Perin Louveteau 1952 – 1953 Leopoldville Early to Mid 20th Century s i z e: 21 cm high – 8¼ ins high The strongly chiselled features and striking red and black polychromy of the miniature mask carved on this dance staff are distinctive of the Pende. These would have assured its powerful visual effect when carried in the hand by a leading dancer during both masquerades and unmasked dances. The hairstyle derives from that of earlier times in which the hair was mixed with clay and oil and then braided with raffia, cowry shells, nail heads and beads. Missionaries condemned the wearing of these elaborate headdresses, but in the early 1930’s a revival of the hairstyle in a more restrained form took place as protest against white rule.


[44] A West African Yoruba Eshu Cult Dance Staff or Wrist Ornament Old smooth silky patina Late 19th Century

s i z e: 8.5 cm high – 3¼ ins high c f: Afrika Museum Bergendal, Netherlands no. 488-5 and no. 631-2 for similar examples Devotees of Eshu have Wgures such as this attached to their wrists with leather thongs whilst dancing and during processions. Remains of the thongs can still be seen in this example. There is a deliberate and strong resemblance to Yoruba children’s dolls symbolising the belief that Eshu cult members are simultaneously both children and adults, just like Eshu himself.


[45] An Unusual English Carved Limestone Grave Marker Dated 1727 Decorated with a Skull and Crossbones a Figure of the Grim Reaper and a Dancing Skeleton Memento Mori 18th Century

s i z e: 71 cm high, 31 cm wide, 7 cm deep – 28 ins high, 12 ins wide, 2¾ ins deep p rov e na nc e: Part of a Farm in Derbyshire since the 19th Century Ex Private collection sold at auction 2013 The grave marker or headstone is a visible link between the living and dead. In this form of vernacular art there is a reminder to those who come after us of their own mortality and of the frailty of all human life. Since prehistoric times it has been customary to mark the place of burial as a sign of respect and remembrance. Stonehenge and Avebury were built thousands of years before the dawn of Christianity and are amongst the most important tomb complexes in Europe. They demonstrate the signiWcance attached by prehistoric man to burials close to monuments of religious ritual, which led to the Christian custom of burying the dead in or near buildings of religious belief and importance. In 752 ad St Cuthbert was granted permission by the Pope to establish churchyards around churches, with four cardinal points marked with crosses. It was not until the 10th Century that the practice of enclosing churchyards was introduced, and this is the origin of the term God’s Acre. All early burials took place on the south side of the church, a relic of the pagan worship of the sun god. The north side was deemed to be the domain of the devil and was viewed with fear and superstition. It was here that the un-baptised, infants, criminals and suicides were buried.


[46] Australian Aboriginal Returning Hunting Boom­erang an 0ld paper label attached Inscribed: Made by the Natives of South Australia Bought Home by H.R.H. The Duke of York Old Smooth Dry Patina Mid 19th Century s i z e: 54 cm wide – 21¼ ins wide p rov e na nc e: Ex collection of the Author Charles Ray (1900 – 1955) Cromer Ex Private Norfolk collection 1955 – 2014 s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 22, item no. 53, for a 19th Century New Zealand Gold Mounted Maire wood stock whip presented to H.R.H. Duke of Edinburgh in 1869 In 1901 Albert Edward, then Prince of Wales planned a tour of the Empire with his wife Alexandria, but the death of his mother Queen Victoria on 22nd January 1901 meant that preparations were made for the Coronation in 1902 instead. Consequently Edward VII’s son Prince George, Duke of Cornwall and York and his wife Mary of Tech were consigned to undertake the voyage. Arriving in Albany in Western Australia they sailed to Melbourne and there opened the Wrst Australian federal parliament. They then travelled to Sydney by train. The Duke of Cornwall and York later became King George V and his son Edward; Prince of Wales also visited Australia in April 1920 to thank them for their participation in WWI. Three ancient boomerangs were recovered from a South Australian peat quarry and dated to 8th Century bc, which suggests that the Aboriginal boomerang is the oldest in the World. The lighter returning boomerangs such as this example with thin broad blades and a sharp elbow were used for hunting water birds on the lakes and waterways of South Eastern South Australia, Southern New South Wales and Victoria. When thrown low over waterfowl at streams or swamps the shadow of the boomerang resembles that of a swooping hawk serving to scare the birds to Xy into prepared nets. The carving of boomerangs was exclusively a male activity and before the advent of plentiful metal tools, they were cut using stone axes and adze and then Wnished with a stone or shell scraper. The subtle variation in size, form and decoration of Australian boomerangs mirrors the social and physical diversity of the Aboriginal people across the Country.


[47] A Fine Chinese Ivory Casket of Rectangular Form with Hinged Cover Profusely Carved in Deep Relief with a Scene of Armoured Knights on Horseback in a landscape of Pavilions, Trees, Birds and Figures. The Front and Back with Carved Floral Panels the Sides with Unusual Panels Carved with Fish and Crustacea. The Casket Standing on Feet Carved of Four Ivory Dragons Heads. The Velvet Lined Interior with a Top Tray Lifting to Reveal a Deep Compartment Complete with Original Silver Key Qing Dynasty, 19th Century

s i z e: 13.5 cm high, 19.5 cm wide, 15.5 cm deep – 5¼ ins high, 7¾ ins wide, 6 ins deep p rov e na nc e: Private Spanish collection Of all the objects the Chinese in the hongs of Canton could produce for the export market nothing more intrigued Westerners than the carvings of ivory, mother of pearl and tortoiseshell. Extreme patience and skill was needed by the Cantonese craftsmen using unusually sharp instruments, and the high quality of their carving did not falter in 300 years! Carvings from the simplest to the most ornate were greatly valued in the West, then as now, as they captured the imagination of purchasers from all walks of life.


[48] A Medieval French Limestone Gaping Gargoyle Carved in the form of a Grotesque Fantastical Frog 15th Century

s i z e: 24 cm high, 16.5 cm wide, 19 cm deep – 9½ ins high, 6½ ins wide, 7½ ins deep p rov e na nc e: Ex English Private collection The word gargoyle comes from the Latin qurqulio, meaning throat and gargoyles were intended for use on an ecclesiastical building as a water-spout. However, the variations produced by the medieval stonemason on this functional theme are endlessly fascinating. Peering down at us from the tops of church walls for over eight centuries, these monstrous beings spew water from their throats and deter the devil from entering the sanctuary within.


[49] A Pacific Marquesas Islands Whale Ivory Fan Handle Ke’e A large central Tiki figure with oversize incised eyes backed by four smaller Tiki stacked one on top of another an abstract eye motif to the base of the handle A double-drilled hole to the top to take a wood shaft First half of 19th Century s i z e: 7 cm long, 3 cm dia. (max) – 2¾ ins long, 1¼ ins dia. (max) p rov e na nc e: Ex Private collection Marquesas ornamental whale ivory objects became more abundant in the early 19th century when the European and American whalers and sandalwood traders brought large numbers of whale teeth to the islands to exchange for food and other commodities. Distinctively shaped fans tahi’i were carried on the Islands by warriors, ritual specialists known as tau’a and other men and women of high birth or status. As symbols of rank they were displayed on important occasions such as feasts and their visual impact was enhanced by the elegant manner in which they would be carried.


[50] A Curious English Carved Limestone Model of a Medieval Knights Tomb The Knight wearing mail lying on the lid which opens to reveal a coffin containing a carved stone skeleton Early 19th Century

s i z e: 16 cm high, 23.5 cm wide, 11 cm deep – 6¼ ins high, 9¼ ins wide, 4¼ ins deep Funerary monuments erected inside churches and cathedrals changed in style and form with the ages. From the coffin lids and grave slabs of the 12th century to the elaborate architectural memorials of the Victorian age. However, the symbols of death and mortality; the skulls, cross bones and whole skeletons, were a constantly recurring feature of Christian tomb sculpture, a memento mori.


[51] A Rare North Alaskan Iupiak Eskimo Whalebone Scraper Urugan the Club Shaped Tool Carved with an EYgy of a White Beluga Whale Early 19th Century

s i z e: 42 cm long, 10.5 cm wide (max) – 16½ ins long, 4 ins wide (max) p rov e na nc e: Collected in Nome, Alaska Ex Private collection The white whale was an important quarry for the people of the Bering Sea. It had a special signiWcance and was accorded the utmost respect. When a white whale was caught a song was offered to its spirit and it was customary in many regions never to hunt for them with iron bladed harpoons, nor to cut them with iron knives or to use iron scrapers. This whalebone tool was used to clean the skin of fat and then to remove creases, and after soaking to soften it, to make it pliable. From May to November the white whales frequent the sand bars and shores of Norton Sound and the mouths of the Yukon and Kuskokwin rivers. They pursued the abundant tomcod Wsh in the tidal creeks and marshy estuaries until the ice would freeze the streams over. In the 19th century they could be heard regularly every night hissing and blowing in the streams as they hunted for Wsh. When they were encountered in large numbers they would be surrounded, driven into shallow water and killed. The blubber of the white whale is clear and white and considered superior to seal by the Eskimo. Their intestines were made into waterproof garments or Xoats and the sinews were highly prized. The scraped skin was made into strong lines or durable boot soles. When well cooked the half-inch thick soft epidermis is considered choice eating with a pleasant Xavour recalling that of chestnuts.


[52] A Victorian Cased Collection of Over 200 Geological Mineral and Semi-Precious Gemstone Specimens Contained in Four Tiers of Numbered Sections with Old Labels within a Wooden Box Circa 1860 – 1880

s i z e: 16 cm high, 39.5 cm wide, 26.5 cm deep – 6¼ ins high, 15½ ins wide, 10¼ deep s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no.17 item no. 40 for another example The fascination with natural history and the study of the science of nature began in the 16th Century with the Renaissance. Exploration and the discovery of exotic far away lands saw the emergence of an intellectual elite with a passion for naturalia. By the 19th Century amateur scholars travelled and corresponded with one another on the subject of fossils, minerals, crystals, gemstones and shells, all of which were collected, catalogued and placed into study cabinets. These formed the basis for the educational aids used to teach Victorian pupils the rudiments of the natural sciences.


[53] A Finely Turned Lignum Vitae Puzzle Box Containing Sixteen Ivory Squares each marked 1 – 16 Early 19th Century

s i z e: 4 cm high, 10 cm dia. – 1½ ins high, 4 ins dia. s e e: Finch and Co catalogue no. 20, item no. 56, for an English Ivory educational throwing ball Puzzles became popular in England during the 18th century as a supplement to formal teaching. This Wnely turned box containing sixteen numbered ivory squares was probably an instructive puzzle aid to teaching the numerals. It made learning fun. A contrivance to teach children to count and add whilst they thought they were only playing.


[54] A Fine Collection of Three Spanish Colonial Philippines Carved Ivory Heads Depicting the Virgin Mary The eyes of glass, fixings to the head for a wig or aurole of silver 18th Century

s i z e: [a]: 5.5 cm high – 2¼ ins high / 11 cm high – 4¼ ins high (including stand) [b]: 9 cm high – 3½ ins high / 15 cm high – 6 ins high (including stand) [c]: 13.5 cm high – 5¼ ins high / 21.5 cm high – 8½ ins high (including stand) p rov e na nc e: Ex German Private collection purchased while resident in Manila in the 1950’s The cathedral of Manila, the Wrst in the islands, was erected in 1578 by Pope Gregory XIII under the invocation of the Immaculate Conception and thus in the Philippines the Virgin was often portrayed as a solitary Wgure without her child, the Purisima or Queen of Heaven. For 350 years the Philippines were under Spanish colonial rule and the Cult of Mary, Santa Maria, was of great importance. Almost every other church was dedicated to one of her titles and images of her were therefore in great demand. Retables frequently had statues of the Virgin on the central or highest niche whilst household altars always had some representation of the Virgin standing beside a cruciWx. Wooden statues of the Madonna and of saints with ivory heads and other parts were also carved in Europe by artists such as Simon Troger in South Germany, but the carving of religious ivories in the Philippines developed from a mix of the cultures of Goa, India, China and colonial Spain and Portugal. Many of the Wgures were modelled after prints and 17th century religious oil paintings. The wooden bodies of the Santos and Virgin were clothed in rich luxurious garments often garnished with precious stones, and strips of gold and silver, and were perfumed for special feast days with scented oils. The smaller Wgures were kept for private devotion or encased in frames, whilst the larger ones were intended for processions on Good Friday or the town Westa, where they embodied the piety and pride of the community.


[55] A Fine Large Western Papua New Guinea Kiwai Man’s Pubic Shield Yadere-ere of Bailer Shell with Original Woven Fibre Binding Late 19th – Early 20th Century

s i z e: 26.5 cm high, 18.5 cm wide – 10½ ins high, 7¼ ins wide 35 cm high – 13¾ ins high (including stand) p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection Men of the peoples living around the muddy estuarine waters of the western shores of the Gulf of Papua from Goaribari Island to the mouth of the Fly River, and further into the Islands of the Torres Strait, wore these pubic shields cut from the large curve of the Helo or bailer shell. They would wear them during raids and in warfare with the neighbouring tribes, and also when dancing was required on ceremonial occasions.


[56] A New Hebrides Vanuatu Santo Nalot Pudding Pounder 19th Century

s i z e: 60 cm long – 23¼ ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection Nalot is a pounded cooked pudding mixed with coconut milk, which can be made from taro, yam, banana, manioc, or in some areas from breadfruit. It is not grated or scraped and then baked in an earth-oven, as are the other staples such as laplap, but cooked and pounded simultaneously. Each area of Vanuatu had its own style of pounder and although the preparation of food was usually a female activity, nalot pounding was usually a male task. Santo pounders are thicker and heavier than those from the north which are lighter and somewhat Wner, and their carved Wnials may be representations of the traditionally used fruit such as breadfruit and pandanus.


[57] A South American Amazonian Tukano Ceremo­nial Deer Bone Flute Adorned with Parrot and Toucan Fea­ther Danglers Late 19th – Early 20th Century

s i z e: 25 cm long – 9¾ ins long This musical instrument is generally played by men and is heard during the Chicha festival, which is held to celebrate the manioc harvest. Chicha is a kind of potent fermented drink made from grated manioc root and toasted casava. Vast quantities are consumed together with pounded coca leaves by the men of the community whilst the shaman controls the pace of the dancing which culminates in a mass trance-like state. The deer bone Xute emits a bizarre, piercing, eerie, but melodious and hypnotic sound which is made by blowing down a small slit cut into the head. The Xute is played between the dances at the festival to invoke the spirits to join the ceremonies.


[58] Two Rare New Zealand Maori Fish Hooks

One of human bone and one of Pacific Mussel Shell Old ink inscribed label attached ‘New Zealand fish hooks of human bone’ Early 19th Century s i z e: approx: 3.5 cm long – 1¼ ins long and 2 cm long – ¾ ins long c f: British Museum Collection of Maori Wsh hooks made of human bone illustrated Harry Beasley Fish Hooks pg 9; Plate XII A To the Maori living on the coast of New Zealand Wshing was a way of life. An ingenious variety of hooks were made with special types of Wshing gear produced for speciWc quarry. Many of the old bone Wsh hooks were found in sand dunes and kitchen middens. They were carved from whale, moa bird or human bone and nearly all have a lug for the bait string. Most of the shell hooks are cut from the New Zealand large mussel shell Mytilus latus, and must have been difficult to produce in such minute form. These shell hooks are thought to have been made in the South Island.


[59] A Pair of Sri Lankan Carved Ivory Royal Figures of the Kandyan Court holding a Lotus Blossom Dressed in their Jewels and Wne Silk Robes Early 19th Century

s i z e: 12 cm and 9.5 cm high – 4¾ ins and 3¾ ins high p rov e na nc e: Ex Private English collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 20, item no. 28, and catalogue no. 22, item no. 45, for two other ivories of court nobles Known as the Isle of Rubies by the early Arab Muslim traders in the 8th - 10th Centuries; described in 1646 as A gift from a divine hand by the Portuguese Jorge Phito de Azevedo to his King Joao IV, the beautiful pear shaped island of Sri Lanka was called Ceylon by the British when they brought the island under colonial rule in 1815. Later, Horace Walpole was to describe the country as the Isle of Serendip. The mountain kingdom of Kandy was established in the 14th Century by King Wickramabahu of Gampola. The capital was named Kandy in honour of a Brahmin holy man called Senkanda who lived as a hermit in a cave behind what was to become the Royal Palace and its complex of shrines.


[60] Australian New South Wales Aboriginal Wedge Shaped Parrying Shield Decorated with Abstract Emu Bird Tracks to both sides Old shiny smooth patina Three inventory numbers painted to the side and reverse 19th Century

s i z e: 53 cm long, 11.5 cm wide, 8.5 cm deep – 20¾ ins long, 4½ ins wide, 3¾ ins deep 58 cm high – 22¾ ins high (including stand) p rov e na nc e: Ex Private English Collection Some of the early European settlers and visitors to the newly founded Australian colonies collected Aboriginal artefacts, most of which ended up in Europe or Britain. However, the European settlement of Australia began with the founding of Sydney in 1788 and rapidly spread, so that by the 1850’s most of the South-eastern Australian Aboriginal groups had been displaced and dispossessed of their lands, consequently there is little South-eastern Australian Aboriginal material left to be found in situ.


[61] An Australian Western Desert Aboriginal Chur­inga the Wood Etched with an Abstract Design 19th Century

s i z e: 61 cm high, 4.5 cm wide – 24 ins high, 1¾ ins wide 66.5 cm high – 26¼ ins high (including stand) p rov e na nc e: Ex Private English Collection Churinga’s are manufactured with great care and patience and beautiful highly conventionalised designs were engraved on them by means of a possum’s tooth. They are sacred objects which represent the ancestral and the individual spirit of the owner. They can only be seen by initiated men during the time of a ceremony. At other times they are kept carefully wrapped in bark or skins and hidden in sacred places. Women and children were not allowed to see them and the breaking of this rule was punishable by death or blinding. Churinga’s exist in different forms in many parts of Australia, those from Western Australia are made from wood and vary considerably in size, some of them reaching a length of seventeen feet.


[62] An Unusually Large Napoleonic Prisoner of War Carved Bone Working Model of the French Revolutionary Guillotine The Recumbent Body of the Queen, Marie Antoinette, Lying on a Podium below the blade her decapitated head rolling into a waiting basket A Priest by her side providing the last rites the waiting guards below with moveable arms Late 18th – Early 19th Century

s i z e: 58.5 cm high, 24 cm deep, 19.5 cm wide – 23 ins high, 9½ ins deep, 7¾ ins wide p rov e na nc e: Ex Private East Anglian collection s e e: Finch & Co Catalogue no. 6, item no. 80, for another guillotine The guillotine was the invention of a French physician and revolutionary Joseph Iguace Guillotin (1738-1814). He proposed, as Deputy that the Constituent Assembly should use a decapitating instrument as a means of swift execution. This was adopted in 1791 and the machine named after him. During the Napoleonic Wars over one hundred thousand prisoners were held captive in Britain and many of them supplemented their meagre rations by earning money from selling objects carefully carved from the bones of their mutton stew. At Norman Cross near Peterborough the camp kitchen cooked the stew in a cauldron Wve feet across and three feet deep. The bone would be collected and submerged in wet clay until it became pliable enough to use. Encouraged by the authorities, the prisoners formed artisan guilds and produced articles such as this guillotine, which they would sell in the civilian market periodically held at the camp. Occasionally, a particularly skilled artist would be privately commissioned to carve a work. Access to material was restricted and often their collection of sheep and beef bones ran out so they would supplement their supplies with human bones uncovered by roving pigs in the shallow graves clustered around the camp. From 1796 to 1816 ten thousand men were held at the camp at Norman Cross near Peterborough. Many of them learnt English, some married local girls and a few through making and selling products of their skill amassed small fortunes by the end of the war.


[63] A Central African Zaire Kuba Related Peoples Ceremonial Ivory Pounder or Pestle Fine old smooth silky patina 19th Century

s i z e: 41.5 cm long – 16 ins long s e e: Finch & Co Catalogue no. 19, item no. 62, for another Kuba Pestle Elephant hunting was a dangerous exercise requiring special skills and involving ritual observances and in the 19th Century the Kuba had an association to control the local trade in ivory and to help insure the success of the hunt. The successful hunter was recognised and had the right to wear special talismanic necklaces. His wife would also display his prowess by using an ivory tusk as a pounder in food preparation. These pestles are worn from years of use and speak of the former importance of elephant hunting to the Kuba, and of the relationship between the hunter’s success and the display of status-imbued objects.


[64] Southern African Kalahari Bushmen Rattle made from the Shell of a Leopard Tortoise with three Giraffe bone clappers Late 19th – Early 20th Century

s i z e: 16 cm high, 10.5 cm wide, 7.5 cm deep – 6¼ ins high, 4¼ ins wide, 3 ins deep The Kalahari Bushmen are the only people in the whole of the African continent to maintain themselves exclusively by hunting and gathering. They are now conWned to the Kalahari Desert, but once occupied a territory extending from Southern Zimbabwe to the Cape and east to Natal. They were conWned to their arid desert habitat Wrstly by Hottentot pastoralists and then by the Boer farmers who over great tracts exterminated the Bushmen by the use of organised commando raids. Even though in their restricted territories they have been compelled to adapt to extreme aridity as well as being subjected to the effects of culture contact, the Bushmen still preserve a way of life comparable in many respects with that of their Stone Age ancestors.


[65] Alaskan Yup’ik Eskimo Carved Walrus Ivory Amuletic Figure of a Young Caribou A blue glass trade bead fastened to its mouth 19th Century s i z e: 10 cm long – 4 ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex Private collection During the Autumn and Winter months hunters trap the larger land animals including caribou, moose and bear. The caribou provide many materials critical to the maintenance of Bering Sea culture. Besides meat for food, their fur, hide, sinew and antlers are all used. However, these amulets are thought to portray young or foetal caribou with their immature features, crouching position and thin legs with detailed hooves. Foetal caribou are frequently taken during the spring hunt before their mothers give birth, and their soft hide is prized for clothing. The function of this caribou amulet is not to magically promote a successful hunt but rather to insure the continued abundance of the species.


[66] An Unusual Bering Strait Inupiak Eskimo Ivory Drag Handle Carved with Two Opposing Polar Bear Heads The nostrils inlaid with baleen, original seal skin cord Early 19th Century

s i z e: 8 cm long, 3 cm dia. (max) – 3 ins long, 1¼ ins dia. (max) p rov e na nc e: Ex Private collection Before a hunter sets out on the Arctic Sea ice he makes sure that his equipment is in proper order, that he is warmly clothed, that he has the correct weapons for that season’s game, and importantly that he is prepared spiritually for encounters with potentially unfriendly spirits. He therefore carries protective fetishes in pouches around his neck or sewn into his clothing, hunting charms to assist him in Wnding prey and others to guide his weapon. In winter the game is brought home over the ice with the aid of drag handles. These are symbolically shaped as a seal, poplar bear or walrus, and the repetitive use of imagery reinforces the appeasement of the hunted animal’s soul.


[67] A South-western Alaska Nunivak Island Yup’ik Eskimo Hooped Wooden Shaman’s Dance Mask Kegginaquq depicting a Helping Spirit With tattoo to chin, cormorant feathers attaching two feet and other appendages to the bentwood hoops Traces of red, white and blue pigments inscribed with: Kipnuk and inventory number: 133.14A to reverse Early 20th Century

s i z e: 27 cm high, 20 cm wide, 7.5 cm deep – 10½ ins high, 8 ins wide, 3 ins deep (face) approx 64 cm dia. – 25¼ ins dia (max) p rov e na nc e: Collected in Bethel, Alaska, from an Eskimo family who inherited the mask from their father who had originally collected it in Tunuvak, Alaska Ex Private collection c fF: A similar mask in the Danish National Museum P.33.109 collected on Nunivak Island by Knud Rasmussen The name Yup’ik is the self-designation of the eskimo’s of Western Alaska and is derived from their word for person Yuk and -pik meaning real or genuine. Together with many indigenous peoples throughout the world they consider themselves real people in contrast to the less real outsiders. Depicting the face of a shaman or augalkut these masks were used by shaman to facilitate communication and movement between the human and the animal worlds and between the living and the dead. The outstretched red coloured feet signify the power of the augalkut supported by tunrat helping or familiar spirits throughout the world. The spirits revealed themselves through the medium of the mask and were both dangerous and helpful. When used by the shaman in dramatic enactments of past spiritual encounters, the masks had the power to elicit their participation in the future. Ritually powerful masks were created for each ceremonial event under direction of a shaman and they were usually discarded after use, their force being spent. However, in the 19th and early 20th centuries traders and reindeer herders worked their way along the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers collecting masks as they travelled. Admired for their abstract forms they became a source of inspiration for the surrealist art movement.


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