DA V I D A A RON
DAVID AARON III
london | 2019
d a v id a a r o n 22 ber k eley sq uar e lo nd o n, w1j 6eh +44 20 7491 9588 info @ d avid aar o n. c o m www. d avid aar o n. c o m
“Mother acquired this eighteenth dynasty bas-relief prior to a trip to Egypt I took with my parents in 1929. Although I had seen it before then, it came to have greater interest for me after that trip, which opened my eyes to a civilization …” david rockefeller, 1993
Establishing provenance is an essential element of our responsibility as a gallery specializing in ancient art. The provenance affirms the legitimacy of an object and also helps to chronicle the unique journey each object has taken. In some cases, our understanding of an object becomes inseparable from this journey – for instance, the famed ‘Gayer-Anderson Cat’ at The British Museum, or the record-breaking ‘Guennol Lioness’, that was fittingly named after its former owners, who truly appreciated its magic. The twenty-four objects assembled in this catalogue showcase a selection of beautiful and important artworks from various cultures and also pay homage to the previous custodians of the objects – such notable collectors and connoisseurs as Peggy and David Rockefeller, Roger Peyrefitte, Mr and Mrs Kofler-Turniger, Charles Gillot, Dikran G. Kelekian, Leopold Hirsch, Ernest Brummer, Maurice Nahman, Baroness GoldschmidtRothschild, Marion Schuster, Albert Gallatin, Theron J. Damon, Charles Gillet, George Sand and many others. These pieces help tell the story of these extraordinary people and their love of ancient art.
8 1. THE ‘ROCKEFELLER’ RELIEF Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasty XXIX, c. 1300 bc 12 2. THE ‘GALLATIN’ HEAD OF ARTEMIS Hellenistic, 3rd–2nd century bc 16 3. GREEK HEAD OF A YOUNG MALE Greek, 4th–3rd century bc 20 4. THE ‘NAHMAN’ GROUP Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasty XVIII, probably Heliopolis 26 5. THE ‘GILLOT’ TAWERET Egypt, Saite Period, 664–525 bc 30 6. TORSO OF DIONYSUS Roman, 1st–2nd century ad 36 7. MONUMENTAL SABEAN STATUE Arabian Peninsula, 1st century bc 40 8. GRANITE OFFICIAL Roman, 1st century bc – 1st century ad 46 9. HEAD OF A BEARDED GOD Roman, 1st–3rd century ad 52 10. SILENUS WITH WINE SKIN Hellenistic, 2nd century bc – 1st century ad 60 11. FIGURE OF ONURIS Egypt, 3rd Intermediate Period, 1069–664 bc 64 12. BRONZE OSIRIS Egypt, 3rd Intermediate Period, 1075–716 bc
64 13. BAKET-MUT, CHANTRESS OF AMUN Egypt, New Kingdom, probably Dynasty XIX, c. 1285–1270 bc 72 14. MOTHER AND CHILD Seljuk, Central Asia, 12th century ad 76 15. THE ‘DAMON’ CANDLESTICK Central Asia, 15th century 82 16. RHYTON PROTOME IN THE SHAPE OF A WINGED IBEX Achaemenid, Central Asia, 5th–4th century bc 88 17. THE ‘GILLET’ PIRAVEND IDOL North-Western Iran, Iron Age II-III, c. 1000–650 bc 94 18. EGYPTIAN MASK Egypt, 3rd Intermediate Period, Dynasty XXII–XXIII, c. 903–817 bc 98 19. GILT CARTONNAGE MUMMY MASK Egypt, Roman Period, 1st–2nd century ad 102 20. CORINTHIAN HELMET Greek, 6th century bc 106 21. GREEK CUIRASS Greece, 4th century bc 108 22. VOTIVE LION VESSEL WITH INSCRIPTION FOR KING DAMIQ-ILISHU Mesopotamia, c. 1752–1730 bc 114 23. THE ‘GEORGE SAND’ BULL Iran, 1st millennium bc 118 24. BRONZE DEER Central Asia, 1st millennium bc
1 THE ‘ROCKEFELLER’ RELIEF Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasty XIX, c. 1300 bc Limestone | h. 31.1 cm provenance With Dikran G. Kelekian (1868–1951), New York Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, New York, acquired from the above, c. 1924–25 Estate of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (with a life interest to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.), 1948–61 Winthrop Rockefeller, Petit Jean Mountain, Arkansas, 1961–73 Estate of Winthrop Rockefeller, 1973–74 David Rockefeller, New York, acquired from the above, 1974 publis hed R. Ellsworth et al., The David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection: Arts of Asia and Neighboring Cultures, New York, 1993, vol III, pp. 368–69, no. 274 c ondition Restored breaks with areas of infill. The relief is still mounted in its original early 20th-century wooden frame.
Photograph of the relief in the Rockefeller family home in New York taken in 1929. The relief can be seen resting on the table to the left of the picture.
mwt, the word for mother or the Goddess Mut, and in the upper right the remains of a text reading either ‘the good god’ or ‘the good day [holiday]’. Although the interpretation of this scene as a banqueting lady with a serving girl seems likely, an alternative interpretation would be to regard the scene as a lady with a child on her lap, as in the wall painting showing Ken-Amu-n’s mother as a nurse with the royal child Amenhotep II (Davies, The Tomb of Ken-Amu-n at Thebes, New York, 1930, vol. I, pl. IX). _ william kelly simpson, 1993
The subject is probably a lady in a banqueting scene with an attendant serving the lady. The fragment includes the head and left shoulder of a lady, her right hand (shown as a left hand) extended to receive an orsel, and the smaller right hand and upper right arm of a second figure facing her. This somewhat confusing group of hands represents the interaction of two figures, the lady and a smaller secondary figure. The finely delineated profile of the lady with the well-carved eye is set off by an elaborate headdress. On the top of her head is an ointment cone from which two lotus buds fall to the front. These cones were worn at banquets and gradually melted to suffuse. An earspool of a type usually postdating the Amarna period (1350–1314 bc) covers part of the check, and there is a wide upper headband and a narrower lower hairband placed unusually high near the eye level. Part of this area appears to have been reworked. For the lady’s headress, a fairly close parallel, depicted in the opposite direction, exists in a scene from the tomb of Nefer-hotep, during the reign of Ay, the successor to Tutankhamen (see N. de Garis Davies, The Tomb of Neferhotep at Thebes, New York, 1933, Vol. I, pl. III). Scenes of banqueting with the serving girls on a smaller scale are frequently represented in Egyptian art (see Davies, The Tomb of Nakht at Thebes, New York, 1917, pl. XV, and Davies, Private Tombs at Thebes, Oxford, 1957, vol. IV, pl. 6). In front of the lady’s face is the hieroglyphic group
not e on t he prove nance The relief was purchased by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, from the art dealer Dikran Kelekian (1868–1951) not long before she visited Cairo in 1929. A notable collector of antiquities and ancient Islamic art, Kelekian and his brother established shops in Istanbul, Cairo, Paris, London and New York. Kelekian was known for encouraging contemporary artists, including Matisse, Sargent and Picasso, to take an interest in ancient art. He also sold important works such as the monumental friezes from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud in Mesopotamia to David’s father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who later gifted them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Art dealer Dikran Kelekian outside his Paris gallery, 1912
In recent times the relief was close at hand on David Rockefeller’s desk in his study
‘Junior’ and his wife shared a deep interest in ancient Egypt and had been generous and long-standing supporters of archaeologist Dr James Henry Breasted’s excavations in Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. In 1928 Breasted invited the Rockefellers to visit the digs they had funded. The couple had never been to Egypt before, and readily accepted. In his memoirs David recalled how, aged 13, he persuaded his parents to take him along on their trip. In January 1929 the family party set sail for Egypt. During that memorable three-month trip, the party sailed up the Nile with Breasted as their guide, and David rode by camel to Giza, where he climbed the Great Pyramid. It was in the bazaars of Egypt, he wrote in his memoirs, that he first ‘learned to bargain for everything, offering but a fraction of the listed price’. Four years before the Rockefellers’ trip to Egypt and the Holy Land, Junior had offered $10 million to rebuild the Cairo Museum of Antiquities, but the Egyptian government had refused. ‘Father always suspected it was the result of pressure from the British government,’ reflected David, who recalled visiting the museum in 1929 and being shocked by its dilapidated state. Eventually, the money was used to help found the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem, where
the family travelled after Cairo. The museum still exists today. Archival images indicate that David’s parents kept this relief on a sideboard surrounded by Islamic and Far Eastern ceramics, paintings and bronzes. After Abby’s death, it passed to David’s brother, Winthrop Rockefeller; in 1974, upon Winthrop’s death, David purchased the work from his brother’s estate: Mother acquired this eighteenth dynasty bas-relief prior to a trip to Egypt I took with my parents in 1929. Although I had seen it before then, it came to have greater interest for me after that trip, which opened my eyes to a civilization that I had studied in a very rudimentary way in a history course at the Lincoln School. Because the trip left such a lasting impression on me, I was especially pleased to acquire this piece from my brother Winthrop’s estate in 1974. After retiring David moved his collection of antiquities, including Greek vases and ancient bronzes, to his New York home. He gave the relief pride of place on his desk in the study.
2 THE ‘GALLATIN’ HEAD OF ARTEMIS Hellenistic, 3rd–2nd century bc Marble | h. 11 cm provenance With Azeez Khayat, New York, since at least 1913 Subsequently in the Collection of Albert Gallatin (1880–1965) acquired from the above in November 1913 This head was shown to Professor Beazley in 1946 Thence by descent to his son Mr James Gallatin in 1965 Subsequently inherited by his wife Mrs J. Gallatin Estate of Mrs J. Gallatin exhibited Fogg Museum of Art, Boston, Ancient Art, 1954–55 published Margaret Bieber, Arndt-Amelung, Bruckmann, Munich, 1938, no. 4491 Fogg Museum of Art, Boston, Ancient Art, 1954–55, no. 163 condition Tip of nose missing, very light incrustations to hair otherwise in excellent condition.
This beautiful marble portrait is the Hellenistic depiction of the Greek goddess Artemis (whose Roman equivalent was Diana). She was the goddess of the wild, nature, hunting, chastity and in time, childbirth. She was the twin sister of the god Apollo, who was associated with art, poetry, love and the sun. The story of her birth recounts how at only a few days old, she helped her mother Leto deliver her twin brother. Her ancient cult remained incredibly popular, with many statues being created in dedication to her in various temples around the ancient world.1
This delicate marble head has been elegantly and naturalistically carved from a superior quality white marble, which possesses an almost translucent appearance. Depicted with thick curls tied back into a low bun, soft features and a knowing gaze â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it is one of the most iconic images of the ancient world. Bust portraits such as this were commonly used as small devotional aides, and it would have likely filled a niche in a house or place of worship.
Azeez Khayat, Haifa, 1931
Azeez Khayat Advertisement in The Naturalist Directory, 1894
acquisition of Albert’s collection. Henry G. Fischer (1923– 2005), Curator of Egyptian Art at the museum, described it as ‘the most important group of antiquities from ancient Egypt that the Museum has acquired since the final season of our Theban excavations in 1936, and the most important purchase of its kind since 1926, when we obtained the Carnarvon Collection and accessioned the Treasure of the Three Princesse’.
p a ra llels 1. Diana (or Artemis) of Gabii, originally from the Borghese collection and attributed Praxiteles, Musée du Louvre, Paris, acc. no. 1807 2. Marble head of Artemis, 1st–2nd century ad, h. 14.9 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. acc. no. 23.160.5 3. Marble head of Artemis, 200–100 bc, h. 19.05 cm, British Museum, London, 1861,1127.128
Azeez Khayat (1875–1943) was born in Tyre, Lebanon (then Ottoman Syria) on 1 January 1875. He was an amateur archaeologist who excavated sites in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Greece. As an antiquities expert, he made a living bringing many rare and important antique objects into the hands of serious collectors and museums. From 1903 he was also well known for selling antiquities through his own public auctions at The Fifth Avenue Art Galleries, in New York City – The Annual Sale of the Azeez Khayat Collection. He also sold many collections of antiquities including some coins through Anderson Galleries, New York.
n o t e o n th e p r o v en a n c e Albert Gallatin (1880–1965) was the son of Frederic Gallatin. He descends from the famous and distinguished Gallatin family, whose ancestry included Albert Gallatin (1761–1849), Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Jefferson and Madison as well as US Minister to France. His first cousin, Albert Eugene Gallatin (1881–1952), was a very notable painter and art collector who was also one of the founders of New York University. At NYU, A.E. Gallatin founded the Gallery of Living Art (renamed the Museum of Living Art in 1936), which was devoted exclusively to showing works by contemporary artists. Albert Gallatin formed a collection of ancient Egyptian art, which was sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art after his death and the Met’s March 1967 bulletin was dedicated to the
note 1 T. Fischer-Hansen & B. Poulsen; From Artemis to Diana: The Goddess of Man and Beast, Museum Tusculanum Press, 2009, p. 414.
3 GREEK HEAD OF A YOUNG MALE Greek, 4th–3rd century bc Marble | h. 10.5 cm provenance Agatha Sadler Collection (1924–2015), London, acquired before 1994 With John Hewett (1919–1994), London Sotheby’s London, The Sadler Collection, 30 October 2003, lot 52 Private Collection published Sotheby’s London, The Sadler Collection, 30 October 2003, lot 52 condition Minor damage to the nose with organic encrustation and root marks over the surface otherwise in excellent condition.
The young man is depicted with a thick mass of curls, drawn back from the forehead. The hair was originally painted a red oxide and some of the polychrome remains beneath the accretions and root marks. The full lips are slightly parted with the lidded eyes beneath a strong yet smooth brow line. The head recalls depictions of young men on funerary and votive stelai or reliefs of 4th- and 3rd-century bc Greece. There is another head of a boy in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, that may come from a small statue within a funerary naiskos (1972.118.111). It is a finely carved example and the surviving colour on the hair provides a sense of how ancient Greek sculpture would originally have looked.1 note 1 For further discussion of paint on Greek and Roman sculpture, see V. Brinkmann, and R. Wünsche, eds., Color of the Gods: Painted Sculpture in Classical Antiquity, Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek and Stiftung Archäologie, 2007; also J.B. Grossman, Looking at Greek and Roman Sculpture in Stone, Los Angeles, Getty Museum, 2003.
The Greek head in Charles and Agatha Sandler’s drawing room
4 THE ‘NAHMAN’ GROUP Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasty XVIII, probably Heliopolis Black serpentine and alabaster | h. 23.5 cm, w. 22.3 cm, d. 18 cm provenance Private Collection of Maurice Nahman (1868–1948), Cairo, Egypt since at least 1919 There are notes on the hieroglyphs by George E.J. Daressy (1864–1938), who was the former French Egyptologist to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo dated 1919 with Nahman’s name written on it. A copy of these notes can be found in the archives of the Collège de France Subsequently in the Private Collection of Charles Boreux (1874–1944), Paris, France Boreux was the former director of the Egyptian department at the Louvre Photographed by Maurice Chuzeville for the Louvre in 11 April 1961 European Art Market, 2014 Private Collection published Notes by George E.J. Daressy (1864–1938), Egypt, 1919 (a copy of these notes can be found in the archives of the Collège de France) Revue Égyptologique, Alexandre Moret & Pierre Jouguet, Paris, 1924 Daressy: Un Savant, Des Archives, Olivier Perdu, Paris, 6th–23rd March 2017 condition Upper portion of the figures missing (from black serpentine stone), otherwise in very good state of preservation.
This statue and base depicts the lower half of a couple, HĂ˘piemheb and his wife Ă&#x201A;nkheseniset, seated with their feet facing directly forwards and their hands resting neatly upon their laps. Both figures are wearing closely fitted naturalistic robes which end at the ankle, a common feature of sculptural Egyptian art in the XVIII and XIX Dynasties. The lower torsos, legs and seat are carved from a very fine dark serpentine; and in visual contrast to this, the simple rectangular base into which the upper part is imbedded has been created out of white alabaster. The entirety of the serpentine seat (both sides, posterior and narrow lower anterior band) and the four faces of the alabaster base are covered in tightly packed, finely incised hieroglyphics, including dedications to the god Ra-Horakhety of the Nome of Heliopolis and glorifications to Osiris. The statue and base date to the second half of Dynasty XVIII, however the inscriptions date to the Libyan period (c. Dynasty XXII). Temples in ancient Egypt were more than places where the gods were worshipped â&#x20AC;&#x201C; they represented the houses of the gods on earth. It was believed the offerings given at these temples ensured the continual rebirth of the sun each morning. Wealthy Egyptians often had statues of themselves placed within temple spaces, meant to
Maurice Nahman in his gallery, 1945
represent a perpetual devotional offering to the god of the temple â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in the case of this pair statue, to the god Ra-Horakhety, the hybrid god of Ra (the sun) and Horus (the sky and horizon). This also allowed those represented in the statues to take part in the rituals performed and daily offerings made to the temple. HĂ˘piemheb and his wife Ă&#x201A;nkheseniset would have donated the statue to the temple hoping to benefit from such offerings and religious rituals.
5 THE ‘GILLOT’ TAWERET Egypt, Saite Period, 664–525 bc Limestone | h. 10.5 cm provenance Charles Gillot, acquired on 12 January 1898 from Rollin & Feuardent, 4 rue et place Louvois in Paris (accompanied by a copy of the original invoice from 1898) Recorded in the account of Charles Gillot in January 1898 Gillot Family Collection until 2008 Sold at Ancienne Collection Charles Gillot (1853–1903), 4–5 March 2008, Christie’s, Paris, lot 114 (accompanied by French Cultural Passport 099169) Private Collection published Ancienne Collection Charles Gillot (1853–1903), 4–5 March 2008, Christie’s, Paris, lot 114 condition Feet broken and some damage to left hand, otherwise in excellent state of preservation.
Original 1898 invoice from Rollin & Feuardent
This statuette represents Taweret, an apotropaic goddess, whose domain was the protection of pregnant women and their babies. Her threatening image, intended to frighten away any malevolent forces, combines human, hippopotamus, crocodile and lion attributes. The family unit was an important feature of ancient Egyptian life. Establishing a household and producing a child, particularly a son, was very important for the Egyptians. However, in pre-modern cultures, pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period were dangerous for both mother and child. Though the Egyptians had remarkable medical knowledge, they also called on magic or religious intervention – spells, prayers and amulets – to address health issues. Figurines of Taweret, such as this one, may have been given as gifts, kept in household shrines, or dedicated at local temples in hope of or thanks for a successful birth. This figure of Taweret, portrays the hippopotamus goddess pregnant and standing. Her mouth is open, displaying her denuded teeth. She wears a striated tripartite wig and a large flowered necklace around her neck. Her full chest nearly covers her belly, and she has
a crocodile tail running down her back. This beautiful statuette’s almost perfect condition, exceptional craftsmanship and size suggest that it was most probably created for a temple. not e on t he prove nance Charles Gillot (1853–1903), was the son of Firmin Gillot (1819–1872), a printer and inventor, who revolutionized the bookmaking industry with his paniconography, or ‘gillotage’, a process allowing the simultaneous printing of text and image. On his father’s death, Charles took over the family business in the Faubourg Saint Martin, and made significant improvements to his father’s invention by incorporating the discoveries of Daguerre and Niepce. His work won awards at all the Great Exhibitions and earned him appointment as a Knight of the Order of the French Legion of Honour in 1886. He is best remembered for his magnificent collection, which included admirable examples of 14th-century Mamluk and French art as well as a fine selection of Egyptian antiquities. In the Journal des Arts of 19 March 1903, Raymond Koechlin hailed Gillot’s taste:
The Tawaret in the Gillot collection at the end of the 19th century
Above all, it was character that he sought in works of art, and that is why his taste was not exclusive he also found the character he liked in Japanese art, in Gothic art, in Oriental Art, and in the lovingly arranged display cases of his gallery items where every age rubbed shoulders together in perfect harmony. Never did a collection better reflect the personality of its originator, and never did a collector collect more for his own pleasure, to satisfy his own eye.
In 1904, part of his collection was auctioned at the Durand-Ruel Gallery in Paris. Samuel Bing, a famous dealer and friend of Charles Gillot, was the expert in charge. With 3,453 lots listed in two big catalogues, the sale was a major event. Even today it constitutes a reference in the history of auctions.
6 TORSO OF DIONYSUS Roman, 1stâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;2nd century ad Marble | h. 59 cm provenance Previously in the Private Collection of H. RĂśpp originally acquired in the 1930s Subsequently in a Private Collection, Zeulenroda Subsequently in a Private Collection, Schleiz German Art Market, 2006 Private German Collection (accompanied by German Export License) condition Areas of restoration, formerly a belt-shaped breakage in the waist, otherwise in excellent state of preservation.
This Roman torso, most probably carved in the 1st or 2nd century ad, depicts the god Dionysus. The model for such Roman marble sculptures derived from now lost 5th- and 6th-century bc Greek originals, cast in bronze. As the Romans conquered the Greek lands piece by piece, they became increasingly aware of Greek art. Roman generals looted Greek cities of their artistic treasures and brought them back to Rome. Soon Roman collectors created a market for the replication of classical Greek artworks, with which they decorated their homes and gardens. During the Imperial Period of ancient Rome between the 1st and 2nd century ad, all things Greek were particularly in vogue. Like the Greeks, the Romans had many gods – a mixture of native Italic, Etruscan, and Greek deities. The twelve Olympian gods of the Greeks all had Roman cognates. The Greek god Dionysus was also recognized in Roman culture as Bacchus. Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, wine, fertility, ritual madness, theatre and religious ecstacy. Depictions of him vary, ranging from an elderly bearded and clothed man, to a beardless, sensuous and androgynous youth, with this sculpture being an example of the latter. As an invoker of intoxication and eroticism, he was particularly popular as private garden and villa decoration.1
This torso is the surviving portion of what would have been a full sculpture of the standing god. Carved in the round, it is now missing its head, arms, calves and phallus. The figure was originally depicted standing in contrapposto, with the figure’s entire bodyweight resting on the left leg, the right leg bent at the knee and the arms falling in opposite directions, creating a naturalistic twist in the torso. With this weight shift, the hips and shoulders appear tilted, suggesting relaxation and creating a sense of movement. The contrapposto stance was first used in sculpture in ancient Greece, the most famous example being perhaps Polykleitos’ Doryphoros (Spear Bearer), which is known only through the Roman marble replicas. Dionysus’s long curly hair – with which we can infer his identity – falls to his shoulders. In antiquity, the head of this sculpture would most probably have been complete with a full wreath of vines and berries in his luxurious curls and he would have been holding a characteristic attribute such as a thyrsus or oinochoe. There is an addition of marble to the left thigh of the figure, which is remnant of a support such as a tree trunk or pillar. The god of wine has inspired art since antiquity and continues to inspire it today. A popular subject, he has been depicted by the greatest artists throughout time,
ranging from Renaissance masters such as Michelangelo and Titian to influential post-War artists such as Cy Twombly. Particularly similar parallels from antiquity to this torso can be found in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum in New York and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. An example of a typical head of Dionysus can be found in the collection of Castle Howard near York. p a ra llels 1. Dionysus, Roman, 1st–2nd century ad, marble, h. 33.7 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 2. Torso and right leg of Dionysus, Roman, 27 bc–68 ad, Marble, h. 62 cm, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston 3. Head of Dionysus, Roman, 1st–2nd century ad, marble, Castle Howard, York note 1 Z. Newby, Greek Myths in Roman Art and Culture, Imagery, Values and Identity in Italy, 50 BC-AD 250, Cambridge University Press, 2016, p. 87.
7 MONUMENTAL SABEAN STATUE Arabian Peninsula, 1st century bc Gesso painted marble | h. 79 cm provenance Previously in the Lucien (1901â&#x20AC;&#x201C;1982) and Irene Deloyers Collection, Belgium, acquired c. 1950s Gifted to a Belgian family in the early 1960s London Art Market, 2014 Private Collection publications Wonders of the Sabean World, David Aaron, 2017 condition Complete, with restored breaks. Large amount of original pigment still present. In very good condition.
The Sabeans were an ancient people who lived in the south-western part of the Arabian Peninsula. As a centre of culture for thousands of years, and growing rich from the trade of frankincense and myrrh, they were a visually cosmopolitan civilization. Small figurative statues are common throughout the empire, and were placed in tombs and temples as votive offerings. Some, such as this rare and intriguing example, hold empty boxes, into which offerings would be placed. These acts of piety would invoke the favour of the cult gods, but also acted as conscious displays of the donorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wealth and social status. It has also been suggested that the female statues could represent the Queen of Sheba, who came from this province, and whose journey to visit King Solomon is recounted in the Old Testament.1 This majestic statue stands frontally with its feet placed firmly on a small rectangular integral plinth. A layer of gesso, which covers the marble, has been incised with cross-hatched and linear bands of decoration suggesting necklaces. Her arms are bent at the elbow, projecting forwards holding a geometrically decorated hollow rectangular votive offering bowl. Her oval face with pointed chin is placidly composed, with a strong brow and stylized nose. The large almond eyes are deeply
Lucien and Irene Deloyers
not e on t he prove nance A prolific surgeon and Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold, Knight of the Legion of Honor and Commander of the Order of Academic Palms, Lucien Deloyers (1901–1982), a native of La Louvière, was proud to add that he was a member of the Arts, Sciences and Humanities Society of Hainaut and that he was laureate of the five-year Hainaut Prize in 1960–65. Together with his wife Irene, who was a famous violinist, they built a superb and extensive collection of ancient art while travelling Europe and Asia in the mid to late 20th century.
set, and contain drilled pupils that may have once been inlaid with precious stones. The face is incised with linear bands of decoration, and a beaded diadem crowning her head signifies she is a goddess. Her hair, which falls to her shoulders, and has also been incised with a symmetrical pattern. The National Museum of Aden contains a Sabean votive goddess statue called The Lady of ad-Dali – a limestone figure somewhat smaller than this, wearing a full-length dress but with a similar arrangement of jewellery. The position of her arms suggests she would have once held a box similar to this example, containing offerings to the gods. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York also contains an alabaster Sabean male votive figure, of similar stylized appearance and quality, with an inscribed base, suggesting each statue had a specific persona, perhaps to invoke a specific goddess, while the variety of materials indicates varying budgets. The crudeness and decay of the Aden example and the simplicity of the Metropolitan Museum example highlight the excellent museum-worthy craftsmanship and condition of this statue.
paralle ls 1. The Lady of ad-Dali, limestone Sabean statuette, 1st century bc, h. 54 cm, National Museum, Aden, Yemen, nam616 note 1 P. Monaghan, Goddesses in World Culture, vol. 1, ABC-CLIO, 2011, p. 252.
8 GRANITE OFFICIAL Roman, 1st century bc – 1st century ad Granite | h. 58 cm provenance Michel Guy (1927–1990) collection, Secrétaire d’Etat à la Culture (1974–76), France, acquired Paris 1970s Private French Collection (accompanied by French Cultural Passport 144323) published Succession de Monsieur Guy, SCP Perrin Royère Lajeunesse, 17 February 1991, lot 52 condition Missing head and feet. With some natural weathering. Otherwise in very good condition.
Michael Guy’s home, with the Granite Official showin in the foreground
The Roman province of Egypt was established under Octavian (the future Emperor Augustus) in 30 bc after the defeat of his rival Mark Antony and Queen Cleopatra, who, realising their fate, both committed suicide. Octavian annexed the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt – its final dynasty – as a southern state of the expansive Roman Empire. The conquest of Egypt saw a new era of Roman fascination with its ancient culture. The cult of Isis, granite obelisks and Egyptian architecture began to be exported around the empire. Likewise, reciprocal changes appear in Egyptian culture as their portraiture style became classicized.1 This finely carved torso of a Roman official exemplifies this period of early Roman rule in Egypt, where a unique hybridity of Egyptian and Roman arts began to emerge as cultures amalgamated. Depicted standing with his left leg confidently striding forward and arms defiantly crossed across his abdomen, holding the folds of his garment, he cuts a powerful shape and radiates authority.2 The pleats in his clothes zigzag from the left shoulder across the right hip and fall vertically between the legs, illustrating the adept skill of the artisan at making the fabric hang heavily in thick lines that are clearly delineated, illustrating both the weight of the cloth and the movement of the official
as he strides forwards. This illusion of animation breathes life in to the statue; as his right knee pulls against the fabric of his outfit, he becomes an anthropomorphic being, enlivened with hubris in an artistic tradition the Romans adopted from Hellenistic Greeks and disseminated throughout Egypt. Granite is igneous stone that was quarried along the banks of the Nile and was highly prized throughout antiquity for its varied colours, including black, green, white and purple, and was extracted in megaliths weighing up to 200 tons.3 It is known for being a particularly hard stone that takes significant effort to carve and polish, displaying the knowledge and dedication of the crafter of this object with its finely incised lines and curves and its smooth, supple surface. Running down the length of the back of the figure is a pillar, space for a carved inscription, as was often seen on ancient Egyptian monumental statuary. This makes it a particularly interesting piece, displaying how craftsman were combining traditionally Egyptian ideas with a new Roman subject matter – a careful move by the new Roman powers not to alienate an Egyptian population with an entirely new visual vocabulary, whilst still asserting their leadership through official Roman statues such as
not e on t he prove nance This statue was once in the personal collection of Michel Guy (1927–1990), the French Minister of Culture between 1974 and 1976, who oversaw the protection and promotion of France’s national museums and monuments, as appointed by Jacques Chirac. Following his death in 1990, his collection of antiquities and modern art was sold in Paris in 1991, including this statue. As an innovative and creative thinker and leader, he helped establish the Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée Picasso and Musée d’Orsay, and was well known in Parisian artistic social circles.
this, which would have been placed on prominent public display. Interestingly, the blank rear column could suggest one of three things: that this was originally intended to be viewed in the round but before work finished it was decided that it would be placed against a wall; that it was a model produced speculatively to be inscribed as a client wished after purchase (which is greatly telling of models of artistic production and consumption during this period); or that is a rare survival of an unfinished work. A similar Roman-period Egyptian granite torso is in the collections of Pelizaus Museum in Hildesheim in Germany, which contains one of the finest collections of Egyptian antiquities in Europe. At 36.2 cm high, but missing the legs from the knee down, it is roughly the same size as this example. The carving does not exhibit the same quality of anatomical understanding, and the shallower folds of the fabric lack the drama of this example, but it does contain an un-carved column running the length of the rear, supporting the idea that these objects were made for a speculative market, in a typical height, material and style, which would have been used to fulfil a specific official function in the 1st century ad.
paralle l 1. Roman period granite statue, h. 32.6 cm, Pelizaeus Museum, Hildesheim, inv. 2646 notes 1 See C. Riggs, The Beautiful Burial in Roman Egypt, OUP, 2006, p. 96. 2 See R.S. Bianchi, ‘The Striding, Draped Male Figure of Ptolemaic Egypt’ in H. Maeler and V. K. Stocka (eds.), Das ptolemäische Ägypten: Akten des International Mainz, 1978, pp. 95ff. 3 J. Thompson, A History of Egypt, American University in Cairo Press, 2008, p. 136..
9 HEAD OF A BEARDED GOD Roman, 1stâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;3rd century ad Marble | l. 23 cm provenance With Munich based dealer Mr Egon Beckenbauer since at least 1968 Private Collection of the author Immanuel Birnbaum, Munich acquired from the above in 1968 Subsequently in the Private Collection of Dr Hermann Kapphan, Bavaria With brief report from Dr Eugen Thiemann (Museum Director of The Museum of the East Wall and author of Der Grosse Vater), dated 13 November 1974 German Art Market (accompanied by German Export License) condition Broken at the neck. Damage to the surface of the locks above the forehead, nose and left side of the beard.
transcription In Mr Beckenbauer’s shop (on Maximilian Street) I saw an antique marble head I very much liked- I have been looking for something like this for quite a while. I was very disappointed to be told the head had been sold, just the day before. In the course of the conversation I found out that you are the buyer, and what your purchase price was (1800 Deutchmarks) …. Since the item has not been collected, I thought that maybe your interest in it is not as big as mine. So, may you be inclined to sell me the head? I dare to make you an offer of 2500 Deutchmarks for it. This is a true lovers price … _Letter to Immanuel Birnbaum, 5 October 1968
This wonderful marble head of a bearded god dates to the late Antonine (138–192 ad), or early Severan Dynasty of the Roman Empire (193–235 ad). Sculptures such as this are not replicas, but are rather sculptures from antiquity based on known types with an element of artistic freedom. It is not necessarily a depiction of a specific god, as portraiture of this type was also common and continued well into the Imperial era. However, it is plausible that the head could be depicting a bearded god such as Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Asclepius or a river god. Zeus, in ancient Greek religion, was the chief deity of the pantheon and the king of the gods, as well as the god of the sky and weather. His most known symbol is the thunderbolt. Poseidon was the god of the sea, earthquakes and horses, and is often identified by his trident. In Greek mythology Hades was the god of the underworld. Zeus, Poseidon and Hades are brothers. Asclepius was the god of medicine and healing, often identified by his snakeentwined staff or the rod of Asclepius, which remains a symbol of medicine today. The head is very reserved in its characterization and does not contain symbols through which a definite identification could be made. The expression of the head seems to suggest pity or concern, which is often seen on heads depicting Hades. It could
therefore be suggested that this head has come from a full statue of Hades holding a cornucopia, that could have served as a divine gift or a cult statue used for worship. The god has a thick, unruly, curling beard and wavy hair that radiates from the crown and falls into a mane of lose curls over the ears and neck from a middle parting. The deeply inset curls have been created using a hand drill, while the softer facial features have been chiselled and polished.1 The forehead displays defined wrinkles. The facial features – eyes, nose and mouth – are proportionate, and together form a stern expression reflecting the model’s intellectual insight. The frontal gaze, pursed lips and furrowed brow all heighten this sense. Several museums around the world hold similar marble heads. One distinctly alike can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Like ours, with its idealized face and curled locks, it is thought to represent the beautiful Zeus. The poor condition of the Metropolitan example highlights the brilliance of this piece, which still
transcription Thank you for coming to me with your request to look at the piece, I would like to congratulate you on purchasing this beautiful head of a bearded god. My initial opinion of this work is that the date given by Frau Dr Scheibler appears correct, Antonine (Roman Empire from 96 AD to 192 AD) … _Dr Eugen Thiemann to Dr Kapphan, 13 November 1974
retains its enigmatic expression. The British Museum in London also holds a similar bust, which was made in the centuries between the Metropolitan example and ours – highlighting the re-emergence of Hellenistic styling at the time. p a ra lle ls 1. Roman head of Zeus, 3rd or 2nd century bc, marble, h. 33.5 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 26.60.46 2. Roman bust of Zeus, c.150–200 ad, marble, h. 47 cm, British Museum, London, 1856,1226.1744 notes 1 B.E. Borg, A Companion to Roman Art, John Wiley & Sons Press, 2015, p. 164.
10 SILENUS WITH WINE SKIN Hellenistic, 2nd century bc â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1st century ad Bronze | h. 28 cm provenance Formerly in a Private American Collection since at least 1962. The sculpture was kept at the collectorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home in Los Angeles where it was kept for decades Imported from New York in 2014 condition Complete with arms reattached, excellent condition. Accompanied by an expertise report by Professor Pollini
This bronze statuette is well preserved, unique in composition and most probably represents a silenus. Often confused with satyrs, sileni share the satyrâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s elongated pointed ears and pug noses, but rather than features of a goat, they have a horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tail and human legs. His tail is hidden by draped animal skin, but his advanced age and pudginess further specifies him as a silenus. The modelling and twisted pose suggest that it was a creation of the late Hellenistic or early Roman imperial period. He wears a crown of ivy and over his right shoulder he balances a large wine skin. A small pipe in the opening of the wine skin indicates that water or possibly wine once passed through. The statuette might have been used as a small fountain. He also holds a vessel upside down in his left hand, which terminates in a feline head, most probably a panther, which was sacred to Dionysus. A large round hole is located in the upper left leg, through the draped animal skin. Arguably too large to be the remains of a chaplet hole made by a bronze pin, it was most likely made to attach an object, such as a large vessel, to the leg of the silenus.
11 FIGURE OF ONURIS Egypt, 3rd Intermediate Period, 1069–664 bc Bronze | l. 25 cm provenance Leopold Hirsch (1867–1932) Collection, London William R. Hearst (1863–1951) Collection, New York and California Ernest Brummer (1891–1964) Collection, Paris Resandro Collection, acquired 1979 exhibited Entdeckungen, Ägyptische Kunst in Süddeutschland, Staatliche Sammlung Ägyptischer Kunst, Munich, 30 August-6 October 1985. Gott und Götter im Alten Ägypten, Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, Berlin; Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Staatliche Sammlung Ägyptischer Kunst, Munich; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, 1992–93 published The Property of Leopold Hirsch, Esq.; Christie’s, London, 7 May 1934, lot 170 The Ernest Brummer Collection, Vol. II, Spink & Son and Galerie Koller, Zurich, 16–19 October, 1979, lot 520 Entdeckungen, Agyptiche Kunst in Suddeutscheland, Philipp von Zabern, Schoske & Wildung, 1985, p. 128, no. 111 Gott und Gotter Im Alten, Agypten, Sylvia Schoske & Dietrich Wildung, Schoske & Wildung, 1993, p. 34, no. 18 Aesthetic Glimpses: Masterpieces of Ancient Egyptian Art, The Resandro Collection, Grimm-Stadelmann, 2012, p. 102, no. R–378 condition Right hand and presumably a feather crown missing. Otherwise in very good condition.
This arresting Egyptian bronze depicts Onuris, the god of war and patron of the army. He stands with his left foot stepping forwards, his muscular arms set in a powerful pose. His right arm is raised – it is likely that the remaining part of the lost limb held a weapon as a symbol of his martial associations. His left hand rests, clenched, over his stomach, and his lower body is clothed in a long kilt-like skirt. He wears a finely carved fake beard and on his head is the base of a headdress – it would originally have supported the four-feathered crown associated with the god. His emphatically carved face bears a hardened, calm expression, appropriate to the god of war. Onuris is the Greek name commonly used to refer to the Egyptian deity Anhur. The centre of his cult was the city of Thinis and the surrounding area of Abydos, in Upper Egypt. This piece dates from the Third Intermediate Period (c. 1069–664 bc), a time of political unrest as the power of the pharaohs waned. The temple network gained greater influence, and cults such as that of Anhur acquired significance as a locus of authority. The Egyptian god of war later enjoyed popularity amongst the imperially minded Romans who annexed the country in 30 bc. A bronze piece in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, New York features the warlike costume of kilt
and feathered headdress that distinguishes the deity. An impression of tense, dangerous energy conveyed by muscular arms and confident posture is shared by both the representation in the Met and this piece. p a ra llel 1. Onuris, Third Intermediate Period, 1070â&#x20AC;&#x201C;664 bc, leaded bronze, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2017.7
12 BRONZE OSIRIS Egypt, 3rd Intermediate Period, 1075–716 bc Bronze | h. 46 cm provenance Previously in the Collection of Frank Condon, Connecticut prior to 1979 In the Charles Pankow Collection from 1979–2004 in San Francisco, USA With David Aaron, 2004–07 Private German Collection exhibited According to the Egyptian Antiquities from the Charles Pankow Collection 1981 publication, the objects published in this catalogue were exhibited at: Van Doren Gallery, California; Purdue University, Indiana; Triton Museum of Art, California; San Diego Museum of Art, California; and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii published Sotheby’s Parke Bernet, New York, 19 May 1979, lot 33 Egyptian Antiquities from the Charles Pankow Collection, 1981, p. 7 condition Restored breaks and feet, otherwise in good condition. Original eye inlays still present.
This statuette is in keeping with the canonical iconography of Osiris: in his hands, he holds the flagellum, the nekhekh and hekat scepters, and on his head he wears his usual atef crown. A sacred snake – the uraeus, an emblem of supreme power – descends down the front of his headgear; just above the forehead, the snake’s head would have been attached. He is wrapped in a shroud that encloses the contours of his body, the proportions of which are slender and elegant. The position of the arms, wrists crossed on the chest, is a clue to the origin of the statuette, which would have been manufactured in a centre of Upper Egypt. His eyes are inlaid with white stone, his long eyebrows and cosmetic lines were also formerly inlaid, and his chin is adorned with a long false beard with braided locks, terminating in a ringlet. Osiris is associated with the fecundity of the Egyptian soil, the renewal of vegetation and the world of shepherds, as evidenced by the hekat scepter, which represents the shepherds’ crook. He was the guardian of the order of the universe and the cycles of nature. Osiris is also recognized as a funerary divinity, ruler of the underworld, which contained the seeds of life and, at the same time, was the protector of the deceased, to whom he promised life after death.
13 BAKET-MUT, CHANTRESS OF AMUN Egypt, New Kingdom, probably Dynasty XIX, c. 1285–70 bc Limestone with traces of polychromy | h. 74 cm, w. 44 cm, d. 49 cm provenance Formerly in the Kofler-Truniger Collection, Switzerland, acquired before 1964 Acquired by Lucian Viola in the early 1980s Private American Collection exhibted L’Ibis Gallery, New York, 1987–88 The Winter Antiques Show, New York, 2003 The Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta, Georgia, 2012–16 published L’Ibis Gallery Exhibition Poster, taken in 1987 by John Kasparian Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Statues, Reliefs and Paintings VIII, Part 2, Private Statues (Dynasty XVIII to the Roman Period), Statues of Deities, by Jaromir Malek, Oxford, 1999, pp. 511 (801–614–640) Cover of Spring/Summer Calendar 2013, Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta ‘Baket-Mut Chantress of Amun’, 2017 audiotape Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, 2014. Discussion of Baket-Mut between Dr Guy Largons and Dr Peter Lacovara condition Broken into several fragments and repaired. Part of left wig and male figure’s hands restored, portions of infilling between two figures (see detailed images taken by Mr Viola).
His sister, His wife, Whom he loves. Chantress of Amun, The Osiris, Baket-Mut. True of voice.
Masterfully carved from limestone, it has traces of original pigment on the surface, indicating that at the time of production the statue would have been vibrantly coloured. It was created during Dynasty XIX, a period when Egypt was thriving, having already enjoyed great prosperity and power for three hundred years. As the Egyptian borders expanded, influences came from newly occupied territories and vassel states such as the Canaanites and the Anatolian Hittites. It is widely acknowledged that the New Kingdom produced the most awe-inspiring and stylistic art. The wealth of the country was reflected in the enormity of individual artworks as well as their quality. The clothing worn by the couple can go some way in helping us date the sculpture. They are depicted wearing the fashions set by the royal family of late Dynasty XVIII and early Dynasty XIX, indicating that the couple were wealthy and operated in high society. Baket-Mut’s dress is simple and close fitting, with the suggestion of nudity with the visibility of her navel. Although the husband’s legs and upper torso have been lost, there are enough clues remaining to allow us to speculate on his appearance. His clothing, like his wife’s, follows the style set by the royals. A two-part outfit consisting of a wrapped skirt
This enigmatic pair statue portrays a husand and wife, seated on a shared plinth and seat. There is a line of inscription running down the skirt of the female figure, allowing us to distinguish her as ‘Baket-Mut’, a ‘chantress’ (songstress) devoted to the temple of Amun. It can be presumed that a line of hieroglyphic inscription once ran down the legs of the male figure, but unfortunately this has been lost to antiquity so we are unable to identify him. Group statues were popular in both the tomb and temple, often depicting husband and wife dyads or family groups. The earliest documented examples date to the reign of King Djoser in the Third Dynasty (c. 2675–2625 bc). Most pair statues are created with the female seated on the left of the husband, however in this case she is placed on his right. There is no definite reason why this should be, but possibily this statue was one of an identical but mirror-image pair, to be placed at the entrance of a mastaba or tomb. Baket-Mut’s left arm is placed behind her husband affectionately, and it is likely that the husband’s right hand once rested over that of Baket-Mut. The pose is found on the limestone statue of Horemheb (1300–1250 bc), now in the British Museum. The intimacy of this pose gives an insight into sanctity and importance of marriage and kinship to the Egyptians.
not e on t he prove nance Ernst and Marta Kofler-Truniger, from Lucerne, Switzerland, were prominent collectors in the first half of the 20th century. Their marriage in 1940 united kindred spirits and from then on into the 1960s, the couple travelled to Paris, London, New York, Egypt (every year beginning in 1948), Beirut, and wherever there was a chance of discovering something special. During the 1950s and ’60s the Kofler-Trunigers collected over a thousand items of ancient art, ranging from Islamic pottery, Persian miniatures and enamels to Roman glass, Egyptian artefacts and medieval ivories. The first ancient Egyptian objects collected by the couple were two beautiful faience tiles with colored glaze and paste inlays depicting a Nubian and an Asiatic prisoner. They had once decorated a wall in the temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu (Western Thebes). The Kofler-Trunigers acquired them from the Eugene Mutiaux collection in Paris. Shortly thereafter, finds from Tell el-Amarna, which show a similar technique combining faience and colored glass paste, were added to the collection, along with exquisite fragments of Late Period glass inlays created in mosaic glass technique. Many of the mosaic glass fragment
with sash sits high on his hips, and a tunic would have covered his upper torso, the remnants of pleated sleeves sit on his upper arms. Baket-Mut is also depicted wearing an elaborate wig of plaited locks terminating in intricate beading, secured along the forehead with a wide headband. Wigs of this style were first introduced in Dynasty XVIII and examples have been found in the tombs of New Kingdom royalty and elite. The name Baket-Mut can be translated to mean ‘handmaiden of the goddess Mut’, Mut being the ‘Mother goddess’, a primal deity associated with parthenogenesis (reproduction without fertilization) and water. Mut was the consort to the god Amun, and along with their son Khonsu they make up the Theban triad. As a chantress in the temple of Amun, Baket-Mut can be firmly linked to these principal Theban deities. Hailing from an era renowned for its unparalleled artistic accomplishment, this striking dyad preserves not only the skill of the sculptor, but embodies the spirit of New Kingdom art. Sculpture of this pedigree, scale and importance is seldom available to the private market and would be an exceptional acquisition for any private or museum collection.
Müller’s Ägyptische Kunstwerke, 1964
were bought from the collection of the Comtesse Martine Marie Octavie de Béhague and many were later re-sold at Christie’s London in 1985. These initial acquisitions of Egyptian art stimulated the Kofler-Truniger’s interest in the ancient civilization that produced them, inspiring the couple to make many journeys to Egypt, where they became well acquainted with Pharaonic culture. In 1961 a small selection of the Egyptian objects from the Kofler-Truniger collection was included in the exhibition, 5000 Years of Egyptian Art at the Kunsthaus Zurich. In 1962 they donated a large quantity to Egyptian art to the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and later went on to donate art to various other establishments, including the Museum of Fine Art in Huston. A part of their collection of ancient Egyptian art was published in 1964, in Ägyptische Kunstwerke, Kleinfunde und Glas in der Sammlung E. und M. Kofler-Truniger Luzern (above) by Hans Wolfgang Müller (Director of the Egyptian Collection, Bavarian State Collection, Munich), to accompany an exhibition of their objects held at the Kunsthaus, Zürich. In 1970 they sold many items of Medieval and Renaissance enamels to Mr Edmund de Unger, which helped the tycoon to form his renowned Kier Collection.
The Kofler-Truniger’s exceptional collections are now dispersed in museums and private collections throughout the world. The works of art they so carefully collected continue to be admired and studied by those all who see them, while they enrich our knowledge of the ancient culture that created them – a testament to the remarkable couple. paralle l 1. Limestone statue of Horemheb and one of his wives seated on chairs, Egypt, 1300–1250 bc, British Museum, London, 1839,0921.726
14 MOTHER AND CHILD Seljuk, Central Asia, 12th century ad Stucco | h. 31 cm provenance Private Swiss collection Private collection, acquired 1968–69 from the above Private collection, Geneva, Switzerland Sold at: Arts D’Islam, Boisgirard, Paris, 29 octobre 1980, lot 170 Private European Collection Sold at: Arts D’Orient, Boisgirard, Paris, 31 Mars 1993, lot 33 Private French Collection (accompanied by French Cultural Passport 096650) published Archeologie D’Orient Arts D’Islam, Boisgirard, Paris, 29 October 1980, lot 170 Arts D’Orient, Boisgirard, Paris, 31 March 1993, lot 33 Important Antiquities from the Western Silk Road, David Aaron, 2018 condition Restored breaks and some areas of restoration, otherwise in good condition. Large amounts of original pigment still present. Accompanied by expertise reports by Dr Melanie Gibson and Dr Mark Merrony
from excavations and textual evidence that figures with this feature were used to decorated palaces and would often represent palace guards and its inhabitants; however, due to the fragile porous nature of stucco few have survived. No comparable examples of stucco mother and child figures are known, but the maternal theme is closely echoed in a group of 12th- and 13th-century ceramic figurines representing a woman suckling a naked child. They show some variation in size and quality but were all made as hollow vessels, glazed on the interior and with a wide opening at the top. This piece is a testimony to the lasting artistic and cultural prowess of the Seljuk dynasty, the Turkic style is the perfect embodiment of the cultural influences that travelled from the East along the silk road during a vast, though relatively short-lived empire which unified Persian, Islamic, and Central Asianâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Turkic elements.
This very rare stucco sculpture represents a seated crosslegged woman, with her hands on her knees, holding a child in the crook of her right arm. Dressed in a robe, belted around the waist, with elbow-length sleeves incised with a trim of scalloped motif. On the upper part of the left sleeve is a tiraz band. She wears a necklace and pendant in the form of a bird with its wings unfurled, and a diadem of rosettes over a fringe of curly hair. The artistic form of the woman is Turkic, with a rounded face, narrow extended eyes, arched eyebrows, high cheekbones, and a long straight nose. The traces of polychrome pigments remaining on the sculpture suggest that originally it was fully painted; patches of black, red and blue are visible, with some areas of gilding on the headdress and tiraz band. The back is flat and plain, which suggests that this figure most probably intended to be secured to a wall or set within a niche; and therefore, to be visible only from the front. It is known
15 THE ‘DAMON’ CANDLESTICK Central Asia, 15th century Tinned copper | h. 24 cm, diam. 19 cm provenance Ex-collection Theron J. Damon (The inside of this candlestick contains various, worn, ownership labels One reads: ‘This is the property of Theron J. Damon.’ With accompanying 1931 exhibition label) exhibited International Exhibition of Persian Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 7 January – 7 March 1931, no. US 15 On loan to the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, since 1940 The Turks in History, The Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge Massachusetts, 1 February – 15 March 1954 published International Studio, September 1930, p. 90 Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art, exh. cat., London 1931, p. 191 condition Excellent state of preservation.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Happiness and Well-being and Long-life to its owner, as long as the dove coosâ&#x20AC;?
as Tamerlane), a local warlord who wanted to restore the glory of the great Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan. Although the inhabitants of the Timurid Empire were of Turco-Mongol descent, their culture, and art, was highly informed by Persian tastes. They are remembered today for their brilliant metal-working skills, as seen on the candlestick with its notably complex and intricate chased and pierced motifs. Much of the technical knowhow of the Timurid metalworkers had been passed from the Seljuqs – themselves accomplished craftsmen. The Seljuqs, who had ruled parts of the Timurid Empire in the centuries prior, had perfected many metal-working techniques, as well as the skill of alloying bronze – a composite of tin and copper – used to make this object. This candlestick would have initially been cast using the lost-wax technique, whereby the molten metal was poured in to a mould of compacted sand or clay that was formed around a wax model. The heat of the metal would melt the wax, which would pour from a small hole, then set in its place. After cooling, the mould would be removed and the fine engraving added. The patterns on the body of this candlestick represent the most popular type of designs from the period – inlaid vegetation patterns and calligraphic inscriptions
Resting on a wide, trumpeted foot, this wonderful candlestick rises from a band of chased keyfret motif to a body of open-pierced fretwork, which consists of thuluth calligraphy against a ground of interlacing splitpalmettes. It reads: Happiness and Well-being and Long-life to its owner, as long as the dove coos. Above is another single line of keyfret before a further small openwork panel around the circumference of the protruding shoulder of the candlestick’s body. Its tower contains an interwoven vine and geometric design, chased in light relief, which raises to a pronounced head with a further openwork band. The very top lip has an inward-facing grove, into which a candle would have been inserted. The shape of this candlestick is known to date back to the 12th century in Islamic arts. Over time the copper surface of the candlestick has developed a wonderful patina, with shades of green from historical oxidization that evoke the object’s age, while the tin added to the surface has alloyed with the copper to create a brilliant bronze appearance. Dating from the 15th century, this candlestick comes from the Timurid Empire (1370–1507 ad), which covered much of modern-day Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia. It was founded by the eponymous leader Timur (also known
(figurative representations remained rare). Sadly they offer no clue as to the original intended use of the lamp. However, the brilliance of its craft coupled with the large amount of expensive material present suggest that it either belonged to a wealthy patron or, more likely, was used to illuminate the interior of a mosque. Extant text sources describe the illuminations employed in mosque settings, sometimes listing large inventories of bronze candlesticks and lamps. Different lighting was used on different days, with certain motifs matching the liturgy being read. Candlesticks were also occasionally donated to important sultans, suggestive of the high value and social importance of such objects. This candlestick’s rarity lies in its openwork design. It belongs to a small corpus of known Timurid candlesticks of similar design. One was formerly in the Charles Gillot Collection and sold at auction in 2008 and again in 2010 and is now in a private collection. At the second auction the price achieved was £217,250 – more than four times the object’s lower estimate. Another bronze (rather than tinned copper) and slightly earlier example from the 12th/13th century is in the Kier Collection. The most similar, however, can be found in the David Collection in Copenhagen.
International Studio magazine advertisement, September 1930
Theron J. Damon
Fogg Art Museum loan agreement, 1954
n o t e o n th e p r o v en a n c e Born in Concord, Massachusetts, in 1883, Damon graduated from Harvard in 1905. He taught at Robert College in Istanbul, Constantinople College and worked at the American Embassy as courier to Berlin. He travelled the area extensively, and studied the art historical cultures of the region. During World War I he was an Associated Press war correspondent, and after the War returned to Turkey as Executive Secretary of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Levant before working for an American oil company. Damon ran an antiquities dealership in New York until 1936, while also sitting on the comittee of the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester Museum in Massachusetts, where this object was display. During World War II he worked for the Army Intelligence Corps, where he specialized in Near Eastern affairs. He died aged 90 in Weston, Massachusetts in 1973. In the 2017 film The Promise Christian Bale plays a character who is widely believed to be based on Damon during his time as a reporter in Constantinople during the early days of World War I.
â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Damonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; candlestick at the Fogg exhibition, 1954
paralle ls 1. Bronze candlestick, 12th/13th century, Kier Colletion on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art until April 2019 (see Fehervari 1976, p. 85, pl. 34a, no. 100) 2. Copper candlestick with openwork and engraved design, Iran, 15th century, h. 23.8 cm, the David Collection, Copenhagen, 26/1994
16 RHYTON PROTOME IN THE SHAPE OF A WINGED IBEX Achaemenid, Central Asia, 5thâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;4th century bc Bronze | l. 13.3cm, w. 14.5cm
provenance Formerly in the Sauerborn and Maurer Family Collection, Koblenz, Germany. The family began collecting as early as the 19th century Subsequently in the Private Collection of Professor Dr Heinz Hungerland (1905â&#x20AC;&#x201C;1987) and Dr Gisela Hungerland, Andernach, Germany The object was subsequently inherited by the children of Professor Dr Heinz Hungerland German Art Market, 2011 Private German Collection (accompanied by German Export Licence) condition Intact protome with small area of historic corrosion on the underside. Otherwise in excellent state of preservation Originally there would have been a large bronze horn that would have fitted together with this protome.
complete with elaborate wings which are finished with an intricate stylized design representing feathers. The animal has a majestic horned head, its neck is rounded and chin tucked, and its round eyes stare directly ahead. The back of the neck has been decorated with a pattern representing a mane, more familiar on a horse. The grand horns extend upwards, before curling back down to the ears, exhibiting the expert skill of the craftsmen and reflecting the wealth and power of the rhytonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s owner. The object has a beautiful green patina and survives in excellent condition. Little is known of the original use of rhyta. In this case, liquid would have been poured into the large spout or filled through submersion in a larger vessel, and then would be poured out through the small round hole in the ibexâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chest as a libation or liquid offering. Many examples of ancient rhyta have been discovered in wood, ceramic and bronze, often terminating with anthropomorphic horned animals, including bulls, rams, antelopes and stags. Archaeological evidence has suggested that they were used for pouring wine and beer during festivities. oil during religious activities and blood during ceremonial rites perhaps associated with the animal depicted.
Also known as the First Persian Empire, the Achaemenid Empire ruled through vast swathes of western Asia between 550 and 330 bc. Founded by Cyrus the Great, the empire spanned from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indus River, encompassing all the civilized states of the ancient Near East. The later king Darius I expanded the empire further into Northern Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. This new massive empire established a civic service, official language, road system, postal service and constructed the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. Their material culture ranged from monumental structures to fine metal goods and was a hybrid of Median, Asiatic, Greek and Assyrian influences, yet maintained a distinctly Persian identity. This striking Achaemenid rhyton protome is in the shape of a winged ibex. In antiquity, the body of the rhyton (now missing) will most probably have been formed from a large hammered bronze cone, tapering into the protome that survives today. Having been designed to stand upright on a flat surface, the animalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s front legs are tucked under its torso, providing a resting surface. The ibex is
Professor Dr Heinz Hungerland
n o t e o n t h e p r o v en a n c e The Sauerborn and Maurer family were the ancestors of Professor Dr Heinz Hungerland (1905–1987). They began collecting art in the 19th century and mainly came from Koblenz in central Germany. They were a family of doctors, pharmacists and pastors. Professor Dr Heinz Hungerland was a German physician and paediatrician. He was Head of the University of Giessen and Director of the University Children’s Hospital, Bonn. He returned from captivity in 1947 and then worked again as a senior physician at the Children’s Hospital of the University of Freiburg, where he had previously worked. In 1951 he became a professor of paediatrics at the Medical Academy of the University of Giessen and from 1951 to 1957, he was director of the Children’s Hospital there. In 1957 he was elected a member of the Scholars Academy Leopoldina. In 1958, he received a call to the University of Bonn for the chair of Pediatrics where he taught until his retirement in 1973. Hungerland wrote about 170 scientific papers, mainly on physiological chemistry. In 1968 he was chairman of the German Society for Paediatrics and Youth Medicine.
17 THE ‘GILLET’ PIRAVEND IDOL North-Western Iran, Iron Age II-III, c. 1000–650 bc Bronze | h. 22.8 cm provenance Charles Gillet (1879–1972), Lausanne Thence by descent to his son, Renaud Gillet (1913–2001), Paris published Trésors de L’ancien Iran, exh. cat., Musée Rath, Geneva, 1966, p. 70, no. 124, pl. 26 exhibited Trésors de L’ancien Iran, Musée Rath, Geneva, 8 June–25 September 1966 condition Both arms have small holes at the elbow from historical damage. The figures right eye and left nostril shows signs of damage. Oxidization is consistent with age. Otherwise in excellent condition. Accompanied by a metallurgy test
This impressive bronze idol is one of the largest known in the world of its kind. It comes from the excavations at Piravend in ancient Luristan in northwestern Iran, some 10 km north of Taq-e Bustan, which was extensively explored during the 1930s to 1950s. It belongs to a group of artefacts known as the ‘Luristan bronzes’ that consists of ornaments, tools, weapons and horse fittings cast from an alloy of copper and tin during the Early Iron Age (sometime between 1000–650 bc).1 Little is known of the people of Luristan – with no form of writing, their material culture and burial sites are all the evidence evidence that remains of them. The bronzes first became widely known in the 1930s, after a series of archaeological excavations in the northern Pish Kuh and southern Pusht Kuh valleys. They are known for their distinctive blue-green patina, like that of the present idol, which over time has developed a rich, luscious colour. The bronzes are normally flat and open work – much inspired by Scythian art. They have also been discovered as far away as Crete, suggesting that the people of Luristan had strong trade networks. Along with animal motifs, human depictions are particularly common. This figure stands on small, squat legs, mounted on a square base, and she has moulded
genitals and angled hips. Her large flat chest has two small bronze attachments for nipples, her arms are outstretched, bent 90 degrees at each elbow, and her fingers are splayed. Around the figure’s neck is a collar decorated with vertical incisions. Her head is elongated, rising through a prominent pinched chin, to a cone-shaped crown with moulded lips and punctured eyes. In each ear are two suspended rings, each containing a series of beads. Such figures are thought to represent important or sacred members of the nomadic community, while the accentuated genitals, hips and breasts suggest the process of child birthing and rearing. The arms, raised in supplication to the sky, furthers the idea that these idols operated in an other-worldly realm. The attachment loop on the idol’s reverse suggests it was intended to be portable, and possibly fixed to a larger totemic object. Many Luristan bronzes can be found in important collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Louvre in Paris. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art contains a remarkably similar idol excavated from the same region, and of similar dimensions. Unlike ours, the Los Angeles example is tall and thin, with rounded facial features and less accentuated hips. They do, however, share the pose with outstretched
arms, suggesting this was a known type of votive that filled a specific cultural role. They also have the same style looped earrings, highlighting the importance jewellery must have played to the alluring women of ancient Luristan.
eye for quality, rarity and beauty. He began dispersing his collection in the 1950s, and after his death the majority went to auction. Some of his works of art are now housed in the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Morgan Library in New York.
n o t e o n th e p r o v en a n c e This bronze idol was previously in the collection of Charles Gillet (1879–1972), who was a noted industrialist and was part of the renowned Gillet family, developers of dyeing techniques, exceptional fabrics and silks in Lyon, France. Gillet inherited the family firm Rhône Poulenc, running it successfully and amassing a fortune that allowed him to become a great collector and patron of ancient art. He was a noted connoisseur of antiquities and had a collection in Switzerland that included bronzes from Luristan, Egyptian limestone figures, Athenian red-figure ceramics, and important Hellenistic gold and silver coins. He was known not for operating discreetly through a network of trusted dealers and advisors, and also for his discerning
paralle ls 1. Female figure with earrings and headdress, Iran, Iron Age II-III, about 1000–650 bc, h. 27 cm, The Nasli M. Heeramaneck Collection of Ancient Near Eastern and Central Asian Art, Los Angeles County Museum, M.76.97.742 2. Piravend bronze female figure, 9th–8th century bc, h. 18.4 cm, from the David David-Weill Collection, antiquities sale, Christie’s New York, 11 December 2014, sale 3403, lot 82 note 1 O.W. Muscarella, Bronze and Iron: Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988, p. 114
18 EGYPTIAN MASK Egypt, 3rd Intermediate Period, Dynasty XXII–XXIII, c. 903–817 bc Cedar wood | h. 24 cm provenance Private Collection of Mr F.A., who acquired the mask on 18 May 1969 from Versailles Auction House, 3, Impasse des Chevau-Légers, Versailles, France (accompanied by original invoice dated 18 May 1969 – ‘Masque de Sarcophage’ (item 5) and French Cultural Passport 191943) condition Original eyes and eyebrow inlays are missing. Otherwise, except for a crack on the upper right side, in excellent state of preservation. Accompanied by a radiocarbon test
the dead, whether mummy-masks, anthropoid coffins or free-standing statues, were idealized, representing the individual as eternally youthful and free from all physical disabilities or blemishes. The first mummy masks appear at the end of the Old Kingdom (around 2686–2181 bc). Early masks were made from wood, and later cartonnage – papyrus or linen soaked in plaster and then shaped on a wooden mould. Royal death masks were often made from precious metals, usually gold or gold leaf on bronze. This mask once formed part of the lid of a mummiform coffin. The full sarcophagus would have been covered in gesso and brightly painted, probably with texts and vignettes from the Book of the Dead, featuring a representation of the owner making offerings to the gods of the underworld. The British Museum has a similar Egyptian coffin mask. Like ours it has been carved from a rich, dark hardwood with a naturalistic appearance, and has lost its bronze and ivory inserts. The wooden wig is missing, and down the right side there is considerable damage.
This wooden funerary mask comes from Dynasty XXII or XXIII, when Egypt was again briefly separated in to upper and lower territories. Upper Egypt was ruled by a series of Meshwesh pharaohs, from c. 943–716 bc, and the much smaller Lower Egypt was ruled by Tutkheperre Shoshenq and his decedents until the unification in 713 bc by Tefnakht I. Created from a finely grained hard cedar wood, this well-proportioned mask has deep-set eyes, which would originally have been set with bronze and glass. The straight eyebrows, now also missing, would have been inlayed with cast bronze. A long straight nose and lightly curves lips give the mask a calm, content appearance. Although death masks were idealized, they were made to resemble the deceased. Generally, features were enlarged, the lips clearly delineated, full and pursed together in a placid smile. Some masks displayed fashions of the time, with painted jewellery and makeup of the period. The chief purpose of Egyptian funerary rituals (including mummification) was to enable the individual to pass from the earthly life to a new existence, in which he or she would possess the attributes of divine beings. The outward appearance of the transfigured dead would reflect their new, god-like status. For this reason, all images of
paralle l 1. Egyptian coffin mask, wood, Dynasty XXVIII, h. 23 cm, British Museum, London, EA6885
19 GILT CARTONNAGE MUMMY MASK Egypt, Roman Period, 1st–2nd century ad Cartonnage, gilt, glass | h. 35.5 cm provenance Previously in the Private Collection of Roger Peyrefitte (1907–2010), France Private Collection, Paris, 2010 French Art Market, 2011 exhibited Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, 2014–16 (loan no. tl.2014.50) published Collection Roger Peyrefitte, Hotel George V, Paris, 26 May 1977, lot 5 condition Losses to the lower edges, with some repair, especially along the neck. The proper left brow inlay a modern restoration. Losses to the chin. Cracks around the eye inlays. Other cracks and minor losses throughout as visible in the illustration. Some staining and incrustation.
not e on t he prove nance Roger Peyrefitte (1907–2000) was a French diplomat and noted novelist. His first novel, Les Amitiés Particulières, was his best known – it won the prestigious Renaudot Prize in 1945. He also earned acclaim for a three-volume biography of Alexander the Great.
This striking mummy mask is painted in polychrome with a striped headcloth and fringed lappets, fronted by a modelled solar-disk on a red band. On the back of the mask, the ties terminate in a pair of golden uraei – sacred serpents – topped with plumed atef-crowns. Below them is a depiction of the god Osiris, holding a crook and a flail, and wearing the same plumed atef as the serpents. On the crown of the mask is a moulded winged scarab, its straited wings extended across the crown. A Nephthys with winged arms projects forward on either side. The face is gilt, outlined in red, and the brows are inlaid in blue glass, the eyes have blue glass rims, glass sclerae and black glass irises.
20 CORINTHIAN HELMET Greek, 6th century bc Bronze | h. 34 cm provenance Previously in the Private Collection of Mimi and Ludwig Beumer Thence by descent to their grandson Mr Ludwig Beumer, Wiesbaden in 1949 German Art Market (accompanied by German Export License) condition Restoration to the left eye, left cheek and lower back of the helmet Some restored cracks to the back right area
Named after the Ancient Greek city-state of Corinth from where the style originated, this Corinthian helmet would have been worn by a hoplite soldier, both in and out of combat. Its distinctive shape, with a bell-like crown, almond eyes, teardrop nose plate and long cheek plates which taper to two points with a thin gap, is particularly archetypal for this style of armour. Skilfully beaten from a single sheet of thick bronze, the helmet has an elegantly formed brow ridge that curves round to a flared neck plate at the rear to protect the soldierâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nape. The combination of the firm shape at the front and rear of the helmet meant it could be worn pushed back on the forehead to reveal the face of the wearer when not in combat, whilst remaining fixed to the head. Whilst more open-work helmet styles such as Thracian and Chalcidian examples became popular for combat, the Corinthian style became emblematic of a proud Greek military ideal. The style is depicted on Greek sculpture more than any other type of helmet in Greek art. Athena, the Greek goddess of warfare, was herself often depicted on coins and statues wearing a plumed Corinthian helmet pushed back upon her head.
The simplicity of this example, with its unadorned surface, suggests an understanding of minimalism, allowing the beautiful proportions of the shape to speak for themselves. Corinthian helmets can be found in the collections of many major museums across the world, including the Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London. The most similar parallel to this helmet, however, can be found in the Staatliche Antikensammlungen in Munich. Thought to be from a Greek workshop in Southern Italy and dating to around 500 bc, the Munich example was recovered during the excavations of a tomb for an important warrior named Denda. The incredible similarities between the Munich helmet and this example suggest a similar origin and date. It also provides evidence for the idea that this helmet may have once been interred upon the head of an important ancient Greek warrior, which would explain its excellent condition. paralle l 1. Corinthian helmet, 500 bc, from the tomb of Denda, bronze, from a Greek workshop in Southern Italy, Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich, Inv. 4330.
21 GREEK CUIRASS Greece, 4th century bc Bronze | h. 44 cm provenance Previously in a European Private Collection Subsequently French Art Market, prior to 2000 Subsequently in a Private French Collection until 2016 (accompanied by French Cultural Passport 180712) condition Surface uncleaned, minor restorations to edges and some areas of loss. Restoration to right nipple and on the lower half of front plate, approximately mid-way through navel to bottom edge. Minor restoration to cracks and edges of back plate.
First appearing in Archaic Greece, cuirasses are a form of ancient armour that came to prominence in the 5th and 4th centuries bc throughout the ancient world. Normally made from sheets of bronze, they were designed to mimic an idealized male torso, stressing the importance of maintaining a good physique as crucial to be a successful warrior, highlighting the virtues of fitness, power and perseverance. They appear throughout Classical art, worn by generals, emperors and deities, with later examples often being ornamented with mythological references such as gorgon heads (as was seen on the now-lost Athena Parthenos as described by Pausanias) or with gods and rearing horses (as seen on the Augustus Prima Porta statue now in the Vatican). Unadorned examples such as this were more commonly used for actual combat, while highly decorated examples were reserved for public procession. The earliest-known Greek example of a statue wearing a cuirass comes from a warrior torso found on the Acropolis in Athens and is dated 470â&#x20AC;&#x201C;60 bc, while vase painting depicts muscle cuirass on Attic red figure pottery from 530 bc. A Roman 2nd-century bc monument of Aemilius Paulus at the Sanctuary of Delphi depicts warriors wearing muscle cuirass adorned with leather straps around the shoulders and waists, used to distinguish the ranks of the
infantrymen and gives an indication as to how this armour would have been worn. The shape of this cuirass highlights the musculature of the male body, with nipples, pectorals and and the abdomen all accentuated in bronze â&#x20AC;&#x201C; possibly inspired by the Classical Greek notion of heroic nudity, popularized by the 5th-century bc sculptor Polykleitos. Cast in individual pieces, which were then hammered into shape, the average cuirass weighed around 25 pounds. This example follows the Greek tradition of an unadorned cuirass, known as an anatomical type, and was intended to be used in hand-tohand combat. The back and breast plates were designed to be worn over a sewn garment called a chitos. Several similar cuirasses from Greece can be found in public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum and the British Museum. Worthy of any museum collection, our cuirass is a fine example, which would have once graced the torso of a great warrior. paralle ls 1. Greek Apulian cuirass, 4th century bc, h. 49.8 cm, Metropolitan Museum, New York, 1992.180.3 2. Greek cuirass, 4th century bc, h. 50.8 cm, The British Museum, London, 1856,1226.614
22 VOTIVE LION VESSEL WITH INSCRIPTION FOR KING DAMIQ-ILISHU Mesopotamia, c. 1752–1730 bc Black stone | h. 8.2 cm, l. 12 cm provenance Translated by C.B.F. Walker of the British Museum prior to July 1976 Sold at Sotheby’s, 12 & 13 July 1976, lot 357 Subsequently published and read by Douglas R. Frayne in 1990 Private Collection published Antiquities, Islamic Art, Tribal Art, Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan and South-East Asian Art, Sotheby’s, 12 & 13 July 1976, lot 357 Douglas R. Frayne, Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia, Old Babylonian Period (2003–1595 BC), Early Periods, vol. 4, 1990, pp. 105–06 (as ‘Damiq-ilisu 4.01.15.2001’) condition Head is modern (see 1976 publication on p116 for photos of the object prior to restoration) Some damage to the rim of the vessel on the lion’s back, otherwise in very good state of preservation.
This Mesopotamian black stone vessel is in the form of a reclining lion. The animal has a raised oval recess is in the centre of its back, its tail curls round to the right and up to the centre of the body, and its back paw is carved in relief below. The back is inscribed in cuneiform with a dedication to the god Nergal for the life of Damiq-Ilishu, King of Sumer and Akkad. The Sumerian inscription was read by C.B.F. Walker of the British Museum (see facing page). Damiq-ilishu (c. 1740–1717 bc) was the 15th and final king of the Dynasty of Isin. He succeeded his father Sîn-magir and reigned for 23 years. There are four royal inscriptions relating to this king. His standard inscription characterizes him as the ‘farmer who piles up the produce (of the land) in granaries’, but a palace inscription has the same dedication to Nergal of Apiak as that on this lion. A related figure of a dog is in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. It is dedicated by a physician from Lagash to the goddess Ninisina, ‘for the life of Sumu-El’, king of Larsa (1894–1866 bc).
p a ra lle ls 1. Votive dog statuette, Mesopotamia, 2nd millennium bc, steatite, h. 11.5 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris, AO4349
inscript ion 1. dne3-eri11-gal 2. a-pi5-akki 3. nir alim / pirig ne3 tuku 4. dingir-ra-a-ni-ir 5. nam-ti 6. dda-mi-iq-i3-li2-su 7. lugal ki-en-gi ki-uri 8. ARAD-dnanna 9. dub-sar lugal 10. dumu pi2-iq-qum-/ke4 11. ARAD-da-ni To Nergal of Apiak, important lord, lion possessing strength, his god, for the life of Damiq-ilishu, king of Sumer and Akkad, Warad-Nanna, scribe of the king, son of Piqqum, his servant, dedicated it [this figurine] to him.
23 THE ‘GEORGE SAND’ BULL Iran, 1st millennium bc Terracotta | l. 37 cm provenance Collection of George Sand (Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin; 1804–1876) Private French Collection since 1963 (accompanied by purchase invoice from 24 November 1963, when the object was acquired at Objets D’Art Orient et D’Extreme-Orient auction in Versailles, France) Private French Collection (accompanied by French Cultural Passport 176513) published Objets D’Art Orient et D’Extreme-Orient, Versaille, 24 November 1963, lot 163 condition Some natural weathering and slight restoration to horns otherwise in excellent state of preservation. Accompanied by a TL test
rhytons, especially in bull form, were extremely popular in Northern Iran and local leaders would have competed to have the largest and most ornate example. This fine burnished terracotta vessel is in the shape of a stocky bull – an animal with great importance and much revered at the time. Standing on four short legs that carefully balance the body of the rhyton, it has a prominent back hump and straightened horns, which have been delicately sculpted in geometric planes, capturing the majesty of the creature through smooth, rounded surfaces. The vessel has a long, prominent spout through which the liquid, probably wine, would be poured during ceremonial rituals. A band of hatched linear decoration surrounds both sides of the bull’s face and neck, extending across its shoulders and front legs.
The Amlash culture is known almost exclusively through the archaeological record that has come to light in recent decades. The term refers to the material culture found in the modern-day provinces of Gilan and Mazadaran, in Northern Iran, that was most prevalent in the early 1st millennium bc, and is known for its highly skilled artisans who produced exceptional and original pottery, which characteristically depicted themes of nature. The word ‘rhyton’ comes from the ancient Greek meaning ‘to run through’ and refers to a distinct type of vessel that contains a spout from which to drink or pour libations during rituals. Normally filled through one hole, and poured through another at the opposite end, rhytons were often zoomorphic and would be made to appear as the animal was either drinking or spouting from its mouth. During the 7th and 8th centuries bc, zoomorphic
n o t e o n th e p r o v en a n c e This bull was once in the collection of the famous French novelist and memoirist Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin (1804–1876), best known by her pseudonym George Sand. An eccentric character, she was well known for her romantic affairs with the composer Frédéric Chopin and the writer Alfred de Musset, among others. This piece once graced her private residence in Paris. Her collection was sold after her death, at various auctions throughout Paris, with many pieces ending up in the Musée du Louvre.
24 BRONZE DEER Central Asia, 1st millennium bc Bronze | h. 12.5 cm, l. 13 cm provenance Charles Gillet (1879–1972) Collection Baroness Goldschmidt-Rothschild (nee. Marion Schuster; 1902–1982) collection, inv. no. 293 Thence by descent to Nadine von Mauthner (nee. von Goldschmidt-Rothschild; 1927–2011) collection, Frankfurt (Accompanied by signed affidavit from Mr J.P Froidevaux, grandson of Marion Schuster, and a photo of the piece in the house of Nadine von Mauthner) condition Intact, with natural patination and encrusting.
Indo-European, Vedic or Zoroastrian elements in such imagery, however all interpretations remain speculative.2 The ‘Luristan bronze’ industry was phenomenon of the 1st millennium bc with no evidence of large scale bronze manufacture prior to this time, and with a terminus sometime before the beginning of the Achaemenid period. The reason why it ceased to function and whether it did so abruptly or gradually is unknown.
This well-proportioned bronze deer stands rigid on four feet, his highly stylized head held proudly aloft, with the two antlers protruding backwards. A large quantity of highly advanced and stylized bronze objects have been found throughout the Luristan region, dating from approximately the 1st millennium bc. It is believed they were mostly discovered during excavations from the 1930s onwards. Many of these items include not only war-related items such as axe heads, swords, horse tack and spears, but also figurative idols such as ‘Master of Animal’ finials, human idols (particularly those famously from the Piravend region), and small animal ornaments. It is not known what these more stylized idols and animalshaped bronzes would have been used for. Many have loops on the back, presumably for hanging. Whether these items were carried about the person, however, or if they were strung up around the domiciles is not known. It is thought many of these idols, be it human or animal, were made in representation or in honour of various deities. Some scholars have claimed to recognize
not e on t he prove nance The son of a prominent French industrialist, Charles Gillet (1879–1972) came to run the family businesses, which became the eminent chemical firm Rhône-Poulenc. The great wealth he amassed gave him the freedom to pursue collecting in a variety of arts, including antiquities and numismatics. He was known to have a keen eye for beauty, rarity and quality. Marion Schuster (1902–1982), the second wife of Albert Maximilian, 2nd Baron GoldschmidtRothschild, apparently inherited all or most of Charles Gillet’s collection upon his death.