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Passion, Possessions & Power

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[1] A Large Hawaiian Islands Hook Shaped Sperm Whale Tooth Royal Pendant on an Eight Ply Braided Human Hair Necklace Lei Niho Palaoa Early 19th Century

s i z e: 27 cm long – 10½ ins long (approx) p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 4, item no. 80, for a Hawaiian hook c f: Metropolitan Museum New York; The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, 1979.206.1623, for a similar example No other ethnographic object is as eloquent in its representation of the people of Hawaii than the Lei Niho Palaoa. They were worn exclusively by chiefs and persons of royal and high rank of both genders. They served as visual symbols of exalted status and noble birth, much like the royal crown acted as an element of formal regalia in Europe. Worn in battle and on occasions of ceremony they often appear in early European portraits of Hawaiian nobility. Large necklaces of this kind were a development of the early 19th century when whalers and traders began to supply sperm whale teeth in quantity to the Islands allowing craftsmen to create impressive versions of the old smaller hook shaped pendant, which were made when the precious whale ivory was obtained only through chance strandings. Early historical examples are made of shell, coral and other materials as well as whale ivory, and it can therefore be concluded that it was the shape and form of the pendant rather than the material that served as the symbol of chiefly authority. The necklace is made of exquisitely finely braided human hair. The eight-ply braid is formed from a single continuous length gathered into two large coils on either side of the central pendant through which a small number of braided loops are passed. The coils are tied with fibre and attached to cords, which tie at the back of the neck. Captain James Cook, the first European to visit Hawaii, observed that the Islanders often exchanged locks of hair, which was regarded as a sacred substance. The head was considered the most supernaturally powerful part of the body and so the beautifully braided coils of hair enhanced the mana of the necklace and that of its noble wearer.


[2] A Curious Pair of English Shell-Work Figures of China Men in the Manner of Giuseppe Arcimboldo Encrusted with button top shells Umbonium sp found in tropical waters Late 18th – Early 19th Century

s i z e: 21 cm high, 6.5 cm wide, 6.5 cm deep – 8¼ ins high, 2½ ins wide, 2½ ins deep s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 14, item no. 60b, for another example The creation of shell grottoes and pavilions on English estates was an abiding passion in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Fashioned as retreats for contemplation, or lover’s trysts, they often contained a fountain made from a giant clam and walls encrusted with shells from around the world arranged in patterns and decorative schemes. West Indian Fighting Conchs Strombus Pugilis were cemented to the roofs of alcoves where shellworked figures and baskets of flowers were arranged. Auguste II of Poland decorated his shell room with his royal monogram surrounded by two floral bouquets and platters of fruit all formed of thousands of tropical clam shells.


[3] A Late Medieval Gothic Netherlandish Carved Sandstone Grotesque in the Form of a Devil from St Martins Cathedral Utrecht 14th Century

s i z e: 30.5 cm high, 20 cm wide, 16 cm deep – 12 ins high, 8 ins wide, 6¼ ins deep 47.5 cm high – 18¾ ins high (with stand) p rov e na nc e: Gifted to the Church curator in the early 20th century Thence by descent Ex Private Antwerp collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 11, item no. 85, for an English medieval sandstone bestial demon St Martins in Utrecht was once the Netherlands largest church and its Dom Tower was the biggest to be constructed in Europe during the 14th century. All that remains today of the original 13th and 14th century building is the choir, the transept and the Dom Tower. The symbol of Utrecht, the Gothic Dom Tower was built to a design by John of Hainault between 1321 and 1382. When the unfinished nave collapsed in 1674 the tower became a freestanding structure. With his large goat like ears, short horns, open mouth and bulging eyes, the fierce expression of this grotesque devil is startling, but it was probably intended as a defence against the forces of evil, as well as a reminder of the hell that awaits the sinner.


[4] A Bering Sea Inuit Eskimo Carved Walrus Ivory Toggle or Cord Attacher in the form of a Seal’s Head Early 19th Century

s i z e: 1.5 cm high, 2.5 cm deep – ¾ ins high, 1 ins deep p rov e na nc e: Excavated on St Lawrence Island and sold by Inuit traders Ex New York collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 7, item no. 4, for an Inuit walrus ivory pail handle carved with six seal’s heads This finely carved seal helped keep the net headline afloat. Seals and birds are naturally clever catchers and thus act as helping and guiding spirits on seal and fishnets. The essential spiritual relationship between the Inuit hunter and his prey rested upon a variety of ritual observances designed to make the creature’s spirit happy, and only then could the hunter achieve success.


[5] An Inuit Eskimo Carved Whalebone Shaman’s Amuletic Mask in the Form of a Small Anthropomorphic Face Probably from Point Hope, Alaska Circa 1800 or earlier

s i z e: 11.5 cm high, 8.5 cm wide, 3.5 cm deep – 4½ ins high, 3¼ ins wide, 1¼ ins deep 19 cm high – 7½ ins high (with stand) p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection These masks, made of wood or whalebone, were used in whale hunting ceremonies and known by the term Uvilopalik at Point Hope. When the sea ice began to form and the season for hunting the whale was imminent the Shaman would sing a song to the whale’s spirit represented by the mask. These religious observances were held over four days in honour of the last season’s killed whales’ souls. The masks and other sacred objects were only used during these sittings and then put away and kept in the ceremonial house Galegis until the close of the whaling season. All supernatural forces were called upon by the Shaman to help in the hunting of the huge animals and the mask, having the power to see whales at a great distance, would guide the hunters and brought the whale close to the boat sending their harpoons on for a direct hit. The eVect of the mask was to make the animal more tractable and amenable to harpooning. It was believed that the whale’s soul passed into another whale when it was killed and any irregularity of procedure was thought to disturb it. The whale could see the preparations that were being made to kill it and on that basis could decide whether to allow itself to be taken by the hunter. The mask therefore served to both placate the whale and to compel it to come close by magical means.


[6] An Italian Renaissance Marble Bust of the Christ Child Mid 16th Century s i z e: 27.5 cm high – 10¾ ins high The naked marble bust of the child depicts a gravity and solemn beauty, which shines unexpectedly from his chubby features. He represents the fully human Christ child in silent contemplation. In this sculpture he is no longer the infant ruler or child judge, but instead the vulnerable child who requires the aVection, care and protection of human beings. It was St Francis who through his teachings was responsible for changing the way the relationship between God and man was thought of, and for perceiving the infant Christ child in a new light. No longer a fully divine godly infant, but a defenceless human being who experiences as much fear, anxiety and pain as the rest of humanity. This representation of the saviour was probably made for private devotion to encourage the viewer to meditate on the humility of the incarnation


[7] A South African Zulu Woman’s Shembe Church Hat Late 19th – Early 20th Century

s i z e: 16 cm high, 19 cm dia (max) – 6¼ ins high, 7½ ins dia (max) p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection Among the Zulu the head is considered sacred and a married woman would never appear in public without some type of head covering. Traditionally headdresses were made by weaving coarse knitting wool into the natural hair, which was then stained with red ochre and smeared with animal fat. This formed a permanent elaborate coiVure which was sealed at the top and the interior packed with dried herbs. It was also the custom for women to hide small personal treasures inside their hairdo. The style of a Zulu woman’s headdress called a Inhloko or Isicholo was determined by the culture to which she belonged, and the female members of the Shembe Church (Ibandla Iamanazaretha) wore these distinctive red conical hats.


[8] A South African Tsonga Carved Travelling Headrest and StaV 19th Century

s i z e: 15 cm high, 9 cm deep, 54 cm long – 6 ins high, 3½ ins deep, 21¼ ins long s e e: Finch and Co catalogue no. 4, item no. 22, for a similar example The combination of a walking staV and a headrest is thought to have been produced in response to the itinerant workforce in the countryside. Lightweight and portable these travelling headrests provided their male owners with a pillow for sleep, contact with the ancestors through thought provoking dreams, the means to transport their bundle of belongings when tied to the end, and if necessary, it could be used for protection.


[9] An Unusual Rhinoceros Horn Holy Roundel Carved with the Image of the Risen Christ Probably Ethiopian The back with an old paper label, inscribed: No 120 Rec’d Oct ‘80 On Loan from W.M. Bragge Esq 17th Century – 18th Century

s i z e: 5 cm dia. (max) 0.5 cm depth – 2 ins dia. (max) ¼ ins depth p rov e na nc e: William Bragge (1823 – 84) was an antiquary and engineer. Born in Birmingham the son of Thomas Perry Bragge, a jeweller. He trained as a railway surveyor and engineer, supervised the Chester to Holyhead line and carried out railway and lighting projects in Brazil. From 1858 to 72 he was Managing Director of John Brown & Co, an armour-plate manufacturers in SheYeld, becoming a Master Cutler and the Mayor of SheYeld. In 1872 he went to Paris to try to develop a sewage system, but was unsuccessful. In 1876 he returned to Birmingham and established a watchmaking factory. A great collector, he donated many objects to museums including his 1500 volume collection of works by, and relating to, Cervantes to the Birmingham Free Libraries in 1873 which tragically burnt down in 1879 s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 14, item no. 73, for another rhinoceros horn roundel de f r a : pre sale approval obtained In the Ethiopian orthodox Christian Church the inner sanctum of the altar space, the Holy of Holies, is occupied by a tabot, an authorised representation of the original Ark of the Covenant in the form of a small wood or stone tablet. Ethiopians believe the original Ark rests in Askum, the ecclesiastical capital, in the care of a resident priest in the Church of St Mary of Zion. Without the presence of these tablets derived from the original, a church is not a church, and mass cannot be celebrated. These roundels were possibly made in imitation of these tablets for Christian pilgrims to the Church and as rhinoceros horn is known for having prophylactic properties, they were used as devotional devices in the manner of a rosary bead to aid and facilitate meditative prayer.


[10] An Unusual Silver Reliquary Box Containing a Miniature Bohemian Coloured Glass Figure of St John of Nepomuk, Patron Saint of Prague Inscribed to the Hinged Lid: St John of Nepomuk 1330 – 1393 Imperial Notary Priest Rector of St Gall in Prague 1381 After Suffering Torture He Was Drowned In the Vltava By Order of King Wenceslaus To the base an engraved armorial being the Arms of the Reade Family originally pertaining to Thomas Rede of Abingdon who purchased the manor of Duns Tew in 1545 and in 1550 the Manor of Barton, Oxfordshire Mid 19th Century s i z e: 2 cm high, 5.5 cm dia (max) – ¾ ins high, 2¼ ins dia. (max) Halfway across Charles Bridge in Prague is a small bronze Lorraine cross which marks the spot where St John of Nepomuk was hurled into the river. His statue erected by the Jesuits in 1683 adorns the bridge. John was the vicar-general of Prague who was put in a sack and dropped into the River Vltava in 1383 on the orders of Wenceslas IV. It is said that Wenceslas put John to death for appointing an Abbot against his wishes, however, 300 years later the Jesuits created John a Catholic martyr with a legend that Wenceslas had asked him to reveal what the Queen had said during her confession. He declined and was put on the rack, and under torture said he had forgotten and now would not tell even if he could remember! He was drowned in the river and above his floating corpse appeared five stars. He was canonised by the Jesuits in 1729 after the order had exhumed his coYn and claimed to have found his tongue. The bronze statue of St John is said to help with infertility and the wrongly accused, and has been so rubbed by worshippers hoping for his help that only a glittering dot remains.


[11] A Rare Native American Navajo Talking God Yéi Bichéi Holyway Ceremonial Shaman’s Mask Hide with abstract designs in charcoal and clay pigments an Eagle feather tied to one side a shell to each eye and to the mouth sinew attachments 19th Century

s i z e: 40 cm high, 32 cm wide (max) – 15¾ ins high, 12½ ins wide (max) p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection c f: Brooklyn Museum New York cat no. 03.183 and 03.184 for two similar examples A Photograph by Simeon Schweinberger of 1905 showing three Navajo wearing similar masks in Smithsonian Institute National Anthropological Archives, Washington DC The Nightway is one of the most important Holyway ceremonies and when speaking English is referred to by the Navajo as ye bichai. This healing rite is said to be particularly curative of all ailments of the head. Performed by a medicine man or Shaman, it can only take place after the first frost and before the first thunderstorm of spring, when the snakes are in hibernation and there are no lightning flashes in the sky. During the last of nine nights the yé i deities appear, whose leader is known as Talking God or Maternal Grandfather of the Gods; Yéi bichéi. In ancient times the Navajo were semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers moving in a seasonal round collecting wild plants and hunting game from favoured campsites. They learned farming techniques from their Pueblo Indian neighbours, such as the Hopi, but would supplement supplies by raiding the villages for their ripe crops. They eventually lived in close proximity to the Hopi and adapted many aspects and elements of their culture to suit themselves, including the weaving of textiles. This Talking God mask was probably inspired by Pueblo prototypes.


[12] A South German Priming Flask made from the Carapace of a Herman’s Tortoise with Cast Brass Mounts in the Form of Acanthus Leaves 17th Century

s i z e: 4.5 cm high, 7.5 cm wide, 13 cm long – 1¾ ins high, 3 ins wide, 5 ins long With matchlock guns, wheel locks and flintlocks it was necessary to use finer powder in the pan than in the charge. The act of filling the pan was called priming, and the flask to hold the fine powder, the primer. In Europe, it could be combined with the spanner for wheel locks or with a bullet pouch. Flasks of all kinds were favourite objects for decoration, but the primer being small and constantly carried was particularly chosen for this purpose.


[13] The Rare Miniature Blond Shell of a South American Amazonian Arrau River Turtle Podocnemis Expansa Fine old smooth silky patina 19th Century

s i z e: 6 cm high, 11.5 cm wide, 16 cm long – 2¼ ins high, 4½ ins wide, 6¼ ins long These turtles have distinctly wide and flattened shells and can be as large as sea turtles. They congregate on large sand banks to nest from September to November in Brazil and March to April in Venezuela, although they have now been virtually eliminated from the entire upper Amazon area of Brazil. In the 19th century oil was extracted from their eggs and used for lamps and cooking and the large adults were killed for meat. In Venezuela the tagging of wild turtles has shown that a lapse of four years separates the nesting seasons of individual turtles. Their nesting sites are now protected, but their decline has been massive, from an estimated 330,000 in 1799 to 13,800 in 1969.


[14] An Interesting Collection of Thirty Indian Company School Watercolours Depicting various species of insects including: beetles, spiders, moths, wasps, bees, stick insects, butterfly’s, dragonflies, grasshoppers, scorpions, praying mantis and millipedes Four annotated in Latin with species names to the reverse Early 19th Century s i z e: 15.5 cm high, 25 cm wide – 6 ins high, 9½ ins wide A powerful 19th century impulse of the British in India was the desire to establish order. India as it was viewed by the traveller and colonial administrator presented a visual confusion. A kaleidoscope of peoples, customs, religions, animals and nature. India was composed of such variety that to avoid being overwhelmed and overpowered the best route lay in the study of its anthropological, biological and botanical characteristics. By mapping the culture, country and castes of the sub-continenet a frame work of categories was created that allowed the administrator to feel that he fully understood and could govern India.


[15] An Ancient Roman Erotic Bronze Patera Handle with a Terminal Cast as a Satyrs Head set upon a Cylindrical Phallic Shaft Smooth greenish / blue patina 1st Century bc – 1st Century ad

s i z e: 10 cm long, 6.5 cm wide – 4 ins long, 2½ ins wide p rov e na nc e: Ex English Private collection c f: Patera with handle from the House of Menander, Pompeii. Naples Museum, 1986 (178.No. 47) The refined and careful decoration of this handle once joined to a bronze shallow dish or patera precludes it being from a kitchen utensil. Dishes with well cast handles found at Pompeii are sometimes thought to have been used in a bath context, but it is also possible that they were used in temples as sacrificial oVering dishes.


[16] An Ancient Egyptian Faïence Large Amuletic Figure of the Dwarf God Bes Damages to head and feet Late Period 712 – 332 bc

s i z e: 10.5 cm high – 4¼ ins high p rov e na nc e: Ex collection Anthony Francombe In ancient Egypt Bes was originally a demi-god that combined the physical features of a lion and a human. Over time Bes lost many of his leonine traits and by the Late Period only his ears and mane-like beard recalled the ancient associations with lions. Despite his apparent ferocity he was a beneficent deity much favoured as a protector of the family. He came to be found in scenes or objects exclusively related to fertility, sexual attraction, the protection of infants and of new mothers during the perilous hours after birth. Bes images were made to be used as guardians of the home, new mothers and infants and would have been purchased and donated to a local temple or sanctuary in thanks for, or in expectation of, a favour from the god.


[17] A South African Tsonga/North Nguni Finely Carved Ritual Female Figure of Elegant and Graceful Form The delicately carved facial features and ovoid head with exceptionally large staring eyes a long neck and compact slender body with small breasts above a gentle swelling abdomen over which both hands protectively extend, naked with long legs the knees delineated by a line with typically large feet Once wearing beads around the neck and ankles Probably an initiation figure 19th Century

s i z e: 32.5 cm high – 12¾ ins high / 38 cm high – 15 ins high (with base) s e e: Finch and Co catalogue no. 4, item no. 44, for another Tsonga figure and Lot 150, Christies, London, Important Tribal Art, 25th June, 1984 for a similar example c f: Brenthurst Collection ( JL-A-35) Art and Ambiguity pg; 149, shows a similar carving with large staring eyes and hands across the abdomen Much of the art once stylistically attributable to a particular region of South Africa is now thought to obscure more than enlighten as to its genuine provenance. The seminomadic culture and peripatetic lifestyle of the cattle herding peoples who traversed the Southeastern part of the African continent prior to the rise of foreign colonial power contributed greatly to the portable nature of their material culture. The complexity of the historical relationships amongst the peoples of South Africa indicates and shows that a piece once thought to conform to a regional style was probably made by migrant Tsonga speaking carvers active in Natal sometime after the destruction of the Zulu kingdom in 1879. These itinerant craftsmen were supplying the demands of the market or a particular commissioning client. However, this exquisite sculpture which embodies all the elegance and grace of those works of art produced by the baboon master is probably earlier in date and was made for ritual use as an initiation figure.


[18] An Early Victorian Conchologists Diorama Filled with a Collection of Seashells Corals and Sea Life First Half 19th Century

s i z e: 43.5 cm high, 51.5 cm wide, 22 cm deep – 17 ins high, 20¼ ins wide, 8½ ins deep Shell collecting has been a favourite pastime since the Renaissance, although their intricate beauty has captivated humans since earliest times. Their arrangement into aesthetic and pleasing designs satisfied the earnest and learned minds of collectors, who almost always also had a desire to further knowledge and study in their subject. In 1717 the Amsterdam apothecary and concologist, Albert Seba (1665 – 1736) sold to Peter The Great of Russia a cabinet of East Indian Cypress Wood containing 72 drawers of artfully arranged shells. Shells were among the exotic treasures brought back from the voyages of discovery when they were so coveted by wealthy collectors that certain specimens could raise enormous sums at auction. The first shell auctions were held in Holland during the early 1700’s and attracted buyers from London, Paris and Copenhagen. One of the first English auction sales was that of the collection of Commodore Lisle which took place in February 1753 at Longfords in London. The shell of a precious wendletrap fetched £115 – a staggering sum!


[19] A South German Carved Ivory Profile Portrait Relief of a Man with a Saddleback Nose Wearing a Fur Cap with a Quill Pen attached to denote his Profession Probably after a bronze medallion or engraving Late 17th – Early 18th Century

s i z e: 12.5 cm high, 7 cm wide – 5 ins high, 2¾ ins wide 14.5 cm high – 5¾ ins high (including stand) This expressive carving may portray a lawyer or an author as he has a quill pen attached to his luxurious fur hat or berretto. The small-scale intimate nature of ivory was conducive to portraiture and as with the bronze portrait medals of the renaissance, most were commissioned by the individual sitter directly from the artist. Ivory craftsmen travelled from one princely or Imperial European court to the next taking their material and tools with them finding patronage and commissions where they could. It is often difficult therefore, to put a definite location on the execution of a particular work.


[20] A Fine and Rare South African Zulu Blond Rhinoceros Horn Prestige Knobkerrie with a Very Long Shaft Superb colour and lustrous patina Mid 19th Century

s i z e: 80 cm long – 31½ ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex Pierre Loos Brussels Ex European Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 7, item no.99, for a South African blond rhinoceros horn sceptre, catalogue no 7, item no. 33, for a South African Nguni black rhinoceros horn knobkerrie de f r a : pre sale approval obtained c f: 1833 engraving by E. Casalis of Zulu Chief Mosheshwe holding a long knobkerrie as an indication of status Of elegant form and with a very long tapering shaft this exceptional knobkerrie has a fine colour coming from a white Rhinoceros, which have much longer horns than the Black rhino. During the mid 19th century one horn was measured to have a record length of 1.58 metres. Knobkerries fashioned from rhinoceros horn were used amongst the Zulu to denote significant status. They were an essential part of a chief ’s regalia functioning both as a staV of oYce and as a symbol of personal dignity. Even in the 19th century rhino horns of exceptional length were rare, and there was a direct correlation between their prestige value and their length. A big game hunter in 1844, Roualeyn GordonCumming, reported obtaining a long rhino horn staV in exchange for a cup of gunpowder from Chief Sekgoma …a most wonderful Knobkerrie made from a very rare species of the rhinoceros… its chief interest consisting in its extraordinary length which greatly exceeded anything I had ever seen of the kind before, or have since met with (Cumming, London, 1850).


[21] A Scottish Treen Carved Boxwood Quaich with Silver Mounts a Central Silver Boss to the Bowl Engraved with a Buckled Belt Enclosing a Thistle inscribed with the Gaelic motto Sguab Asii 19th Century

s i z e: 3 cm high, 11.5 cm wide (max) – 1¼ ins high, 4½ ins wide (max) p rov e na nc e: Ex collection of D. Robinson Sold at auction 2013 Whisky, Uisge Beatha or water of life in Gaelic has been produced in Scotland since the 15th century, but it only really became popular after the 1780 tax on claret made wine too expensive for most people. However, the taxman soon caught up with the whisky distillers and eventually drove them underground. Many of today’s distilleries still operate on the site of simple cottages that once produced whisky illegally. In 1823 Parliament revised the Excise Laws, legalising whisky production that today has become Scotland’s chief export. A quaich is the perfect vessel to partake of a wee dram or to taste the quality of a single malt.


[22] An Unusual Treen Shoe SnuV Box Carved of Mahogany Fashioned as an Ancient Roman’s Sandaled Foot the Lid with a Crouching Hound Early 19th Century

s i z e: 7 cm high, 4 cm wide, 10 cm deep – 2¾ ins high, 1½ ins wide, 4 ins deep SnuV taking as a habit amongst all classes, as opposed to a fashionable addiction of high society, dates from the introduction of ready ground snuV in 1702. The year when Sir George Rooke in command of the British fleet captured from the Spanish, near Cadiz, several thousand barrels of choice Spanish snuV, and near Vigo went on to capture a further cargo of Havana snuV. This vast quantity of sneezing powder was sold at the English seaports for a very low price, the proceeds being prize money for the benefit of sailors. From this small venture the British snuV habit was born. It is thought that shoe snuV boxes were made as passing out pieces by cobbler apprentices as in the 19th century woodworking was an essential part of the cobbler’s trade. Shoes represent one of the largest groups of all wooden snuV boxes, but one modelled as a classical ancient sandal is exceptionally rare. Even the Pinto Collection in Birmingham City Museum does not possess one.


[23] An Ancient African Southeast Congo Songye Carved Ivory Hunting Horn or Oliphant of Abstract Form Fine old smooth silky dark brown / orange patina 18th – Early 19th Century

s i z e: 39 cm long, 6 cm dia. (max) 15¼ ins long, 2¼ ins dia. (max) s e e: Finch and Co catalogue no. 3, item no. 100 for a similar bird head Oliphant c f: White Gold Black Hands Ivory Sculpture in the Congo, Volume 4, edited by Marc L. Felix; 2012, page 230, figure T5, for a very similar example Often known as side blown trumpets, Oliphant’s are amongst the most widespread worked ivory objects in Africa. The blow-hole is carved on the concave side of the tusk and the tone hole placed at the tip where it can be manipulated by the thumb. The natural shape of this example has been subtly modified to incorporate the belt loophole as the eye of an abstract flying bird. These trumpets were used by the Songye in the deep forest as hunting horns, often when hunting as a group with dogs. They were also used as signalling devices and as a directional aid for the dispersed hunters.


[24] A Yoruba Finely Carved Female Ere Ibeji Figure with an Elegant Open Plaited Hairstyle wearing Bronze Bangles around her Wrists and a String of Beads about her Waist Oke Eho Oyo Yorubaland Early 20th Century

s i z e: 25.5 cm high – 10 ins high p rov e na nc e: Ex English Private collection Acquired 1950’s s e e: Finch & Co Ibeji catalogue 2007, for a collection of Yoruba Ere Ibeji c f: G. Chemeche; Ibeji 2003, Milan, illustrates comparable examples: no. 38, 39, 42, 43, 44 The Yoruba people of Nigeria have an extraordinarily high occurrence of twin births, said to be four times that of anywhere else, and subsequently a high rate of infant mortality. In the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century Yoruba artists created a variety of regionally carved twin figures ere ibeji to meet the needs of grieving parents who wanted to honour their deceased twins. These small sculptured memorial figures would be placed on personal domestic shrines, sometimes in the mother’s bedroom, where they would be bathed, anointed with palm oil, smeared with red camwood powder and given oVerings of food as sustenance. Over time these weekly propitiatory rites, the ritual washing and rubbing, would produce a worn and smooth patination giving the facial features an abstract inner-spiritual power. The bronze bracelets and beads would be added by the parents to enhance the beauty of the figure. These carved images of their lost twins came to represent an aYrmation of life in the face of death.


[25] A Fine South Netherlandish Carved Ivory of the Crucified Christ His Eyes and Mouth Open His Legs Uncrossed Looking Upwards Christo Vivo Surface cracks Circa 1680 – 1700

s i z e: 30 cm high – 11¾ ins high p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 7, item no. 34, for another example Amsterdam was one of the principal European ports for the importation of African ivory from the 16th century onwards. Many devotional and religious ivories were produced in the Netherlands during the 17th and 18th centuries, but their authorship was unrecorded as the craftsmen believed they were in the service of God. By the mid 17th century both the iconographies of Christo Vivo and Christo Morto existed concurrently. In this example Christ is shown alive His mouth open in His call to God, combining the suVering and human frailty of Christ with His ultimate triumph over death and sin.


[26] A Polynesian Cook Islands Rarotonga Fine Shell Hat Band or Necklace Late 19th Century

s i z e: 21.5 cm dia., 2 cm dia. (shell strand) – 8½ ins dia., ¾ ins dia (shell strand) p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection c f: Auckland War Memorial Museum; AM47210 for a similar but later example Hei were neck ornaments composed of land snail shells or seashells and could be made from more perishable leaves, flowers and seeds. It was a universal item of adornment in Polynesia, which was worn by men, women and children. Traditionally in Polynesia garlands of scented leaves and flowers, sun visors and capes were a common part of everyday dress. Fishing hats were also essential for protection from the glaring sun on the sea and intricate, colourful hatbands were used to keep them in place. Contact with Western cultures led to a new introduced form in the late 19th century of the Panama hat made from the young leaf of the coconut palm. Hatbands then developed to add Polynesian interest to this European style of Pacific hat.


[27] A Rare Collection of Three Native Southwest American Arizona Hopi Kachina Dance Masks: 19th Century – Early 20th Century

[a] A helmet shaped dance mask of painted and pigmented leather with a large protruding carved cottonwood bird’s beak and earflaps sinew and string attachments the whole decorated with Eagle feathers Representing Ahola the God of Germination, a leading Kachina of great importance for the growth of the corn crop

s i z e: 52 cm high (approx) 31 cm wide, 29 cm deep – 20½ ins high (approx) 12¼ ins wide, 11½ ins deep / 198 cm high – 78 ins high (with stand)

[b] An impersonators dance mask Mana of leather painted with clay pigments and a beard of human hair sinew attachments s i z e: 16.5 cm high, 18 cm wide – 6½ ins high, 7 ins wide 48 cm long – 19 ins long (with beard) / 145 cm high – 57 ins high (with stand)

[c] Another dance mask of painted shaped leather probably representing Kana the Sunset Creator Kachina s i z e: 18 cm high, 17.5 cm wide – 7 ins high, 6¾ ins wide 155 cm high – 61 ins high (with stand) p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 20, item no. 17, for another dance mask and catalogue no. 8, item no. 73, for a Hopi Kachina eYgy doll c f: Denver Art Museum (cat no. NL-2) for a comparable example In spite of the many foreign intrusions the Pueblo culture of the Hopi never lost its basic form. Corn or maize was always their principal crop and to the Hopi corn is life, for it has sustained them throughout their history. Their religious systems maintain a complex and all persuasive pattern of seasonal ritual dances in which masked and traditionally adorned men take the roles of supernatural spirits the Kachinas. These beings are the messengers to the gods and representations of the gods on earth. They are the friends and allies of humans and conveyors of their prayers to the gods. They are the spirits of the ancestors, but also embody the spiritual essence of all things, from ashes to stars. They come to visit humans during the period between the Winter solstice and their return to the underworld in July. They are said to dwell in the San Francisco Peaks, north of FlagstaV, Arizona. During the season the Kachinas are impersonated by members of the men’s associations wearing masks such as these that envelope the head. Dancing and chanting songs the men become the supernatural beings, Kachina and are able to converse with the gods. The Hopi continue to lead traditional lives, and although they embrace education and some modern technology, everyone returns home from working in the cities to take part in the dance festivals.


[28] An Early Christian Carolingian Frankish Limestone Altar Frontal Carved with an Interlaced Ring Chain Pattern Perhaps part of an earlier Celtic cross slab 8th – 9th Century ad

s i z e: 38 cm high, 35 cm wide, 11 cm deep – 15 ins high, 13¾ ins wide, 4¼ ins deep p rov e na nc e: Found in Sauvessange France 1940’s Ex Collection Doctor of Medicine, Clermont Ferrand s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 13, item no. 89, for a 13th century Venetian pierced work marble altar frontal c f: Altar frontal of The Abbey of Saint Polycarpe near Limoux (Aude) founded in 790 A.D The Carolingian dynasty of Kings and Emperors descended from Charlemagne (?742 – 814) who in alliance with the Pope extended his dominion over Germany and Italy and was crowned Emperor of the West or Holy Roman Emperor. Under his son Louis the Pious the empire reached its fullest extent stretching from the Pyrenees across the whole of France to the present day Low Countries, into Northern Germany and down into the Italian Peninsula. Not only was Charlemagne a great ruler, he presided over a remarkable revival of learning and education.


[29] A Rare African Northeast Congo Kusu Ivory Ceremonial Parade Baton inscribed Ivory Parade Sword Upper Congo Wbstr. Oct 1, 1898 with Pitt Rivers Inventory Number 5757 19th Century

s i z e: 38 cm long – 15 ins long p rov e na nc e: W.D. Webster (1868 – 1913) Dealer in Ethnographica Purchased by General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers, 1898 from W.D. Webster Pitt Rivers, Farnham, Museum inventory No. 5757 Ex English Private collection c f: White Gold Black Hands Ivory Sculpture in the Congo, Volume 4, edited Marc L. Felix; 2012, pg; 140, a very similar example collected in the Upper Congo from the Bakusu in 1901 by Captain G. Burrows, on the Upper Lomami River European Christian missionaries followed in the wake of the explorers who first started probing the interior heart of Africa around the turn of the 19th century. Until this period little was known of the internal aVairs of the Congo region. The Congo peoples were first contacted at the mouth of the Congo River in the late 15th century and developed a steady trade in slaves and ivory with the Portuguese, but there was no European penetration into the interior until the mid-19th century, it remained darkest Africa. Livingston, Stanley and their followers, missionaries and adventurers, explored the area and sculptures and artefacts began to be collected from these new found peoples after about 1880. This ceremonial ivory baton or parade sword was probably collected in the field during this period.


[30] A Rare Victorian Taxidermy Specimen of a Two Headed Siamese or Conjoined Ayrshire Dairy Calf from South West Scotland Bos (Primigenus) Taurus Early 20th Century

s i z e: 37 cm high, 38 cm wide, 34 cm deep – 14½ ins high, 15 ins wide, 13¼ ins deep p rov e na nc e: From the collection of a deceased Scottish Veterinary Surgeon who, by repute, had kept the calf alive after birthing and then upon its death having had it stuVed and mounted kept it on the wall of his surgery Thence by Descent c f: Walter Potter Museum of Curiosities a seven-legged, two-bodied lamb circa 1912 now in Damien Hirst’s Murderme collection N.B. No concealed stitching or fabrication exists on this genuine example Freaks of nature have always been a subject of human fascination and during the 18th and 19th centuries travelling shows would charge the public to see bearded ladies, conjoined twins, giants, dwarves and natural marvels such as stuVed two headed calves or lambs and piglets born with two bodies. It was not unusual to see these abnormalities amongst farm animals in the countryside and farmers would take these deformed newborn specimens, often the result of the inbreeding of show or prize winning animals, to the local taxidermist in order to display them in their houses as items of scientific interest.


[31] An Australian Aboriginal Western Desert Parrying Shield Wunda decorated in red ochre and white clay pigments with an etched abstract design Aged patina to handle on reverse 19th Century

s i z e: 65.5 cm high, 19 cm wide, 4.5 cm deep – 25¾ ins high, 7½ ins wide, 1¾ ins deep 68 cm high – 26¾ ins high (with stand) s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 11, item no. 7, and 73, catalogue no. 2, item no. 2, and catalogue no. 18, item no. 27, for other examples Used for parrying spears and other weapons, shields such as this were held in high regard by their owners and makers. The uneven line of the geometric zig-zag decoration is the result of slow gouging to the wood with a possum’s tooth. Australian aborigines had a powerful attachment to their land and to everything that lived in it, and this relationship is reflected in their art. The designs on their shields portray their landscape and, as with all of their artefacts, were made to communicate ideas to specific people or groups. The design therefore served as a vehicle through which a vision of the natural world was conveyed.


[32] A Fine Pair of Italian After the Antique Carved Ivory Classical Portrait Reliefs Late 18th Century

s i z e: 5 cm high, 3.5 cm wide – 2 ins high, 1¼ ins wide 5 cm high, 4 cm wide – 2 ins high, 1½ ins wide These cut away, ivory profile heads were probably carved after antique Roman gems. The portrait relief wearing a helmet formed from a lion’s head and mane probably represents the Roman Emperor Trajan (ad98 – 117) who took up the attributes of Hercules. The Roman god Hercules originated from the Greek hero Herakles and embodied the masculine characteristics of great strength, courage and appetite. He was a popular cult figure with the Roman legions that, in battle, would cry Mehercle as an aid to courage. The other relief probably portrays the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (ad161 – 80) wearing the helmet of Achilles, the invincible warrior and hero of Homer’s Iliad.


[33] A Fine Italian Roman Micro Mosaic of the Il Ponte Nomentano Set in a Tortoiseshell and Gold box, inventory labels to the underside of the lid Early 19th Century s i z e: 2.5 cm high, 8 cm dia. – 1 ins high, 3¼ ins dia. In the golden age of the Grand Tour small boxes decorated with tiny mosaics made from ancient coloured marbles were the perfect souvenirs. Travellers returning to the London fog with a miniature image of the great ruin of the Coliseum for instance, not only possessed a memory of the sights of ancient Rome, but also a scrap of the material used to make the original Imperial City.


[34] A Western Polynesia Tongan Ironwood Pole Club Akau Tau Covered in Carefully Zoned Engraving Incorporating Four Anthropomorphic and Zoomorphic Figures Early 19th Century

s i z e: 92 cm long – 36¼ ins long p rov e na nc e: Collected in the Pacific at the end of the 19th Century Thence by Descent s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 21, item no. 41, for a Tongan leafstalk club The most numerous of all Tongan artefacts, war clubs were made in a variety of shapes and each one produced was a work of art. Decorated with fine and elaborate incising by means of a shark’s tooth tied to a wooden handle the geometric designs sometimes incorporate human figures, birds, sharks and fish. After European contact, iron nails were used in the same way making the incised designs deeper and sharper in the ironwood. The meanings of the zoning and the iconography of Tongan club designs are obscure, but are probably connected to tattoo and bark-cloth designs that in themselves were metaphors for chiefly attributes.


[35] An Ancient Greek South Italy Black Glazed Pottery Bell Krater Decorated in the Six’s Technique with Incised and White Paint­ed Details of Stylised Grape Vines and Four diVerent Birds Including an Owl Good un-restored condition Gnathian Colonies – 4th Century bc

s i z e: 22 cm high, 23.5 cm dia. – 8½ ins high, 9¼ ins dia. p rov e na nc e: Ex UK Private collection Acquired 1980’s Gnathian ware is named for the site of Equazia on the Adriatic coast of Apulia and the pottery from ancient Gnathia is distinguished from other wares by the technique of decoration which consisted of covering most or all of the surface with black slip, usually by dipping, and then applying the decoration in added colours, slips of white and red, directly onto the black surface. However, with the Six’s Technique the details are not incised into the added colours, but painted with a brush and if incision exists it is directly on the black ground. By coating the white slip with a thin wash of diluted black slip, a yellowish tint was produced, useful for representing metalwork. The same diluted glaze could be used for shading and a variety of colour tones, which would pick out the subject matter and thereby impart a sense of three-dimensionality. The pottery mixing bowl or Krater was of great importance in both Greek festive and daily drinking. It was regarded as an essential to the civilised economy of mixing water with wine. The Greeks regarded peoples who drank their wine undiluted as somewhat barbaric. Herodotus records that Cleomenes went mad because he spent a certain amount of time with the Scythians and acquired the habit of taking wine without water and went off his head in consequence!


[36] A Collection of Three West African Yoruba Owo Finely Carved Ivory Ifa Divination Tappers Iroke Ifa [a & b] with old smooth honey coloured patinas and inlaid eyes [c] with traces of incrustation on a worn smooth dark reddish patina 19th Century

s i z e s: [a]: 27.5 cm high – 10¾ ins high / 31.5 cm high – 12½ ins high (with stand) [b]: 31 cm high – 12¼ ins high / 37.5 cm high – 14¾ ins high (with stand) [c] 34.5 cm high – 13½ ins high / 37 cm high – 14½ ins high (with stand) p rov e na nc e: [a & b]: Christies African Sale, December, 2007, lots 181 & 183 [c]: Purchased from Finch & Co, 2007 Ex English Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 11, item no. 67, for another Yoruba Divination Tapper Among the Yoruba the use of ivory, as well as the use of beads and bronze, was the privilege of persons of high rank, especially those with spiritual powers and mediatory roles, which aVected the lives and destinies of other people. Ivory was the privilege of Kings, of the elders of the secret Ogboni Society and of Ifa priests. Owo is a large kingdom on the far eastern border of the Yoruba region. There has been considerable influence from the neighbouring City of Benin and it is now thought possible that the best Benin ivory and wood carvers were probably recruited from Owo. The tapper or Iroke is divided into three distinct sections. The slender pointed end balanced on the head of the kneeling figure is the part the priest uses to tap on the divination tray in order to attract the attention of the deity of the Ifa oracle Orunmila. This area represents the inner head that is given to every human before he is born and which determines his future destiny. The naked kneeling figure images all worshippers who come to the priest, Babalawo meaning the father of the secret, to clarify their understanding of their destinies. In Yoruba the word for head and personal destiny is the same: Ori. Nudity amongst adult Yoruba is not considered normal except on very rare occasions when communicating with the creator Eleda or taking an oath on an important issue. The same holds true for a woman holding her breasts, the Yoruba believe that when we enter life in this world we choose and receive our destinies while kneeling down (Rowland Abiodun). In the ritual of divination the suppliant kneels once again to learn what was, and is, the hope and the limit of his or her life.


[37] A Late Medieval Northern French Bronze Apothecary’s Mortar Decorated with two grotesque heads a rim of fleur de lys and scallop shells above a cast panel depicting the Virgin and Christ child enthroned Smooth silky polished patina Late 15th – Early 16th Century s i z e: 10.5 cm high, 18 cm wide – 4¼ ins high, 7 ins wide Bronze mortars were used in almost every house of any standing in Europe during the Middle Ages as evidenced by their regular appearance in wills as bequests, and in household inventories. To the apothecary they were essential. A mortar made the pounding of herbs and substances for medicinal treatment a much easier task. Varying in size from large font shaped floor standing examples down to miniature specimens used for individual prescriptions, mortars made of bronze did not become impregnated with damp, salt or other material and so were preferred over those made of wood.


[38] A Rare South Netherlandish Carved Boxwood Figure of the Crucified Christ Christo Morto Circa 1700

s i z e: 28 cm high – 11 ins high p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 11, item no. 10, for another boxwood example The image of the crucified Christ is central in Christian iconography and dates back to at least the 5th century ad. His death was represented in a variety of ways over the diVerent centuries, each one conveying certain messages or stressing particular aspects of Christian belief. The emphasis on Christ’s human frailty and suVering calls the believer to view the wounds of His torture and pray for forgiveness.


[39] A Curious Pair of English Shell-Work Roaring Lion Dogs in the Manner of Giuseppe Arcimboldo Encrusted with button top shells Umbonium sp found in tropical waters Late 18th – Early 19th Century

s i z e: 16 cm high, 9 cm wide, 6 cm deep – 6¼ ins high, 3½ ins wide, 2¼ ins deep s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 14, item no. 60c, for another English shell work lion dog Idiosyncratic and exquisite creations made from shells were popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They were initially a European tradition inspired by the quantities of exotic shells entering the ports from expeditions to the East and West Indies. Some of the rarer shell specimens were snapped up by wealthy collectors for their cabinets of curiosities. Others were purchased to adorn shell grottoes that were all the rage in fashionable society. Alongside the traditional pursuits of tapestry and embroidery ladies took up the new pastime of shell-work which was seen as the perfect embodiment of the Rococo ideal.


[40] A Fine South African Zimbabwe Shona Rhinoceros Horn Ceremonial Prestige Axe with Iron Blade 19th Century

s i z e: 62 cm long, 19.5 cm wide – 24½ ins long, 7¾ ins wide s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 7, item no. 94, for a South African Sotho Rhinoceros Horn Axe de f r a : pre sale approval obtained Axes such as this fashioned from blond rhinoceros horn were not commonly used as weapons. They were insignia of military rank and as such were carried resting on the shoulder into the battlefield by chiefs and commanders. Axes and knives were preserved as heirlooms amongst the peoples of Southern Africa and transmitted from one generation to the next as important indicators of status. They also preserved and carried an aura of ancestral symbolism.


[41] A Huge Heart Shaped Carapace of a Green Sea Turtle Chelonia Mydas 19th Century s i z e: 110 cm high, 87 cm wide – 43¼ ins high, 34¼ ins wide s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 5, item no. 10, for another example The whales, sailors and merchants of the high seas in the 18th and 19th centuries regarded the Green Sea turtle as a most important food resource; in many cases it kept them alive. A handsome streamlined reptile, it is the largest of the hard-shelled species, a tropical herbivore found in all the tropical oceans of the world. It is still of great economic importance to indigenous coastal peoples, but it is now mostly protected and wild populations are being increased by the release of captive bred hatchlings.


[42] A Fine Burmese Anglo Chinese Carved Green Stained and Natural Ivory Chess Set Depicting Characters from the English and Chinese Court Early 19th Century

s i z e s: 10.5 cm high – 4 ins high (max) In the 19th century Burma was a province of British India on the east side of the Bay of Bengal extending from Manipur in the north to Thailand in the South. It is bounded on the east by China, Annam and Thailand. Amongst the Chinese immigrant population in Burma there existed skilled workers in ivory who steadily built up trade with the West. Since the beginning of the 19th century ornate chessmen with an emphasis on decorative playing pieces were produced. These were made exclusively for export and were sent in such quantity that the style became known as Traditional Burmese. Although varying in size they were always of good quality and often of excellent workmanship.


[43] A Pacific Solomon South Malaita Island Ritual Baton Hau Aano Rero Inlaid with Cut Pieces of Nautilus Shell with a Round Knop Containing a Lump of Iron Pyrites Fools Gold Covered with Decorative Fibre Plaiting 19th Century

s i z e: 40.5 cm long – 16 ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection c f: Edge Partington; plate 34, no. 3 Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology; Z10826 for similar examples These batons called Hau Aano Rereo were first seen by Europeans in 1568 when the crew of a Spanish ship captained by Alvario de Mendana mistook the heavy pyrites knops for gold, triggering rumours of gold in the Solomons and making the clubs collectable ever after. Consecrated to ancestors and kept in the men’s house, ritual batons only belonged to warriors and symbolised their power. They were worn hanging down the back from a cord around the neck and it is thought they indicated that a man had successfully committed homicide either in warfare or as a hired assassin.


[44] A Medieval French Lorraine Limestone Head of St Francis of Assisi The Tonsured Saint with an expression of serious and studied intent Traces of original polychrome First half 15th Century

s i z e: 19.5 cm high – 7¾ ins high / 30 cm high – 11¾ ins high (including stand) p rov e na nc e: Ex collection of D. Robinson Sold at auction 2013 s e e: Finch and Co catalogue no. 13, item no. 21, for a Medieval Brabant Limestone of an Abbot Francis of Assisi (1181 – 1226) was the founder of the Franciscan order. Born the son of a wealthy cloth merchant he dramatically renounced his inheritance and all he owned, even discarding his clothes, to seek Christ. In poverty he travelled as a pilgrim identifying himself with the penniless and tending those who suffered from leprosy. For three years he lived alone, wandering and mendicant until seven disciples gathered around him and together they lived a communal life at the Portuncula in Assisi near a leper colony. From these beginnings the foundation of the order developed. Francis has always had a widespread cult fostered in the Middle Ages by his friars, and he is still one of the world’s best loved saints, but his nature is often over sentimentalised. There is a great tendency, especially by film producers, to omit the real sternness of his character and to neglect his all pervasive love of God and identification with the suffering of Christ.


[45] A Rare Sri Lankan Carved Ivory Portrait of a Noble Member of the Royal Kandyan Court Standing rigidly with his hands clasped to his side wearing a ceremonial sword in a sash a comb in his hair and long baggy trousers The eyes and sash inlaid with horn An old indistinct ink inscription to the reverse Late 18th Century Kandy period

s i z e: 18.5 cm high – 7¼ ins high s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 15, item no. 30, for a Sri Lankan Bronze Buddha of the Kandy Period, and catalogue no. 18, item no. 5, and catalogue no. 20, item no. 28, for two Kandyan period ivory figures The active Sinhalese arts and crafts in the last independent mountain kingdom of Kandy included the wide use of ivory, which was a favourite medium for sculptures. The royal palace was a centre that attracted the most skilled craftsmen, an artistic elite, who formed a guild called Pattal Hatara. Members included painters, jewellers, gold and silversmiths and ivory workers. These same skilled workers were also involved in building and decorating the temples found throughout Kandy. They enjoyed the King’s protection and received royal donations. Their presence attracted other artists such as dancers and musicians to the court and the Kings of Kandy became famed for their patronage of the arts. The Island of Sri Lanka and its surrounding sea were a treasure trove of resources for the Portuguese and all the other foreigners who came and aimed to dominate the island after them. Precious stones, rock crystal, ivory and ambergris; all the raw materials that formed the basis for some of the most outstanding precious objects known in the West, were to be found. Works of art transformed from natural pearls from the Gulf of Mannar and from exotic Maldivian coconuts were to become some of the first examples of cross-cultural trade. Ceylon was a gift from a divine hand as Jorge Pinto de Azevedo told his King Joa˘o IV in 1646.


[46] A Small Silver Mounted Arts and Crafts Two Handled Carved Lignum Vitae Wood Drinking Cup the Silver Rim Engraved with Floral Garlands and the Strap Decoration with Tulips Hallmarked London 1898

s i z e: 7 cm high, 12 cm dia (max) – 2¾ ins high, 4¾ ins dia. (max) p rov e na nc e: Ex collection D. Robinson Sold at auction 2013 Lignum Vitae was a wood particularly favoured since the 17th century for the making of drinking cups since it was believed it had curative properties. This example was probably used for hot posset, which was a concoction of hot milk curdled with ale, wine or other liquor, usually flavoured with sugar and spices and drunk either as a delicacy or medicinally.


[47] A Scottish Treen Carved Walnut Quaich with a Silver Mounted Foot and Rim Inscribed W.G. Gordon from his Father 30th July 1859 the leaf shaped handles carved with seated antlered stags the bowl decorated with a Celtic woven knot a silver boss to the centre engraved with a Scottish thistle and the Gaelic motto Sguab Asé 19th Century s i z e: 4 cm high, 12 cm wide (max) – 1½ ins high, 4¾ ins wide (max) p rov e na nc e: Ex collection of D. Robinson Sold at auction 2013 Quaich are unique to Scotland, consisting of a shallow two-handled curved spirit bowl, they were used for drinking and tasting whisky. Larger vessels known as cogs were made for drinking ale and were passed around the table. Small quaich were made for individual use and were often carried in the pocket.


[48] A Western Polynesia Fijian Chief ’s Split Whale Tooth Ivory Necklace Wa¯seisei Composed of 25 Carefully Shaped Points Bound with Fine Plaited Coconut Fibre Sinnet Cord Early 19th Century

s i z e: 15.5 cm long – 6 ins long (max) / 9.5 cm long – 3¾ ins long (min) p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 20, item no. 20, for another Fijian whale tooth necklace These fantastical necklaces carved from sperm whale teeth were a refinement of the 1810 – 50 period. The introduction of metal tools together with a regular supply of sperm whale teeth from the visiting European whaling ships meant that these Wa¯seisei necklaces soon replaced the earlier type Sisi which was composed of whole pilot whale teeth. Although the idea for them originated in Fiji they were made by specialised Tongan and Samoan craftsmen Tunfunga Fono Lei. Made as chiefly regalia and important strategic gifts, they were much prized throughout the Islands for their beauty.


[49] A Curious Preserved Siamese Piglet having Two Bodies and One Head Early 20th Century

s i z e: 23 cm high, 12.5 cm dia. – 9 ins high, 5 ins dia. p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 4, item no. 49, for a pair of preserved Siamese pigs from the Walter Potter Museum of Curiosities Disturbing and scientifically instructive, natural deformities have always fascinated collectors of curiosities. Russia’s Tsar, Peter The Great amassed an 18th century collection of exquisitely preserved deformed babies contained and displayed in large glass jars, which can still be seen in his courtly Kunstkammer in St Petersburg.


[50] A South African Transvaal Ntwane / Pedi Wooden StaV The figurative handle with metal inlaid eyes a pokerwork open mouth and scarification to each cheek wearing a distinctive male initiates mud coiffure 19th Century s i z e: 90 cm long – 35½ ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex Private European collection The Ntwane originally lived in what is now Botswana. In 1903 they relocated to the Mpumalanga province of South Africa and subsequently became closely associated with the Pedi with whom they shared various traditions of costume and ritual practices. Both communities have long-standing wood carving traditions that are linked to male initiation schools. The head of this staV has a coiVure that relates to the mud hairstyles adopted by young male initiates among the Ntwane. It consists of a mixture of clay and animal fat, which is rubbed into the head and shaped to form a helmet-like structure.


[51] An Unusual South African Xhosa Ceremonial Wooden Pipe of Humorous Design The two-branched stems attached to the pipe bowl lined with metal the long shaft tapering to a carved human foot Old silky smooth patina 19th Century s i z e: 72 cm long, 12 cm wide, 28¼ ins long, 4¾ ins wide p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 8, item no. 20, for three South African Xhosa pipes The use of tobacco played a major part in many traditional ceremonies and rites throughout daily life at the Cape and the presence of the ancestors was acknowledged at all of these important events. Pipes were often given as wedding presents or as gifts to maintain harmonious family or kinship ties. Although men always carved them, pipes were used by both genders and were prized as family heirlooms passed down through generations and often only used on special or ritual occasions. Xhosa pipes with long stems were generally used by women and indicated some degree of status. Non-figurative pipes are thought to pre-date figurative ones, with those made in the Eastern Cape often having a humorous twist in their design. The pipes artistic aesthetic expressed in its craftsmanship helped to reinforce the belief that tobacco was directly associated with generous and powerful ancestral spirits, as well as living individuals of high status.


[52] A Northern British Limestone Celtic Votive Head of a Man 2nd – 3rd Century ad

s i z e: 26.5 cm high, 21 cm wide, 21.5 cm deep – 10½ ins high, 8¼ ins wide, 8½ ins deep / 32 cm high – 12½ ins high (including stand) p rov e na nc e: Found in a garden in Dumbarton Ex Scottish Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 11, item no. 50, for another similar Celtic limestone head c f: Pagan Celtic Britain, by Dr Anne Ross; illus 33b, shows a head with a similar hairstyle This austere votive head may well represent a local deity and was probably used as part of the Celtic cult of the head where carved stone heads functioned as surrogates for actual decapitated human heads taken in battle. The Celts regarded the head as the seat of the soul and capable of independent being. Its powers protected against evil and were a source of supernatural wisdom. The Celtic veneration of the head laid the foundation for the Christian belief in the head as the locus of the soul, explaining the later reverence for the heads of Saints and their preservation as sacred relics.


[53] An Interesting New Zealand Gold Mounted Black Maire Wood Royal Presentation Stock Whip Made by George Dowse and John Thompson Telfer of Dunedin An inscription engraved to the gold mount Presented to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh by the Stockmen of Dunedin, Ottago, April 1869 19th Century s i z e: 37 cm long, 3.5 cm dia. (max) – 14½ ins long, 1¼ ins dia. (max) Commemorating the first visit to New Zealand by a member of the British Royal family this stock whip was presented to Prince Alfred Duke of Edinburgh by the cattle ranchers of Dunedin. The Daily Southern Cross newspaper reported on the 10th May 1869 After the race for the tradesmen’s plate at Dunedin, a very handsome gold mounted stock whip was presented to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh by Mr Wingfield, representing the Stockmen of Dunedin. The presentation took place in the marquee, Mr Wingfield being presented to his Royal Highness on the occasion by F Wentworth Esq. His Royal Highness expressed his gratification at the reception of the present, and shook Mr Wingfield heartily by the hand. The whip was furnished by Mr G Dowse, and the gold mounting manufactured by Mr Telfer, both of Rattray Street. Prince Alfred was born at Windsor Castle in 1844 and was second in line of succession to his brother, later King Edward VII. He was destined for a career in the Royal Navy and as the Commander of HMS Galatea, and newly created the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1867 he embarked on a world tour. He became the first member of the British Royal Family to visit Australia where he narrowly survived an assassination attempt. He arrived in New Zealand in 1869 where he was greeted with great enthusiasm. In 1871 Prince Alfred married the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, daughter of Alexander II of Russia, and in 1893 succeeded his uncle Ernest II as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Prince Alfred died in 1900.


[54] A Western Polynesia Tongan Ironwood Club Akau Tau of Unusual Rhomboid Shape with Six Bands of Transverse Ridges and a Semicircular Top with Stylised Eyes Covered with Incised Geometric Designs Tapering to a Round Handle The lug to the base with old damage Old smooth dry patina Early 19th Century

s i z e: 116 cm long – 45½ ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 4, item no. 75, for another unusual Tongan club One of the most notable features of Tongan art is the surface decoration of their war clubs, which is distinguished by a sensitive refinement of abstract form. The work of the Tongan craftsmen was conducted with respect for the traditional taboos. Ritual chants for every phase of the work from the first picking up of an adze safeguarded any interference from malignant spirits. Women worked at the production and decoration of bark-cloths, but did not go near the men who made the war clubs and certainly did not approach anything unfinished. Individual skill was recognised and rewarded, but it was attributed to the working of mana rather than to any personal ability.


[55] A Sri Lankan Carved Coquilla Nut Tumbler Cup with Silver Armorial and Initials W.H.W. Late 18th – Early 19th Century

s i z e: 6.5 cm high, 7 cm dia. – 2½ ins high, 2¾ ins dia. p rov e na nc e: Ex collection D. Robinson Sold at auction 2013 Decorated with typical delicate scrolling foliage motifs, the form of this tumbler cup results from copying models of small easily transportable European examples. It is thought that the Sinhalese craftsmen working in various materials used imagery directly drawn from European medieval bestiaries, as well as later engravings, to richly carve and decorate objects destined for the Portuguese, Dutch and British markets.


[56] A Silver Mounted South American Peruvian Decorated Calabash Gourd Probably used for Maté tea 18th Century

s i z e: 9.5 cm high, 8 cm dia. – 3¾ ins high, 3 ins dia. p rov e na nc e: Ex collection of D. Robinson Sold at auction 2013 The consumption of Yerba maté tea crossed all social boundaries in South America. It was only the style of the vessel that varied. The poorest customarily drank it from simple dried gourds from which the drink took its name, mati being the Quechua word for the squash plant that produced the gourds. The wealthiest took their beverage from bowls of various materials including gourds and exotic woods partly encased in precious metals. A portion of the gourd was often left to reveal its identity and traditional use, but the mounting gave the vessel the look of a treasured Kunstkammer object.


[57] An Important and Early Native American Dakota Sioux Ceremonial Calumet of Red Catlinite with a Carved AshWood Pipe Stem Decorated with Dyed Porcupine Quillwork, Animal Skin and Fur and a Tuft of Red Dyed Horse Hair The pipe bowl with an old native repair in lead Inscribed in ink to the reverse of the stem Calumet or Pipe of Peace Circa 1820 – 40

s i z e: 101 cm long – 39¾ ins long / 11 cm high – 4½ ins high (pipe bowl) p rov e na nc e: Given to a Doctor ( b. 1850 – d. 1902) by a grateful patient who was a retired British Officer living on the south coast of England. Thence by descent cf: The Thaw Collection, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, N.Y. USA, T53A, B. for a similar example Known as peace pipes by Europeans calumets were in fact used in a variety of ways. Pipes were smoked as sacred signatures to important events such as peace or alliance making, commerce and trade, or the undertaking of war, or success in the hunt. By passing through the calumet the smoke is ritually sanctified and once rendered sacred in this way it becomes the medium by which prayers, wishes or the promises of the smoking parties are transported to the creator spirits. Calumets and the events solemnised by their use were held in the highest regard. Travelling down the Mississippi River in 1673 Father Jacques Marquette remarked on the universal respect that the ceremonial peace pipe was shown among all the native peoples he encountered even those at war with each other. He stated that upon the presentation of a pipe during fierce battle, all fighting would halt.


[58] An Impressive Whalers Silver Mounted Narwhal Tusk Walking Cane Monodon Monoceros 18th Century

s i z e: 90 cm long – 35½ ins long s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 21, item no. 25, for a 19th century example C.I.T.E.S Article 10 available In 1555 Olaus Magnus in Uppsala, Sweden wrote of the narwhal The monoceros is a sea monster which has a very large horn in its forehead with which it can pierce through and destroy ships and kill many men (Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus). Mariners hunting the sperm whale, the colossi of the sea, would encounter the narwhal and presume them to be the unicorns of the sea. The tusks would be brought back from Greenland and the Arctic and sold to merchants and collectors as valuable magical objects for cabinets of curiosities. It was the greatest Danish scientist of the 16th century, Ole Worm (1588 – 1654) who discovered the truth on being given a narwhal skull complete with its tusk in Copenhagen in 1615. His drawing of it was used as an illustration for a thesis in 1638 debating whether the tooth might possess the same magical qualities attributed to the unicorn’s horn. Belief in the existence of the unicorn persisted into the 18th century when there could be found over 100 unicorn apothecary shops in Germany. The animal and its mythical horn was found displayed on jars, bags, bottles and even invoice headings until the late 18th century as a reminder of the time when powder made of unicorn horn was held in high esteem as a cure for all ills and an important antidote to poison.


[59] A Fine Central African Zaire Mongo Saka Peoples Oval Wickerworked Shield Rattan, raffia, reeds and wood Fine condition 19th Century

s i z e: 136 cm high, 43 cm wide – 53½ ins high, 17 ins wide On no other continent in the world is there a wider spectrum of shield types than Africa. The raw materials available locally such as the parts of plants and animals, as well as the craftsmanship of individual tribes played a decisive role in the development of individual shield types. Wicker shields come from the areas with tropical rainforest. The Saka people are one of the 60 sub-tribes of the Mongo who constitute the most important Bantu tribal group. The Mongo inhabit the tropical rainforest and almost the entire Zaire basin. Among them are a large number of pygmy groups. The Mongo peoples all make and use shields constructed from two wicker layers put one on top of each other and then stabilised with a braided reed or cane rim. It is said that the Saka or Bosaka from the Tschuapa river region wove small black quadrants into their shields as on this example.


[60] A West African Nigeria Edo Benin Carved Ivory Altar Tusk Decorated with Three Interlaced Bands of Guilloche Old damage to one side of the tip 19th Century

s i z e: 94 cm long (max) 10 cm dia. – 37 ins long (max) 4 ins dia. p rov e na nc e: Ex English Private collection s e e: Yale Archive no. 0027068 for a comparable Altar tusk and Tribal Art Auktion 74, Würzburg, 7th September 2013, lot 202 for another example from the collection of Susana Montiel-Colmenares, London, UK c f: Metropolitan Museum New York The Perls Collection 1991.17.105 for a similarly decorated tusk The carved guilloche pattern on this tusk consists of three tightly interlaced bands each made up of several strands. These patterns are ubiquitous in Benin art and are said to be a hallmark of Igbesaanmwan, the ivory carvers guild although they are also found on brass objects. To the Benin court these tusks symbolised the attributes of the elephant; physical power, leadership, wisdom and longevity. The colour of the tusk was important, as its whiteness was a symbol of ritual purity that is associated with Olokun, the Edo god of the sea. Altar tusks were washed and bleached with citrus juice to remove the remains of sacrifices and to keep them as white as possible. These non-figurative tusks have been observed on altars dedicated to the Queen Mother in the Oba’s palace (Von Sydow, 1938.pl I), but this tusk was probably placed on an altar to the hand Ikegobo. Altars of the hand are owned by traditional Benin chiefs and are concerned with an individual’s ability to achieve success through their actions, skill and enterprise; through the work of their own hands. The hand is credited with the acquisition of great wealth or status and with the success of hunters, warriors, craftsmen and others who depend on manual skills and physical strength for their achievements. It is primarily worshipped by those individuals who have already achieved outstanding wealth or success. Ivory was regarded as a form of wealth and its value reinforced its association with Olokun who is the source of all extraordinary wealth.


[61] A Micronesian Caroline Islands Chuuk Coral Lime­stone Breadfruit Pounder the Top with Four Projections 19th Century

s i z e: 16.5 cm high, 11.5 cm dia. – 6½ ins high, 4½ ins dia. p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection Exhibited Océanie, Signes de Rites, Symboles D’Authorite; sponsored by I.N.G., Place Royale, Brussels, 2008, catalogue no. 194 Micronesia means tiny islands and is composed of 2300 islands subdivided into four major groups; The Marianas, The Carolines, The Marshalls and The Gilberts. The Caroline Islands are composed of the territories of Belau, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpeiet and Kasrae. Close to the equator they enjoy a tropical maritime climate with a temperature of 27°C all year round. They are islands of volcanic origin with luxuriant vegetation and the principal foodstuffs consist of breadfruit, taro root and pandanus, all of which were introduced to the Islands by man. Breadfruit was pounded into a paste and fermented in earth pits, a method of storage that was also used in Polynesia. Of beautiful proportions, these coral limestone pounders carved with three or four projections in an abstract angular form appear to be unique to Chuuk Island in the Carolines. They are mentioned by Damm and Sarfert (Inseln Um Truk, 1935) who comment on their use for breadfruit. They are evidence that artistry is pervasive in the tools crafted for everyday use.


[62] An Italian Silver and Faceted Red Agate Tazza the Stem Cast with the Bust of Young Blackamoor Late 17th – Early 18th Century

s i z e: 6 cm high, 8.5 cm wide, 6.5 cm deep – 2¼ ins high, 3¼ ins wide, 2½ ins deep Agates were considered some of the most highly valued minerals, held to be marvels of nature and so objects are found made from them in all the cabinets of curiosities of Europe. From the renaissance to the 18th century, a thread runs through the history of the princely collections of Europe linking them all and that is the fascination for the art of hard stones. Workshops were set up, and special commissions were placed with the most famous craftsmen of each period and an unflagging search for the best antique objects was pursued. Building a collection as the Roman emperors had done was considered to be intimately linked with the renaissance spirit and like them, the European sovereigns displayed their great wealth and culture in order to assert both their power and their individuality.


[63] A Papua New Guinea Western Highlands Wahgi Man’s Ritual Dance Headdress Made of the Casques of Three Great Hornbills Buceros Bicornis surrounded by fibre and raffia stalks 1st half 20th Century

s i z e: approx: 38 cm high, 62 cm wide, 32 cm deep – 15 ins high, 24½ ins wide, 12½ ins deep / 67 cm high – 26½ ins high (with stand) c f: 1925 photograph by P.B. de Rautenfield in the archives of the Culture Museum Basel (F) Vb 5822 showing a dancer from P.N.G. wearing a headdress crowned with hornbill beaks The Great Hornbill is an enormous bird with unique nesting habits living in monogamous pairs in the dense forests of Papua New Guinea. They are regarded with superstitious awe and are used in ceremonies and rituals as symbols of purity and marital fidelity. Body adornments and headdresses are as varied as the cultures of New Guinea. Men express status and prestige by their wearing of adornments. Perishable arrangements of seeds, leaves, flowers, stalks and pods were all used for special occasions and which seemed to fuse with face paint, feathers, fur and shell into human works of art. Permanent body decoration in the form of scars and tattoos were also used to set oV the displays of found objects, materials not traditionally considered decorative, but declared to be so because they were unusual or rarely found, and would make the dancer stand out from the crowd. All parts of the body are decorated and all accessories are combined with elaborate arrangements of hair and feathers to emphasise the size and physical profile of the men who wear them.


[64] A Rare German Turned Rhinoceros Horn Stemmed Drinking Cup Early 18th Century

s i z e: 10 cm high – 4 ins high s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 9, item no. 12, for a collection of three turned rhinoceros horn vessels and catalogue no. 10, item no. 128, for a turned rhinoceros horn small stemmed cup de f r a : pre sale approval obtained In the early 12th century Hildegard of Bingen wrote: If the drink is hot and poison present, it makes it bubble in the vessel that contains it. If the poison is cold it makes a smoke… The Emperor Rudolf II of Prague (1552 – 1612) owned a collection of 13 turned rhinoceros horn drinking vessels and believed them to be unique in having the power to detect the presence of poison in a drink. They became fashionable amongst the Princely courts of Europe for drinking wine as rhinoceros horn was also considered to be a powerful aphrodisiac, a belief that had been prevalent amongst the rulers of the Middle East and Asia for many centuries previously.


[65] A Medieval French Gothic Ivory Segment of a Crosier

Extensive traces of red and blue paint An old label to the inside of the hollowed out shaft Ivoire Vierge XIV Siécle Artistique AAN-DNE Minor damages Mid 14th Century s i z e: 9 cm high, 5.5 cm wide, 5.5 cm deep – 3½ ins high, 2¼ ins wide, 2¼ ins deep p rov e na nc e: Ex Private English collection Finely carved with trefoil arches supported by slim columnettes under painted gables decorated with stylised acanthus crockets, this section of an ivory crosier or pastoral staV suggests Gothic Church architecture. The blue and red paintwork is typical of 14th century work which was a period of prolific production for European ivory carving. The crosier is the staV that is carried by bishops and abbots as a personal symbol of their oYce, and they usually date from the year of their installation. Crosiers were supposedly buried with their owner upon death, however there was a reluctance to bury a fine crosier of precious materials when a bishop died so it is believed that most of those found upon the opening of coYns and tombs, such as that of Archbishop GeoVrey de Ludham (1258 – 1265) in York Minster in 1968, were copies made in lesser materials such as wood. Although of fine workmanship, a double filigree of leaves, it was made entirely of wood.


[66] A Pair of Burmese Amber Burmite Ethnic Women’s Ear Spools Perhaps Haka Chin Peoples 19th Century

s i z e: 3 cm high, 2 cm dia. – 1¼ ins high, ¾ ins dia. Amber was probably the first gemlike material ever used by man for personal adornment. In Prehistoric times Burma had a high concentration of amber bearing trees, but only small quantities were ever obtained in comparison to the amber from the Baltic. Burmese amber, known as burmite, has a fluorescent reddish colour that was popular with the Chinese court, which imported as much as its merchants could find.


[67] 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: 5.5 cm dia. – 2¼ ins dia. s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 3, item no. 42, catalogue no. 10, item, no. 3, catalogue no. 20, item no. 42, and catalogue no. 21, item no. 35, for marine ivory examples Lotteries first began to be an acceptable form of raising money for government funds under Elizabeth I in 1568 – 69 when urgent repairs to the harbours and coastal fortifications of England were needed to repel any seaborne invasion from the Spanish. Lotteries then became established as a legitimate means of increasing revenue by successive acts of Parliament. Even under the strict puritan rule of Oliver Cromwell during the Commonwealth they were allowed to continue and were a very lucrative source of government income. When gambling, teetotum balls are preferable to spinning dice, because when thrown the faceted numbered sides of a ball give an equal chance of any number turning up. Teetotums give the gambler much more of a winning chance.


[68] An Interesting Pacific Solomon Islands Nautilus Shell Inlaid Ceremonial Chief ’s StaV Carved of Reddish Ironwood with Four Anthropomorphic Idols to the Top Probably Rennell or Malaita Island Late 19th – Early 20th Century

s i z e: 57 cm long – 22½ ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection c f: Barbier Müller Museum, #4505 – H, collected prior to 1942, by Josef Müller, a club with the same anthropomorphic heads to the handle These ceremonial staVs, sometimes known as ritual sticks took many forms in the Solomon Islands, but were considered to be the badge of a chief. They were consecrated to the god Te Hainn-Atua and were, like the body of the chief, taboo. K.Birket Smith reported in 1956 in: An Ethnographical sketch of Rennell Island that during rituals a chief carried his staff on his shoulder and when invoking the gods held it in front of his body resting his chin on the top of the staff.


[69] The Trepanned Late Bronze Age Skull of an Irish Celtic Chieftain The six trephined holes showing evidence of healing Inscribed inventory number 103 Late Bronze Age – Early Iron Age 500 – 300 bc

s i z e: 16 cm high, 13.5 cm wide, 21.5 cm deep – 6¼ ins high, 5¼ ins wide, 8½ ins deep p rov e na nc e: Found in a Bronze Age stone circle in Carrigagulla, County Cork, circa 1898, a Megalthic complex of three stone circles Ex collection CH Miller, 1921, sold by his son in a public house in Glenagloch Ex European Private collection When the Celts arrived in Ireland they found the monuments of other prehistoric peoples littered through out the landscape. Imposing stone circles, forts and tombs made an impression upon them, and wherever possible they tried to use the structures weaving them into the fabric of their own culture. The practice of trepanning consists of drilling or scraping a hole into the skull and is one of the oldest known surgical procedures. A skull discovered in France at a Neolithic burial site with trephination was found to be more than 7000 years old. It was practised by the Ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, and was common in ancient South American civilisations. Using sharp pieces of flint it was practised as a tribal ritual to allow disturbing or evil spirits to escape and the resulting pieces of bone were often kept as amulets. During the Middle Ages and renaissance it was thought to cure epileptic seizures, migrane and other mental disorders. It remains a mystery in medicine, as there is little evidence to show its positive eVects except in cases of skull fracture.


[70] An English Renaissance Limestone Figure Carved in the Round of a Hooded Hunch-Backed Bearded Cleric Holding a Large Processional Cross A tomb figure or weeper Late 15th – Early 16th Century

s i z e: 13 cm high – 5¼ ins high s e e: Finch and Co catalogue no. 21, item no. 14, for a similar figure of St Anne The Burgundian tomb of Philip the Bold (1384 – 1410) is famed above all for the acute realism of the set of carved alabaster figures ranged beneath the marble eYgy of the deceased like a long procession of mourners dressed in swaying hooded cassocks and accompanying him to his final resting place. The form and decoration of this nobleman’s memorial was copied quite closely in Northern Europe and over the next century all church tomb monuments variously took on this style with weepers or pleurants as they were called in France. The carved clerics carried emblems of religious devotion whilst mourning and praying for the soul of the departed.


[71] An Austrian Hapsburg Carved Hippopotamus Tooth Powder Flask Decorated with a Stag Hunting Scene and to the Reverse with a Noble Coat of Arms and Oval Medallion the Wild Boars Head Finial with a ringed plug First Half of 19th Century

s i z e: 25 cm wide, 4.5 cm dia. (approx) – 9¾ ins wide, 1¾ ins dia. (approx) Powder flasks originated as a case in which to carry gunpowder used as the charge for muzzle loading guns. They became aesthetic objects in their own right as well as a sign of rank. Ornate powder flasks such as this probably never actually functioned as containers for gunpowder, but were worn to ornament fashionable hunting dress.


[72] A Western Polynesia Tongan Ironwood Pole Club Akau Tau Finely incised with zoned geometric decoration the butt with a star burst Old silky smooth dry patina Early 19th Century s i z e: 84 cm long – 33 ins long This club displays the characteristically refined and complex style of Tongan decoration found on earlier examples. On Tonga the quality of a warriors weapon was a symbol of his rank. However, these clubs were also highly eVective in close combat, shattering and causing irreversible damage to what the Tongans considered the most sacred part of human anatomy; the head.


[73] The Curious Bony Armoured Skin of a South African Temmincks Pangolin Contained in a Contemporary Shadow Box 19th Century

s i z e: 121 cm high, 55 cm wide (frame) – 47½ ins high, 21¾ ins wide (frame) p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 8, item no. 7, for another Temmincks Pangolin from the Walter Potter Museum of Curiosities There are seven diVerent species of Pangolin across the world and all have shiny, sharp edged, overlapping scales covering their bodies resembling the bracts of a pinecone. They are nocturnal mammals with slow and deliberate movements, but they can be astonishingly agile walking on their hind limbs and using their tails for balance when hunting ants in trees and termites in earth mounds, which they lick out with a very long powerful tongue. When threatened they roll into a ball like a hedgehog, which immediately protects them from most predators.


[74] An African Democratic Republic of Congo Uele River Region Mangbetu Carved Ivory Oliphant or Side Blown Trumpet With later English silver mount 19th Century

s i z e: 66 cm long – 26 ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex English Private collection c f: White Gold Black Hands Ivory Sculpture in the Congo; Marc L. Felix, 2014 vol. 7, pg 119, fig 94 The Uele is a northern tributary of the Congo River and forms a natural boundary between the Savannah and forest regions of the north-eastern part of the DRC. The Mangbetu associated Oliphant’s with hunting, kingship and power and every ruler in the region had a court orchestra in which the largest horns were prominently played in pairs. Old ivory horns were sculpturally simple and either unadorned, or decorated with incised delicate geometric designs. Incisions and small chiselled dots and lines applied with a heated iron rod are found on 19th century examples, such as this, as well as on knife handles, bracelets and pendants. Horns from the Uele region often also have a sculpted raised lozenge shaped lip above the mouthpiece, which may be of female sexual significance. Schweinfurth writing in the 19th century described how the sounds of side-blown trumpets could be modulated from sounds like the roar of a hungry lion, or the trumpeting of an infuriated elephant, down to tones which might be compared to the sighing of the breeze or to a lover’s whisper. (Schweinfurth 1874, vol 2, pg 49 – 50)


[75] A Rare Eastern Mediterranean Early Christian Byzantine Bronze Processional Cross The flat body with broad flaring arms inwardly cusped ends with large discoid finials, compass drawn medallions enclosing six petalled roses together with multiple concentric rings decorate the cross, the bottom edge of each lateral arm is pierced three times for Pendilia, the lower part continues downward in a tang where the cross was once mounted on a staff Palestine or Constantinople Aged smooth green patina 6th to 8th Century ad

s i z e: 59 cm high, 33 cm wide – 23¼ ins high, 13 ins wide 63 cm high – 24¾ ins high (including stand) p rov e na nc e: Ex Temple Gallery London Ex Private English collection c f: Byzantium, Treasures of Art and Culture British Museum 1994 no’s 161 and 175 for similar examples In the Byzantine period Holy feast days, such as Palm Sunday or the Elevation of the Cross, were observed and celebrated with processions in which the public took part. The procession would be organised by the Church and led by the elders. A cross such as this example, or an icon or other holy relic would be displayed at the helm for all to see by a church dignitary. Processional objects were also taken into battle where it served as a spiritual shield against the enemy. When not in use processional crosses were displayed within the church near the altar.


[76] A South Eastern Congo, Zaire Songye Protective Fetish Figure Nkishi of Geometric Form the arms placed to the side A plug of fetish material in the head cavity a strip of old hide and fur around the waist Old smooth crusted patination 19th Century – Early 20th Century

s i z e: 20 cm high – 8 ins high / 29.5 cm high, 11½ ins high (including stand) p rov e na nc e: Ex English Private collection Acquired 1950’s c f: Kilengi, African Art from the Bareiss Family Collection C.D. Roy; University of Iowa, Exhibition in 2000, No’s 111, 114 and 115 The face of this protective figure is typical of the strong angularity of Songye carving. Amongst the Songye Nkishi were associated with a magico-religious society known as bukisi which controlled initiation camps and circumcision ceremonies. A shaman would ritually add magical substances bashimba to activate the figure as a source of power that would give protection and ensure well-being. Larger figures ensured the tranquillity of the whole community and promoted village fecundity and fertility. Smaller personal or family Nkishi were used for protection against illness, sorcery, witchcraft, and war and to promote fertility. Due to their considerable powers the figures were considered dangerous and so they were manoeuvred by means of rods or sticks attached to their arms. They were sometimes made to walk as if on parade. These small half figures were not always used as personal protective devices, but were placed in gourd bowls and used by diviners to communicate with the supernatural world. These divinatory calabash were filled with a number of symbolic objects such as chicken claws, teeth, stones, seeds, etc., as well as carved wooden figures. The Songye’s ritual use of calabash can be compared with the baskets used by the Tshokwe.


[77] A German Ivory Processional or Pastoral StaV Handle Carved with a Grotesque Writhing Fiery Dragon it’s Tail Ending in a Stylised Acanthus Leaf Early 17th Century

s i z e: 4 cm high, 12 cm wide, 3.5 cm deep – 1½ ins high, 4¾ ins wide, 1¼ ins deep Today the dragon only exists in heraldry and a few folklore dragon-slaying customs where he is usually the victim of St George or of another knightly armour clad aristocrat. Once he was greatly respected as well as feared. The classic fire-breathing dragon is told of in the epic poem Beowulf. Mortally wounded by the great hero, Beowulf, although victorious, also dies from the poison he has received from the monster’s fangs. The Celts of Wales adopted the dragon as their emblem after Merlin found two dragons fighting in a cave beneath Voritgern’s fortress. Dragons were an important element in the Wizard’s life as it was the emblem of King Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon meaning Great Dragon.


[78] A Western Polynesia Fijian Chief ’s Flywhisk I Roi of Ironwood with a Finely Plaited and Braided Coconut Sinnet Fibre Mane 19th Century

s i z e: 63 cm long – 24¾ ins long s e e: Finch and Co catalogue no. 4, item no. 103, for another flywhisk c f: Yalo I Viti Fiji Museum catalogue, 1986 no. 187, (FM58.226) for a similar example from the G.Wright collection Flywhisks were objects of status for high-ranking individuals and ceremonial attendants and were used on Tonga and Samoa as well as Fiji. Their geographical attribution is diYcult as Samoan-Tongan carpenters were settled in eastern and coastal Fiji working in the service of local chiefs to produce weapons and regalia as well as canoes, but in general Samoan flywhisks have longer lengths of fibre for the mane. Fijian chiefs and priests enjoyed a semi-divine status, and before the advent of firearms, were relatively immune on the battlefield. In war they advertised their status by their dress and by holding distinctive weapons such as the shield-like broad bladed paddle club. In peace they were recognised by a bark-cloth turban, a long train to their loincloth and by holding a flywhisk. However, whatever their ultimate significance flywhisks probably originated out of necessity. Many of the small islands of the Pacific support enormous populations of flies, which were possibly worse during the 19th century. The early European settlers quickly adopted the use of the flywhisk as is evidenced by early photographs.


[79] A Rare South African Tsonga Antelope Headrest Carved of redwood with some old damage to the base Superb silky smooth patination 19th Century

s i z e: 17.5 cm high, 13 cm wide, 7 cm deep – 7 ins high, 5 ins wide, 2¾ ins deep p rov e na nc e: Ex Private English collection c f: Art and Ambiguity The Brenthurst Collection; page 70, fig 58, shows a similar example Art of Southeast Africa; 2002, catalogue no. 51, for another antelope headrest Ancestral spirits were believed to communicate with their living descendants through dreams and thus the support of dreams (Falgayrettes 1989), the headrest, manifested this interdependence in a material form. Headrests were often gifts taken by a bride to her new home when she married and this custom symbolically linked her ancestors with her husbands. The carving of wood was an exclusively male occupation and headrests provided considerable scope for the skill of a carver to elaborate on various local styles. Representational animal figures, mostly of antelope and cattle, appear very rarely in the art of South African headrests. However, because of their appeal to western aesthetic sensibilities they appear in museums and collections in numbers that outweigh any properly balanced selection.


[80] A Fine South Netherlandish Carved Ivory of the Crucified Christ His Eyes and Mouth Open His Legs Uncrossed Looking Upwards Christo Vivo Surface cracks Circa 1680 – 1700

s i z e: 33 cm high – 13 ins high p rov e na nc e: Ex European Private collection Originally meant to be viewed as a devotional object from below in the confines of a church environment this graceful baroque sculpture shows the crucified Christ resigned to His suVering. His open mouth and lowered eyelids suggesting the final moment of supreme exhaustion.


[81] An Impressive British Pagan Celtic Carved Limestone Votive Head of a Man 1st Century bc – 1st Century ad

s i z e: 23 cm high, 22.5 cm wide, 19 cm deep – 9 ins high, 8¾ ins wide, 7½ ins deep 31 cm high – 12¼ ins high (including stand) p rov e na nc e: Found in a barn in Wiltshire English Private collection On loan to the Wiltshire local history museum Devizes where it was authenticated by Dr Anne Ross in 1970’s, author of Pagan Celtic Britain Sold at auction 2013 s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 5, item no. 4, for another Celtic figure Celtic heads are usually associated with a shrine near a spring or sacred grove. Found in Britain, Ireland and Western Europe they have stylistic similarities that can be traced from obscure origins in Central Europe in the late Bronze Age around 1200bc down to its final demise in the Western Isles in the 6th century ad. The importance of the head in Celtic iconography is demonstrated by its frequency of occurrence, although always displaying a subtlety of design, they show tension and a powerful energy. The human head was a sacred symbol. It was regarded as the essence of a person or deity, which held a talismanic function and gave protection. Infused with the supernatural and evocations of the other world the Celtic head delights in paradox and ambiguity. The Celts were the direct inheritors of Bronze Age Europe with its Palaeolithic background, but their art was not primitive, only different and enigmatic. The Celts had a special, essentially abstract approach to their art, which was very different to that of Greece and Rome who regarded them as barbarians. Although they are now regarded as the most important cultural group in Western and Central Europe, less than 50 years ago early Celtic art was described as dark and uncanny – far from the lovable humanity and transparency of Greek Art (Paul Jacobsthal; Early Celtic Art London 1970).


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Finch & Co - Catalogue 22  
Finch & Co - Catalogue 22  
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