A Costa Rican Jade Pendant Mask, ca. 300 - 500 CE, restrung on ruby necklace
PJ2157Regular price $1,950 USD
Jade was especially appreciated by Mesoamerican and Lower Central American people because of its green color. This stone was associated with water, and vegetation, especially young, maturing corn. For this reason, it was also related to life and death. Olmec, Maya, Aztec, and Costa Rican elites particularly appreciated jade carvings and artifacts and commissioned elegant pieces from skillful artisans. Jade was traded and exchanged among elite members as a luxury item all over the pre-Hispanic American world and is often found in elite burial contexts, as personal adornments. It was replaced by gold very late in time in Mesoamerica, and around 500 AD in Costa Rica and Lower Central America.
Condition: Incomplete, with loss to the top right and chin area, that surprisingly does not detract, otherwise intact and well carved. A truly attractive and appealing necklace.
Dimensions: Height: 1 1/2 Inches (3.5 cm)
Provenance: Pendant: Mirtha Virginia de Perea (1929 - 2019) private collection of Costa Rican art. Mrs. de Perea spent her entire 48-year career with the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, DC, achieving the rank of Cultural Minister-Counselor and Consul after having started as a secretary. She was a devoted patron of the arts, promoting numerous local artists and sponsoring many cultural events throughout her career. She also amassed an impressive collection of Latin American art. After retiring in 1999, she became a US citizen and continued her support of the arts through her membership in the Women’s Committee of the Washington National Opera and other local groups.
Byzantine Gold, Garnet, Emerald, and Pearl Earrings, ca. 1100 - 1300 CE
RJ2119Regular price $15,000 USD
Jewelry and other luxury items worn and used by members of Byzantine society encoded complex messages about the wearer’s social status, wealth, piety, and political and religious connections. Gold, silver, pearls, and precious gemstones were not only considered beautiful but also signaled a wearer’s understanding of esoteric decorative motifs, as well as access to valuable materials and the elite artists that crafted them. It was believed such jewelry provided contact with the numinous powers of the holy world of the saints, while simultaneously serving as public expressions of faithful piety as well as protecting their wearers against spiritual and physical evils.Condition: Set with modern 18K gold posts for wearing, these earrings are intact and in very good condition overall. Just fabulous!
Dimensions: Length: 3 inches (7.5 cm)
Provenance: ex. professional ancient art and jewelry expert, previously with a London gallery; initially from a private British collection formed in the 1980s.
An Egyptian ANRA Scaraboid, Hyksos Period, ca. 1759 - 1539 BCE
EA2031Regular price $650 USD
Condition: Wear to the upper surface of the scaraboid, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall with very nicely carved glyphs.
Dimensions: Length: 1.9 cm (3/4 inch)
Provenance: John N. Winnie, Jr. collection, Georgia, acquired in the 1980s-90s, thereafter private CT collection, thereafter private NYC collection.
An Egyptian Heart Amulet Pendant, Late Period, ca. 664 - 332 BCE
EJ2117Regular price $950 USD
cf: Andrews, Carol "Amulets of Ancient Egypt," 1994. p. 72-73
Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall.
Dimensions: Height: 1/2 inch (1.3 cm)
Provenance: Private collection of Egyptologist Geoffrey Metz, Sweden acquired in the 1990s. Metz catalog number M1353.
A Near Eastern Carnelian Lion Amulet, Proto-Elamite period, ca. 3100 - 2700 BCE
MA2004Regular price $7,500 USD
This charming image takes full advantage of the color variations from fine two-toned carnelian. The beast is rendered in relief, its turned head with round cheeks flanking a wedge-shaped nose, is sculpted fully in the round. The white head contrasts beautifully with the recumbent orange body. Such relief sculpture is unusual for Central Asia: the only other published examples are a fragment of a steatite plaque from Margiana with a low-relief image of a recumbent bull and a few small fragments of floral and figural decoration for a "mosaic" found at Dashli Tepe.
For a related example see: Pittman, Holly. (1984). Art of the Bronze Age: southeastern Iran, western Central Asia, and the Indus Valley. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 51 #23
Dimensions: Length: 3 cm (1.18 inches), Width: 2.6 cm (1.02 inches)
Condition: Intact and in very good condition. A rare and truly charming example.
Provenance: Alex Malloy collection, acquired in the 1980s.
An Egyptian Faience Cat Amulet, Late Period, ca. 664 - 332 BCE
EA2107Regular price $395 USD
this miniature amulet of deep green faience is a necklace element that originally would have been part of a broad collar necklace. It shows an upright seated cat with alert ears on a small base with a suspension loop at the back of the head.
This amulet is a depiction of Bastet, an Egyptian goddess, daughter of the sun-god Re. In ancient Egypt she was initially depicted in the form of a lioness, but was eventually modified into a cat. In this form she was worshipped as a goddess of fecundity. Faience cat amulets first appear in the late Old Kingdom, and were intended to endow the wearer with fertility.
Reference: Carol Andrews, Amulets of Ancient Egypt. British Museum Press, Bath, 1994. Page 32 – 33
Condition: Intact and excellent condition overall.
Dimensions: Length: 1.5 cm (0.59 inches)
Provenance: Ex Dr Joseph Touma, Virginia, acquired from Christie's in 1993.
A Greek Marble Helmeted head of Athena, Classical Period, Late 4th century BCE
GS2101Regular price $15,000 USD
"On her head [Athena] set her helmet of gold, with four plumes, and coming to a peak both in front and behind - decked with the emblems of a hundred cities; then she stepped into her flaming chariot and grasped the spear, so stout and sturdy and strong, with which she quells the ranks of heroes who have displeased her." Homer, Iliad II.5.663
Carved from fine white marble, this impressive marble head was originally from a figure of the highly revered goddess Athena. Goddess of wisdom, warfare, and the protector of Athens, Athena was the favorite child of Zeus. She emerged from his head fully formed and armor-clad, so magnificent that even the sun god Helios stopped the course of his chariot through the sky in awe. An excellent example of the Greek artistic canon from the end of the Classical period and the beginning of Hellenism, the goddess is portrayed wearing a Corinthian helmet pushed to the back of her head in the customary fashion. Originally the sculpture was painted, so the helmet eye openings were probably once added in paint. She has a perfectly oval face that portrays her serene and majestic countenance with full lips, straight nose, and soft almond-shaped eyes, her long hair flowing in wavy curls over the temples, was once gathered in a plait at the back.
Cf. B. S. Ridgway, Greek Sculpture in the Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, 1994, pp. 53-56, no. 15, "The original of this type was probably made in the late fifth or early fourth century B.C. and belongs to a class of helmeted statues of the goddess that are derivative of the Pheidian Athena Parthenos, dedicated within the Parthenon in 438 B.C.".
Also, cf. M. B. Comstock and C. C. Vermeule, Sculpture in Stone; The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1976, p. 97, no. 150; and H. Hoffmann, Ten Centuries That Shaped The West, Houston, 1970, pp. 44-45, no. 14 for similar.
Condition: Overall excellent ancient surface patina. Ancient loss to the top helmet crest, tip of nose and tip of chin, small area at the back rejoined but otherwise intact. Mounted on a conservation block base. A truly lovely example.
Dimensions: Height: 3 3/4 inches (9.5 cm)
Published: K. Hamma, ed., The Dechter Collection of Greek Vases, San Bernardino, 1989, p. 83, no. 2, (not illustrated). Exhibited: San Bernardino, California State University; and Art Galleries, California State University, Northridge, The Dechter Collection of Greek Vases, 5 May-2 June 1989 and 26 February-30 March 1990.
Provenance: The Hanita and Aaron Dechter Collection, Los Angeles, acquired before 1989.
An Islamic Gold and Turquoise Pendant, ca. 14th - 15th century CE
MJ2118Regular price $1,200 USD
Superb gold pendant, the center inlaid with a cabochon turquoise surrounded by fine gold filigree decoration on both front and back.
Dimensions: Pendant height: 1/2" (1 cm). Set on an adjustable 18K gold chain.
Condition: The pendant is intact and in excellent condition overall. It is strung as a necklace on a modern 18K gold chain that can be adjusted up to 18 inches.
Provenance: Sumer Galleries, Henry Anavian collection, New York, acquired 1970s-1980s, and then by descent to family.
A Roman Intaglio Seal, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 2nd - 3rd century CE
RA1803Regular price $400 USD
Carnelian seal with bust of a god in left profile, possibly Pan
Condition: Intact and in very condition overall.
Dimensions: Length: 0.9 cm (0.35 inches)
Provenance: Ex. R.T. private collection, Munich, acquired 1958
A Nayarit Hardstone Horned Toad Pendant, ca. 300 BCE - 200 CE
PA2102Regular price $2,000 USD
superbly detailed amulet of a long-horned toad, carved from lustrous white limestone with incised detail to face and arms, and raised scales on the back. Frogs and toads were associated with rain and the sustenance that it brought about. The ancients of Mesoamerica interpreted their croaking as a sign of coming rainstorms. As "rainmakers" or rain heralds, these animals were symbols of fertility and rich abundance. Moreover, the life cycle of a toad from egg to fish to a four-legged animal was a dramatic metamorphosis that the ancients interpreted as a reenactment of the transformations undergone by shamans under the influence of hallucinogenic substances during ritualistic ceremonies. Pierced for suspension on the tail, and under the throat, Dr Heflin catalog details in black pigment on the underside.
Condition: Some surface wear that does not detract, overall intact with excellent patina.
Dimensions: Length: 6 cm (2.36 inches)
Provenance: Ex. Dr Allen Heflin Collection, assembled in the 1950's - 1960's, thereafter Lorenzo Gordon Fritz Collection. Dr. Heflin's collection number '12787/421/Nayarit' written in black ink on the base.
Dr. Heflin worked in Mexico as an archaeologist from 1946 - 1970.
An Anatolian Black Steatite Stamp Seal, Late Chalcolithic Period, ca. 4000 - 3000 BCE
MA2108Regular price $1,500 USD
Stamp seals were used in antiquity as marks of ownership and badges of status. This very finely carved seal shows a deeply incised horned quadruped facing to the right, surrounded by incised lines in the field. The form is circular with a bowled profile and has been pierced for attachment.
During the Neolithic period (ca. 7000 B.C.), stamp seals are known from northern Iraq, northern Syria, and southeastern Anatolia. These pendants were carved with designs that probably combined a glyptic and an amuletic role and are of simple, mostly geometric forms. This seal demonstrates the development in the Ubaid period of seals depicting animals.
For related examples: Denham, Simon, Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic Glyphs and Stamp Seals In the British Museum. London: The British Museum Press, 2018. #141 - 148.
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.
Dimensions: Width: 1.18 inches (2.9 cm)
Provenance: Private NY collection, acquired from the USA trade in 2009
A Large Roman Glass Crumb Bead, Late Roman Imperial Period, ca. 3rd - 5th century CE
RJ2112Regular price $550 USD
Black glass barrel-shaped bead, with small - medium sized crumbs in red, yellow, white, and blue.
For a related example see: Spaer, M., Barag, D., Ornan, T., & Neuhaus, T. (2001). Ancient glass in the Israel Museum: Beads and other small objects. Jerusalem: Israel Museum, p. 129 #226-228
Condition: Losses to the surface, particularly to one side, otherwise intact and in good condition overall.
Dimensions: Width: 3/4 inch (2 cm)
Provenance: Private collection of an English lady, by descent.
A Medieval Gold Ring with an Emerald Stone, Early Medieval Period, ca. 1400 CE
UJ2104Regular price $6,500 USD
During medieval times, stones set into rings often had special significance or were worn for their properties of protection. Hildegard Von Bingen (1098 – 17 September 1179) wrote in the 12th century on the powers and benefits of gemstones with emerald being the embodiment of her concept of viriditas, a word she coined by combining two Latin words green and truth. She believed viriditas embodied God’s power to renew and refresh through nature—the greening of the human spirit. Emeralds were recommended healing for "could repair damaged cellular structures and support wound healing on the molecular level such as with chronic leg ulcers or other slow healing wounds" heart and stomach ailments, epilepsy, headaches, and congestion.
Dimensions: US ring size 8 1/2 (UK=Q 3/4, DE=18 1/2, CH=17 3/4
Provenance: Private British collection formed in the 1990s.
A Roman Eye Agate Intaglio Ring, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 3rd century CE
RJ2123Regular price $6,500 USD
This fine signet ring features a solid hoop of high carat gold, with a D-shaped hoop, broad sloping shoulders and a round, high bezel. The bezel is set with an outstanding cone-shaped eye agate displaying three strata layers of color within the gem – semi transparent red at the bottom, white in the middle, and the frequently used red at the top and the tiny top surface is skillfully engraved. Eye agates were highly prized in Roman society for it was believed they held magical properties. It was thought eye agates would assist in finding hidden treasures, increase happiness, build confidence and bring victory.
For a related example see: Marshall, FH; Catalogue of the Finger Rings Greek, Etruscan & Roman in the Department of Antiquities, British Museum (London, 1907) pl.12, no. 525.
Background: The Signet, or Seal Ring, was significant in Roman society, as it was used in validating serious legal documents by its owner. Intaglios, and engraved or intaglio-cut gems could serve as seals, even while appearing decorative. Cicero mentions them, and Pliny cites that the fashion of wearing signet rings eventually shifted to the little finger although statues show that Roman men often wore rings on the fourth finger of their left hand, which, in time, came to be known as the 'goldfinger'. A signet ring was highly representative of the individual who wore it. It was, in effect, their signature.
During the first two centuries AD, rings operate within a complex nexus of ideas of power, image, status and gender. According to Pliny, the first-ever ring (anulus) and jewel (gemma) were forged from a fragment of the Caucasus into an iron bezel and worn by Prometheus (37.2), the Titan god of forethought and creator or mankind. Pliny explains the chronology of Roman ring-wearing began in the Republic, with the earliest made of iron, the gold ring being specially reserved for certain classes of persons or for certain special occasions. Thus envoys sent on missions of state wore gold rings when engaged on that particular service, but resumed their iron rings upon their return home. From the time of Augustus, gold rings were used to signify public status and recognition, especially for the equites, who became a third-order between the Senate and the Plebs (33.29).
Bibliography: Hawley, R. (2007). Lords of the Rings: ring-wearing, status and identity in the page of Pliny the Elder. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies. Supplement, (100), 103-111.
A. N. Sherwin-White (ed.), The Letters of Pliny (Oxford 1966)
Condition: Some very minor around the bezel shoulder that does not detract, otherwise intact and in excellent condition overall.
Dimensions: US ring size 6 3/4 (UK=N 1/2, DE=17, CH=14)
Provenance: Private British collection assembled prior to 2000, thereafter with the London trade.
A Roman Gold Ring with Garnet Intaglio, Roman Imperial Period
RJ2122Regular price $5,000 USD
The dark garnet intaglio engraved with a figure, most probably Mercury, holding a caduceus and wearing a tapered helmet, set in a heavy ring of 22K+ gold, the wide round bezel and shank creating a very attractive backdrop for the curved intaglio.
Spier, Jeffrey 'Ancient Gems and Finger Rings', J. Paul Getty Museum, 200 pages (1993), p. 126, no. 335
Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall.
Dimensions: US ring size 3
Provenance: Madame Frances Artuner Collection, Belgium, formed during the 1960s thence by descent to her daughter in the US
An Egyptian Limestone Dummy Canopic Jar of Hapi, ca. 712–664 BCE
ES2105Regular price $25,000 USD
A set of four canopic jars was an important element of the burial in most periods of Ancient Egyptian history. Canopic jars were containers in which the separately mummified organs would be placed. The best known versions of these jars have lids in the shape of the heads of protective deities called the four Sons of Horus. Hapi, the baboon, protected the lungs and was associated with the goddess Nephthys. Duamutef, the jackal, protected the stomach and was associated with Neith. Imsety, with a human face, guarded the Liver and was associated with Isis, and Qubehsenuef, represented as a falcon, presided over the intestines and was associated with Selkis.
This finely carved dummy jar has no interior cavity and the "lid" is not removable. It dates to a period during which the internal organs were mummified and then placed back into the mummy, but canopic jars continued to be included as part of the burial equipment in order to ensure the protection of the four Sons of Horus.
Dimensions: Height: 10 1/4 inches (26 cm)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.
Provenance: Private Florida collection, acquired from Albert Tawdros, Luxor, Egypt in 1977. Original Tawdros card accompanies this object.