tal·is·man noun \ˈta-ləs-mən, -ləz-\
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An Egyptian Bronze Figure of Harpokrates, Saite Period, ca. 664 - 552 BCE
EB1903Regular price $3,500 USD
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.
Dimensions: Height: 13 cm (5.11 inches)
Provenance: Private Californian collection acquired in Switzerland in the 1970s and then by descent.
A Roman Intaglio of an Equestrian Warrior, ca 1st century CE
RJ1303Regular price $12,000 USD
This beautiful intaglio is carved in a piece of bright blue and green striped mosaic glass, formed by laminating individual pieces in separate colors under great heat which causes them to fuse together. On its surface, a horse and mounted warrior have been carved in great detail; the bearded warrior is fully armed - wearing a large crested helmet, breast plate, a great shield on his back, he holds the reigns of his horse in his left hand. This superb intaglio was set as a ring in 1989 and is itself a striking example of wearable art. Cast in rich 22K gold, the oval bezel joins a seperately made hoop inlaid with braided wire filigree of platinum and gold, of a style typical of Roman rings during the late Byzantine period. The interior of the shank is inscribed: c1989 Ariadne 22KT, Tim Koheki 1-29.
Mosaic glass objects were manufactured using a laborious and time-consuming technique. Multicolored canes of mosaic glass were created, then stretched to shrink the patterns and either cut across into small, circular pieces or lengthwise into strips. These were placed together to form a flat circle, heated until they fused, and the resulting disk was then sagged over or into a mold to give the object its shape. Almost all cast objects required polishing on their edges and interiors to smooth the imperfections caused by the manufacturing process; the exteriors usually did not require further polishing because the heat of the annealing furnace would create a shiny, "fire polished" surface.
For related examples of such intaglios see: Marshall, FH ; Catalogue of the Finger Rings Greek, Etruscan & Roman in the Department of Antiquities, British Museum (London, 1907) pl.12, no.396 and Spier, Jeffrey "Ancient Gems and Finger Rings, Catalogue of the Collections, The J. Paul Getty Museum" (California, 1992) p. 145-152.
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall. A very fine and rare example.
Dimensions: US ring size 5 1/2
Provenance: Acquired Ariadne Gallery, New York after 1989, thereafter in a private FL collection.
All photos copyright Kornbluth Photography, Maryland
An Egyptian Bronze Swivel Ring with Scarab Seal, 20-21st Dynasty, ca. 1190 - 945 BCE
EJ1629Regular price $1,950 USD
Condition: Intact besides some chips to scarab, bronze corroded.
Dimensions: 1 1/16 inches (2.7 cm), scarab length: 7/8 inch (2.2 cm)
Provenance: From a collection of Levantine scarabs bought in Israel over the years and later acquired from the London trade in 1994, thereafter private collection of Geoffrey Metz, Egyptologist collection number: M428.
An Egyptian Blue Faience Scarab, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, ca. 1550 - 1295 BCE
EA1909Regular price $500 USD
of glassy deep blue faience, the flat base uninscribed, a single suture and pronotum lines, the legs to the side naturalistically rendered. Pierced longitudinally for suspension.
Dimensions: Length: 1.4 cm (0.55 inches)
Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Private English collection, acquired between 1970 – 2012.
An Egyptian Faience Amulet of Shu, Late Period, Dynasty 26, ca. 664 - 525 BCE
EA005-PBRegular price $1,950 USD
Shu, the son of the creator and sun god in the Heliopolitan creation myth, represents the principle of air. Together with his consort, Tefnut- the principle of moisture, as well as Geb (earth) and Nut (sky), he was one of the first deities. Shu was responsible for separating Geb and Nut and securing the space of the universe; therefore he also represented the life principle. Amulets of Shu became popular in the Late Period. This green glazed faience amulet represents Shu in his standardized form. He is shown kneeling on his right knee with his left knee drawn up. Both arms are raised (to lift up the sky), and he wears a long wig and a pleated shendyt. The integrated pillar at the back is pierced for suspension or attachment.
Dimensions: Height: 4.3 cm (1.69 inches)
Condition: Intact and on excellent condition overall.
Provenance: ex Bonhams London, April 25, 1998, private NY collection until 2015, thereafter private Virginia collection.
An Egyptian Faience Amulet of Bes, Third Intermediate Period - Late Period, ca. 1069 - 332 BCE
EA1815Regular price $1,200 USD
Carved in deep blue faience, the protector god portrayed as a nude dwarf on an integrated base. His large feather crown highlighted with black markings surmounting grotesque facial features, with protruding tongue and the ears and mane of a lion. Shown standing on bandy legs with his hands on either side of his protruding belly, his tail between his legs, and a suspension loop behind.
Background: This dwarf-like, protective deity was very popular in ancient Egypt. Known as early as the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2000 BC), Bes was venerated as a protector of the home, family, and childbirth, and for that reason figures prominently in domestic magic and amulets. His close connection to all aspects of fertility and sexuality is demonstrated by the presence of his image in the "Birth-houses", shrines associated with temples of the Late and Greco-Roman periods. He also had a special relation to the goddess Hathor and performed in her retinue as a musician and dancer.
Dimensions: Height: 8.5 cm (3.3 inches)
Condition: With minor losses to the surface, overall intact and in good condition overall.
Provenance: Bonhams, Antiquities, October 2007, lot 400 (property of Mrs A Davies, mostly acquired from Astarte Gallery in the 1970s and 1980s); acquired from Helios Antiquities, 2007.
A Roman Glass Eye Bead, Roman Imperial Period ca. 1st century CE
RJ1825Regular price $850 USD
of red glass, the ridging filled with gold inlay.
Dimensions: Diameter: 17mm (0.67 inches)
Condition: Some losses to the exterior, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Alex Malloy collection acquired in the 1980s.
A Mittonian Frit Cylinder Seal, Northern Mesopotamia, circa 1400-1100 BCE
MA1804Regular price $1,950 USD
carved with dual caprids and repeated chevron motifs (stylized trees).
Condition: The seal is intact and in very good condition overall with excellent definition. Presented on museum quality custom mount.
Dimensions: Height: 11.5mm
Published: Kaplony, P "Die Rollsiegel des Alten Reichs" (1981) p. 144 #3.
Provenance: Private Swiss collection, acquired from Sothebys 1975-6, published in 1981.
An Egyptian Red Jasper Amulet of Pataikos, 18th Dynasty ca. 1550-1295 BCE
EA1728Regular price $1,200 USD
carved from red jasper, considered by the Egyptians to be the par excellence of red stones, the protector god is shown standing nude, hands on hips and wearing a cap headdress and drilled for suspension at the neck.
The bandy-legged dwarf Pataikos was a phylactic (protective) deity, worshipped in ancient Egypt from the time of the Old Kingdom (ca. 2686-2160 BCE). Amulets of the god are well-attested from the time of the New Kingdom (ca. 1550-1069 BCE). Phylactic amulets depicting protective deities like Pataikos, Horus-the-Child, and Bes were worn to ward off evils that could cause illness, injury, or misfortune.
It has been suggested Pataikos is a manifestation or son of Ptah, the god of craftsmen. Writings by the Greek historian Herodotus state that Ptah was depicted in the form of a dwarf, and the name “Pataikos” that he coined literally means “little Ptah.” Dwarves often worked in workshops as craftsmen, as attested in tomb scenes from Egypt.
Andrews, Carol, 1994. Amulets of Ancient Egypt. Texas: University of Texas Press. 39.
Györy, Hedvig, 2002. “Changes in Styles of Ordinary Pataikos Amulets.” In Egyptian Museum Collections Around the World, edited by Zahi Hawass, Mamdouh Mohamed Eldamaty, and May Trays. Cairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities. 491-502.
Minas-Nerpel, Martina, 2013. “Ptah-Pataikos, Harpokrates, and Khepri.” In Decorum and Experience: Essays in ancient culture for John Baines, edited by Elizabeth Frood and Angela McDonald. Oxford: Griffith Institute. 147-50.
Ritner, Robert K., 1989. “Horus on the Crocodiles: a Juncture of Religion and Magic in Late Dynastic Egypt.” In Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Egypt, edited by William Kelly Simpson. New Haven: Yale University Press. 103-16.
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall with no chips, cracks or breaks. Presented in our Sands of Time custom display box from which it can be easily removed.
Dimensions: Height: 1.9 cm (0.74 inch)
Exhibited: Metropolitan Museum NY 1920-40, Boston Fine Art 1945-60, Museum of Man CA 1968 #M459.30.
Provenance: Acquired in Egypt by Goddard Du Bois (b. 1869 – d. 1925) and Josephine Cook Du Bois (b. 1864 – d. 1961), New York between 1900 and 1907 and then by descent.
An important Phoenician Inscribed Limestone Plaque, ca. 1200 - 300 BCE
MS1801Regular price $4,000 USD
This rare and extraordinary small plaque, carved from pale pink limestone is of thick rectangular form. On the front, lightly carved in raised relief is the standing figure of a Phoenician male deity, probably the god Baal, brandishing a thunderbolt in his right hand. The reverse is incised with three lines of Phoenician script.
Background: Descendants of the original Canaanites, the Phoenicians worshipped the same god Baal who was considered one of the most important gods in the pantheon. Known as Baal Shamen, Lord of the Heavens, he was the archetypal god of both fertility and the thunderstorm, as well as a mighty warrior, sometimes a sun god and the protector of crops and livestock.
Dimensions: Height: 6.8 cm (2.67 inches), Width: 3.2 cm (1.26 inches), Depth: 2.2 cm (0.86 inches)
Condition: A few minor chips to the edges and small loss to the bottom right area of the figure, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Alex Malloy collection, acquired in the 1970s.
A Roman two-toned Phallic Glass Amulet, ca 1st century BCE-CE
RJ1823Regular price $750 USD
a conical amulet of a phallus, of infused blue and yellow glass with a delightful eye inlay embellishment to the three main areas, pierced lengthwise for attachment.
Considered the ultimate source of protection and good fortune, phallic emblems are found on a wide range of Roman objects, from amulets to frescoes to mosaics to lamps. As the ancient author Pliny attests, even babies and soldiers wore such charms to inspire divine protection.
Condition: Tip of phallus worn otherwise intact and in fine condition overall, custom mounted.
Dimensions: Height: 1.9 cm (.74 inch), Mounted Height: 2.5 cm (.98 inch)
Provenance: Alex Malloy collection acquired in the 1980s.
A superb Gold and Garnet Bead Necklace, Achaemenid Period, Persia, ca 550 - 300 BC
MJ1803Regular price $19,500 USD
Composed of spheroid and lentoid garnet beads, and a small early cylinder seal flanked with gold, all interspersed with twenty-six hollow gold beads mainly barrel-shaped; the central garnet flanked with two square gold beads inlaid with garnets, and the necklace completed with a 19th-century gold and garnet closure to match the beads.
cf: Dubin, L.S. "The History of Beads: from 10,000BC to Present"
Condition: Recently restrung, the necklace is intact and in excellent condition overall. A very fine example.
Dimensions: Necklace length: 18 inches (45.72 cm)
Provenance: Acquired in Jerusalem in the 1960s, thereafter in a private NY family collection thence by descent.
A rare Egyptian Amulet for the goddess Bat, Middle Kingdom, ca. 2025 - 1760 BCE
EA1545Regular price $750 USD
a fine amulet of glazed steatite, Bat was a cow goddess in Egyptian mythology depicted as a human face with cow ears and horns. By the time of the Middle Kingdom, her identity and attributes were subsumed within the goddess Hathor.
Dimensions: Length: 3/4 inch (1.9 cm)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.
Provenance: Private NY Collection, acquired from the London trade in the 1990's.
An Egyptian Glazed Steatite Plaque, New Kingdom, ca. 1550 - 1069 BCE
EA1727Regular price $1,500 USD
rectangular "good luck" plaque pierced for attachment and skillfully inscribed on two sides, showing Ptah with a was scepter and djed pillar on one side and a falcon-headed deity with two uraeus snakes on the other.
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall
Dimensions: Length: 5/8 inch (1.5 cm)
Provenance: Goddard Du Bois (b. 1869 – d. 1925) and Josephine Cook Du Bois (b. 1864 – d. 1961), New York, acquired in Egypt between 1900 and 1907 during one of their frequent excursions. The Du Bois's large jewelry collection was loaned & exhibited at Metropolitan Museum New York in 1920 to open the museum's Egyptian Jewel Gallery, and thereafter loaned to the Museum of Man in San Diego, May 28, 1968- November 1, 1968.
An Egyptian Faience Plaque, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664 - 525 BCE
EF1702Regular price $1,200 USD
The rectangular form of green glazed faience in two registers, the upper depicting an Apis bull, the lower, a hippopotamus, both in raised relief.
Dimensions: Height: 4 cm (1.57 inches)
Condition: complete, a break to the lower right corner professionally rejoined.
Provenance: Private European collection, acquired in the 1960's and then by descent.
An exhibited Roman Gold and inscribed Eye Agate Finger Ring, ca. 3rd century CE
RJ1717Regular price $15,000 USD
This fine signet ring features a solid hoop of high carat gold, with angled bevelled shoulders and a round, high bezel that is off-set by a flat groove. The bezel is set with an outstanding oval eye agate in the form of a cone. This unusual shape displays three strata of color layers within the gem – blue/grey at the bottom, white in the middle, and the frequently used red at the top. On the tiny top surface is skillfully engraved two lines with a pithy inscription that reads: COAV/MIOV (fittingly mine?) in reverse.
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: hairline crack to the agate that does not detract, otherwise both ring and agate are intact and in excellent condition overall.
Dimensions: US ring size 3 1/2
Exhibited: Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio (1961) no. 117
Provenance: Melvin Gutman Jewelry Collection, sold at Parke-Bernet Galleries, NYC, December 5th, 1969, lot 30, accompanied by copy of relevant auction page, thereafter private collection of pioneering graphic designer, artist and archivist, Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927–2016), acquired at the auction. Cohen is recognized for her body of design work integrating European avant-garde and modernist influences into a distinctly American, mid-century manner of communication. She is a living link between design’s modernist past and its continually changing present.
An Egyptian Gold Amulet of Zeus Serapis, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st Century CE
EA1709Regular price $2,500 USD
Serapis was essentially a construct of the Ptolemaic Greek rulers of Egypt, a conflation of the local gods Osiris and Apis. Although gradually subsumed into the all-pervading cult of Isis, Serapis was worshipped throughout the Roman world in the guise of Zeus, ruler of the heavens, or that of Hades, god of the Underworld. This small figure wears the Egyptian modius (grain measure) headdress and carries a cornucopia (horn of plenty) in his right hand to symbolize a plentiful food supply.
Dimensions: Length: 11/16 inch (1.75 cm)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.
Provenance: Private Swiss collection, acquired prior to 1972.
A Roman Gold Finial, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 2nd century CE
RJ1719Regular price $500 USD
An arch-shaped gold foil over a resin core, with female headed terminals to each side.
Dimensions: Length: 2 inches (5 cm)
Condition: Partially crushed with overall imperfections, good condition overall.
Provenance: Private NYC collection, acquired in the 1970's