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Masterworks

MASTERWORKS

Superb art for the discriminating collector . . .

 
  • Pre-Columbian, Central Highlands Mexico, Tlatilco, Middle Formative Period, ca. 1200 to 600 BCE. Rare for its large scale and sophisticated sculptural style, a masterful Tlatilco female figure, seated with outstretched arms and legs, perky breasts, and an openwork belly button. Her characteristically elongated head presents an expressive visage comprised of long, slanted eyes with delineated pupils, a protruding, aquiline nose with delineated nostrils, and an open mouth suggesting that she may be singing, chanting, or speaking. Although nude, she is decorated with partially pierced ears which may have contained inlays or ornaments, the suggestions of armbands and legbands, and a stylized coiffure parted to the side. The figure is covered in red slip and highly burnished. The sculptor successfully conveyed a sense of emotion via the figure's dramatic posture and asymmetrically placed facial features. Truly among the finest examples of Tlatilco sculpture we have ever seen. Size: 8.625" W x 12.875" H (21.9 cm x 32.7 cm)

    Condition: Skillfully restored, breaks are nearly invisible. Old losses to tips of hands and feet. Nice manganese deposits.

    Provenance: private Santa Fe, New Mexico USA collection, acquired at Whelan Fine Art; ex-Bismarck College Foundation Collection, Bismarck, North Dakota USA

    All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

    A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all purchases

    We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
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    Large & Rare Tlatilco Redware Pottery Female

  • Pre-Columbian, Mexico and Guatemala, Peten Basin, Maya Late Classic Period, ca. 550 to 950 CE. An incredible jar with a round, fitted lid, standing on four rattle legs. The body of the vessel is shaped like a round building, with a slanting, overhanging shoulder and a slightly flared base. The spout of the vessel rises from the center of the shoulders, perfectly cylindrical, with an unpronounced rim. The fitted lid flares outward at the top, with a mushroom-like form. The top of the lid is painted, while the rest of it is buff. The body of the vessel, including the interior of the spout and the full exterior, is painted with a variety of detailed iconography. Size: 5.4" W x 7" H (13.7 cm x 17.8 cm)

    Orange-red bands border the top of the spout, the bottom of the neck, the rim of the shoulder, the base, and the outward-facing side of each foot. The shoulder has three repeated patterns in a thick orange-red line, symmetrical motifs with crosses at their centers and four spirals, one extending into each quadrant around each cross. The feet are perforated twice in a regular pattern to allow the rattles to sound. The lid of the vessel is painted with a design that looks like an opening eye, with a round, dark red iris surrounded by swirling bands of red, cream, grey, orange, and black, each demarcated by a thin black line.
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    Incredible Mayan Peten Lidded Pottery Vessel

  • Rome, ca. 1st to 4th century CE. A breathtaking modeled head of a deity, perhaps Apollo, in wondrous Classical style, subtly turned on his elegant neck, with almost feminine features and hairstyle. The youthful god of music, the sun, light, poetry, prophesy, healing and more is depicted in an idealized manner with "pretty boy" features on that elegant oval face as it tapers to a soft, square chin, as a billowing wavy coiffure with curly locks of hair frames his noble countenance. Size: 4.375" W x 5.75" H (11.1 cm x 14.6 cm); 8.75" H (22.2 cm) on stand

    His sacred visage is embellished with gracefully arching brows that merge into his straight, aquiline nose, mesmerizing almond-shaped eyes with drilled pupils and varying textures that range from the fleshiness of his thick lids to the fluid properties of his eyes proper, and his bow-shaped mouth with full, curvy lips that are slightly parted. The realistic proportions of this face suggest that this sculptor revered mathematically based proportions in his figures, much like the revered Greek sculptor Polykleitos who purportedly said, "Perfection comes about little by little through many numbers". Notice the attention to even the smallest details, i.e. the precise delineation of those eyes, each lock of hair, and the parted lips.

    Condition: A section with losses more prominent on one side of the head. Nevertheless, a remarkably well-preserved fragment with slight surface wear and mineral deposits as shown.

    Provenance: Ex-Private East Coast, USA Collection

    All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

    A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all purchases

    We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
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    Stunning Roman Marble Head of a God - Apollo

  • Pre-Columbian, Costa Rica, Pacific Slope, Diquis/Nicoya region, ca. 900 to 1530 CE. A huge jaguar metate with a very large table/seat, expertly carved from one piece of volcanic stone with refined dimensions and intricately incised details. The sculptor of this piece successfully created an expressive countenance; just look at those gnashing teeth/fangs, alert ears, and snarling snout as he stands proudly on all four paws with a bifurcated tail, each end grabbing a rear leg with what appear to be hands. Note the wonderful stylized circular and diamond motifs adorning the top of its head, those concentric circles representing the jaguar's spotted coat and thought to symbolize the starry night sky (the jaguar being nocturnal) continuing over the limbs and tails of the wild cat's body, and double striations with scalloped motifs in some areas around the seat. Truly one of the most magnificent examples we have ever had the pleasure of handling. Size: 27.25" L x 15.25" W x 9.25" H (69.2 cm x 38.7 cm x 23.5 cm)

    Metates were initially created to grind foods such as corn, certainly a utilitarian purpose, as well as hallucinogenic substances, medicines, etc. for ceremonial rituals; however, they evolved into meaningful ritual objects in and of themselves, replete with strong iconography and intriguing sculptural forms have transformed these objects into much more than pragmatic tools.
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    Superb / Huge Costa Rican Stone Metate - Jaguar

  • Pre-Columbian, South Highlands of Peru, the northern basin of Lake Titicaca, Pucara (also spelled Pukara) Culture, Early Intermediate Period, ca. 300 to 700 CE. Finely carved from a large piece of black stone, a magnificent sculpture depicting a crouching jaguar perched upon an integral plinth. The mighty wild feline presents an expressive visage comprised of wide-open ovoid eyes, a protruding rounded nose, and a mouth framed by a pair of large fangs. His spotted coat, believed to symbolize the starry sky in the Pre-Columbian world, is delineated via incised four-armed star or cross-like forms on the sides and concentric rectangles on his back. A rare and spectacular piece from one of the earliest Peruvian civilizations! Size: 12.25" L x 4.75" W x 9.5" H (31.1 cm x 12.1 cm x 24.1 cm)

    The jaguar symbolized power and might throughout the Pre-Columbian world. Warriors, rulers, hunters, and shamans alike associated themselves with this king of beasts, the largest and most powerful feline in the New World. The principal god of another Peruvian culture, the Moche, wears a headdress adorned with a jaguar head and paws and important mortals donned similar headdresses. A nocturnal animal, the jaguar sleeps in caves and dark places and creeps quietly in the forest, evoking great mystery. Oddly enough, few Moche artists would have actually scene jaguars as they are not indigenous to the coast. Jaguars prefer moist forest conditions. However, scholars believe that some cubs were transported over the mountains for Moche rituals and it is also possible that some jaguars wandered down the coast. Whether the jaguar actually lived among the Pucara remains a question as well. Archaeologists do, however, know that the Pucara valued jaguar pelts and probably traded with the people of the Amazonian lowlands in order to acquire them.
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    Important Pucara Stone Jaguar Sculpture

  • Pre-Columbian, Peru, Paracas culture, ca. 200 to 100 BCE. A huge polychrome bowl with a shallow rim that flares outward at a low angle. The exterior has been painted with a ring of abstract motifs showing dots inside of stepped triangles on the rim, with a flat black base. The interior shows the Trophy-Head Deity on a black background. The deity and other motifs are predominantly yellow, with green, red, and small grey details, painted with mineral pigments mixed with plant resin that was applied post-firing to the surface. The hardened resin created a shiny surface characteristic of Paracas ceramics. Size: 17.5" W x 1.15" H (44.4 cm x 2.9 cm)

    Who was the Trophy-Head deity? Here, as on other Paracas ceramics, it is depicted as a combination of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic forms, with streamer-like appendages dangling off its body in a way that suggests an absence of gravity or possibly an underwater setting. Triangular ridges on the body are thought to mirror the shape of obsidian knives, which are commonly found alongside trophy heads in Paracas graves. In this example, the deity's face is wide, seemingly smiling, with huge green eyes with red irises. Two of its appendages project from a flat headdress or horn-like area on top of its head and each one holds a smaller humanoid figure at the end. These figures mirror those seen on Paracas textiles, which were used to wrap elite members of Paracas society in mummy bundles.
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    Paracas Terracotta Plate, Zoomorphic Motif - TL Tested

  • Greece, Athens, ca. 510 BCE. A graceful neck amphora adorned in traditional black-figure technique, the graceful form with an echinus mouth and tripartite handle, all supported by a torus foot, with hand painted scenes on both sides. Side A features Dionysos - god of wine, pleasure, ritual madness, ecstasy, and theatre - standing in profile, donning a patterned garment, with dots suggesting grape clusters, flowers, or berries in added fugitive white pigment, the drapery further delineated with incised marks. Dionysos holds a drinking horn, and is flanked by a pair of lovely nymphs gently bowing their heads toward the god and holding flowers in their hands. Side B features a nymph or Maenad standing in composite profile, flanked by a pair of Satyrs, who may be persuing or dancing with her. Quite an entertaining example! Size: 6.125" W x 9.75" H (15.6 cm x 24.8 cm)

    The female figures present white faces, feet, and flowers or drinking vessels created via added, fugitive pigment - and are dressed in chitons with incised folds of fabric and added plum-hued highlights that cascade over their bodies. The musculature of the Satyrs' bodies and various details such as their goat-like pointed ears/horns, beards, and eyes are nicely delineated with incised marks - their beards and tails rendered in added fugitive red pigment. Adorning the field are finely delineated vines with long tendrils of lotus flowers and palmettes. Below the central composition is a ground-line echoed by two linear bands, the central band in red and black, as well as a geometric ray pattern radiating from the red convex band just above the foot. Encircling the shoulder are fine tongues and the neck is adorned with stylized double palmette and lotus motifs.

    Condition: A few small nicks to the rim, one to shoulder. Minor surface wear/scratches and pigment loss, but overall excellent.

    Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

    All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

    A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all purchases

    We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
    Learn More

    Greek Attic Black Figure Amphora w/ Satyrs- Lot 19, Auction 6/28/2017

  • Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Nayarit, Ixtlan del Rio style, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. An enormous standing ceramic figure of a woman. She has her feet planted wide apart - one with six toes - and her arms out in front of her, one holding a bowl that seems to be made of an upturned shell. She wears a skirt, four bracelets on each arm, a large nose ring, and elaborate earrings. Her face is particularly well sculpted, with a prominent nose, realistic eyes, and an open mouth, possibly for placing offerings. Remains of bright pigment show through the manganese deposits - yellow and black on her face, black stripes over white on her upper body, and white on her arms and legs. Comes with custom stand. Size: 22.5" W x 29.75" H (57.2 cm x 75.6 cm); height on stand: 30.5" (77.5 cm).

    Clay figures like this one are the only remains that we have today of a sophisticated and unique culture in West Mexico -- they made no above-ground monuments or sculptures, at least that we know of, which is in strong contrast to developments elsewhere in ancient Mesoamerica. Instead, their tombs were their lasting works of art: skeletons arrayed radially with their feet positioned inward, and clay offerings, like this one, placed alongside the walls facing inward, near the skulls. A large effigy like this one would most likely have flanked the entrance to a tomb in a way that archaeologists have interpreted as guarding. Some scholars have connected these dynamic sculptures of the living as a strong contrast to the skeletal remains whose space they shared, as if they mediated between the living and the dead.

    Condition: Piece has been repaired at neck, arms, and one leg, as well as on the back.
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    Monumental Nayarit Pottery Standing Female

  • Greek, Hellenistic, ca. 3rd to 2nd entury BCE. A breathtaking gilded silver rhyton with high relief motifs executed in repousse; from top to bottom the elaborate decorative program is as follows: a wide register of repeated rows of diamond-shaped forms, each one segmented into quadrants, the central section decorated with leafy grape vines tied together at the top in a bow form with a juicy cluster of grapes at the lower end, beneath this a row of vertical pointing palmettes, the angled front section incised with criss-crossed and linear striations, culminating in a near spherical, perhaps fruit-like form given its sectioned surface, inlaid at the end with a beautiful round piece of cobalt blue glass. Custom stand. Size: 2.625" in diameter x 8.25" H (6.7 cm x 21 cm); 9.25" H (23.5 cm) on stand

    Rhytons are among the most coveted pieces of silver that remain from the Classical world. This gilt silver rhyton, with its extensive fruit-of-the-vine iconography and lovely cobalt blue glass decoration, is an exceptional example of art of the Hellenistic period, indicative of the ancients' refined taste for luxury tableware, probably used both as a drinking cup and a pouring vessel to decant wine into drinking bowls during festive banquets.
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    Hellenistic Greek Gilt Silver Rhyton / Drinking Vessel

  • Pre-Columbian, Mayan Territory, probably Mexico, ca. 400 to 500 CE. A rare and quite exceptional limestone ballgame marker. Ancient art from the Mayan world shows that three such markers were set at the center and end of each court. Based on the size and shape, it appears that these were transported to each game, and could perhaps represent the "home or visiting" teams. Work conducted by the Center for Mayan Research seems to indicate this marker came from the lowlands of Mexico; Yucatan,Campeche or Quintana Roo. This particular marker shows a kneeling captive, bound at the wrist and wearing an emblematic device on his back. Around him are approximately 16 carved glyphs - the glyphs begins on the upper right, more or less behind the figure (if you look at the stone with the captive upright) where four small dots appear in a line. This is the number coefficient on the opening day sign (Glyph A). The text of sixteen glyphs runs counter-clockwise around the stone. The date looks like it might be 4 Imix 9 Keh. The event being commemorated is some sort of dedication, perhaps of the building or court where the stone was originally set, or of the altar itself.
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    Important Mayan Limestone Ball Court Marker