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Masterworks

MASTERWORKS

Superb art for the discriminating collector . . .

 
  • Cambodia, Khmer Empire, Bayon style, ca. 1200 CE. Remarkable bronze standing Hevajra is shown in a dancing pose with 11 heads on three tiers, 22 arms fanned to the sides wearing a short sampot with front sash. He dances upon two figures, representing the conquering of evil. Tantric Buddhism, also known as Vajrayana and the Diamond Way, of which Hevajra is the most important deity, increased in importance in Cambodia from the eleventh century onwards. Hevajra Tantra was brought to Cambodia during the Khmer Empire and was practiced both in Cambodia and Thailand from the 10th to 13th centuries. Size: 5.5" W x 10.5" H (14 cm x 26.7 cm)

    Condition: Remarkably intact and quite excellent with minor casting flaws to the front plinth. Areas of lovely blue azurite patina.

    Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection acquired before 2000

    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.

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    Superb Khmer Bronze Standing Hevajra

  • Great Britain, during the time of the Crusades (and end of the Viking invasions), ca. 1250 to 1280 CE, shown on the Coat of Arms of Kings Edward I & II, and Henry III. A superb and exceedingly rare complete Oakeshott type XIV iron and steel medieval sword. Broad, springy steel blade with wide single fullers, tapers strongly at point, short hilt, bowed tang riveted through crutch shaped iron pommel. Cross, one piece, iron, straight along grip side with downward drooping pointed terminals, at blade side has central cusp narrowing to downward drooping pointed terminals; could be described as "drooping moustacheā€ profile. The type XIV blade is dated to the period 1250 to 1340 but this specific subtype (XIV.2) can be dated by reference to engraved seals of English and Sicilian kings holding this specific sword type to a range of 1250-80. Within the fullers are two copper wire inlays, one a sinuous scaly serpent, the other a menage of spirals, triangles and pentagrams. There are other type XIV blades with figural and lettered inlays but there are no other known type XIV.2 swords with inlays. A snake 240mm long and 10mm wide with four wiggles, a lidded eye, beak or tongue and scales is inlayed into one fuller. There are nine inlayed circles outside the body of the snake - one touches the tail point, a possible name pun or rebus. On the other fuller is a tight geometric design, comprising two elongated terminal triangles within triangles, enfolding a pair of linked opposing spirals which separate two pentagrams one within another, the other with a central circle and five radial divisions, some magical or religious design perhaps. An amazing, complete medieval European sword, with very unusual (and probably personalised) inlays and tightly dated 1250 to 1280 CE. Size: 35" L.

    *For a similar example, see Oakeshott Ewart, Records of the Medieval Sword. 1991, Boydell Press, Woodbridge Suffolk, UK. Pp 115 to 125 for type XIV swords, p 117 for type XIV.2.

    Extensive analysis has been done on this piece. It has been reviewed by Dr. Gerry McDonell of Archaeometallurgy Labs in Wales who has concluded the metal blade and copper wire insert are each of the period. Report to be provided.

    Condition: Intact and excellent, a superb example for the most discerning collector.

    Provenance: Ex-private UK collection accumulated in the 1970's.

    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.

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    Royal Family Medieval Iron Sword, Oakeshott Type XIV

  • Southeast Asia, Cambodia, Khmer Empire (Angkor culture), ca. late 12th to early 13th century CE. An enormous grey stone Buddha, seated on a three-tiered throne, with the flaring, hooded head of a giant naga, the serpent king Muchilinda, rising behind him protectively. His hands are in the Dhyana Mudra. This is a gesture of meditation, with the hands placed in the lap, right hand on left, with fingers full stretched out and palms facing upwards. The Buddha's face is serene, with a naturalistic and warm expression; he wears a skirt and has a crown topped by a detailed ushnisha. The serpent is well-rendered and symmetrical. A closer look at the throne reveals that it is the coils of the serpent's massive body. The story told here may be that Muchilinda is protecting the Buddha from heavy rain; this iconographic depiction of the Buddha is a common one from the reign of Khmer King Jayavarman VII (reigned ca. 1181 to 1218 CE), who established a cult based around it. Scholars believe that this may be because Jayavarman was disabled and snakes were associated with healing. The king is also known for the establishment of hospitals throughout his kingdom. Comes with custom stand. Size of statue: 12.35" L x 16.5" W x 33.5" H (31.4 cm x 41.9 cm x 85.1 cm); size on stand: 12.35" L x 16.5" W x 36" H (31.4 cm x 41.9 cm x 91.4 cm)

    However, some scholars question the Buddha/Muchilinda story, saying that it is based on a misreading of the sources. Naga cults were common throughout Indian, Sri Lankan, and Southeast Asian artwork during this period, but the symbolism is somewhat unclear. Some have proposed that nagas could be symbolic vehicles for elevating the dead - equating to transcendence. That is based on interpretation of artwork from around Angkor Wat and other parts of the Khmer world. Others see the inclusion of the naga as a holdover from earlier symbolic practices. Khmer art moved away from Indian styles in the 7th century CE to encompass its own framework; one example of this seen here is that this statue is carved in the round, rather than as a relief on a stela, which was common with Indian and Javanese Hindu and Buddhist sculptures that were previously influencing Cambodian art. From this, we can infer that Khmer sculptors would have desired their artwork to be viewed from all sides, and thus placed in the center of temples rather than against a wall. While this artwork was religious - priests supervised its execution - its realism is unmistakable.

    Condition: Figure has been broken/repaired at mid-section; signs of wear with small losses to knees and one of Naga's flares. Some surface pitting and wear. OF NOTE: Statues broken in half are far more rare/desirable because most Buddhas like this were decapitated when the Buddhists were overthrown around 1300.

    Provenance: ex private Arizona, USA collection, acquired in Northern Thailand in early 2000. All appropriate legal and federally-compliant import documents will accompany item.

    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.

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    Incredible Khmer Stone Seated Naga-Enthroned Buddha

  • Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. late 19th century CE. Finely rendered in egg tempera, gold leaf, and gesso on wood, a breathtaking icon honoring the Prophet Elijah who, as depicted in the central panel, rides into heaven on a chariot drawn by celestial horses under the fearful watch of his disciple Elisha (Eliseus). Other vignettes of the central panel include: Elijah sitting in a desert cave after predicting a famine as a crow approaches to feed him; the angel appearing to Elijah later on, after he won the challenge against the priests of Baal in the king's court and fled to the desert once again, and Elijah separating the waters of the Jordan River. In the sixteen bordering images are pictorial accounts of Elijah's story in concordance with I Kings 17-19. The six slender panels to the left and right of the central image depict saints (left from top to bottom are Basil, John the Warrior, and Sergei of Radonezh; right includes St. Mark, St. Stephen, and Natalia). Many calligraphic passages narrate the scenes. Size: 14.75" W x 17.75" H (37.5 cm x 45.1 cm).

    In Russia, according to scholar Alfredo Tradigo, Elijah replaced Perun, the Slavic deity of thunder, who also rode into heaven on a chariot of fire drawn by otherworldly horses. During the reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, in the decade between 860 and 850 BCE, Elijah told his prophesies. Following his prediction of a famine, Elijah took refuge in a desert cave. There, a crow fed him, by order of the Lord, bread in the morning (visible in his left hand) and meat at night (shown being delivered by the crow to Elijah's upraised right hand). He then returned to the king's court and won a challenge putting 400 priests of Baal to the sword. Following this, he fled to the desert and prayed for death. However, an angel appeared and brought him food. The bread he ate strengthened him (Church Fathers interpreted this as a prefiguration of the Eucharist) and he walked for forty days until reaching Horeb, god's mountain. Here, he miraculously found God, "not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire, but in a 'small voice.'" (Alfredo Tradigo, "Icons and Saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church," J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2006, p. 81.)

    Icons were some of the first religious artworks brought to Russia from Byzantium. These sacred pictures reached a high point in the Byzantine era, however, the Russians brought their own style to the art of the icon. Icons were initially created for use in churches and processions. In time they became smaller and were used increasingly within households. To this day they remain an important form of visual culture in Russia's orthodox religious community.

    Icons (icon means "image" in Greek) are sacred objects within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. Found in homes as well as churches, these painted images depict holy persons and saints as well as illustrate scenes from the Scriptures. Icons are not worshiped, but are instead venerated for their ability to focus the power of an individual's prayer to God. As such they are truly "windows into heaven."


    Condition: Expected surface wear and minor paint and gold leaf losses commensurate with age. Icon also shows nice craquelure and age fissures. Verso is missing back slats and an adhesive was used to keep the two wood panels from which this icon was originally made together. There is also an incised inscription on the verso.

    Provenance: private Francis & Lilly Robicsek collection, Charlotte, North Carolina, 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

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    19th C. Russian Icon - Life Scenes of Prophet Elijah

  • Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. late 19th century CE. A breathtaking festal icon expertly delineated in egg tempera and gold leaf on wood featuring the Resurrection of Christ in the center surrounded by a mandorla and standing atop an empty tomb. The Resurrection is the central theme, the "feast of feasts" celebrated not only on Easter but every Sunday. Surrounding this are 12 scenes depicting the events of Holy Thursday and Holy Friday. These scenes are then surrounded by 16 images of feast days celebrated on the liturgical calendar. In the corners are the four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), each one seated in his scriptorium, before a table with an inkwell, holding his Gospel. Size: 10.5" W x 12.25" H (26.7 cm x 31.1 cm), custom stand not included.

    The iconography of complex icons like this example that combine festal and paschal scenes was very popular in Russia during the 18th and 19th centuries. Similar to the larger minyeia or calendar icons, festal icons feature a Resurrection image in the center surrounded by 12 scenes of Holy Thursday and Holy Friday, these surrounded by 16 images of feast days celebrated on the liturgical calendar. The only exceptions on this example are two of the outer scenes - Hospitality of Abraham presumably representing the Trinity in the upper middle and the Ascension of Elijah at the bottom; these are not feast days.

    Icons were some of the first religious artworks brought to Russia from Byzantium. These sacred pictures reached a high point in the Byzantine era, however, the Russians brought their own style to the art of the icon. Icons were initially created for use in churches and processions. In time they became smaller and were used increasingly within households. To this day they remain an important form of visual culture in Russia's orthodox religious community.

    Icons (icon means "image" in Greek) are sacred objects within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. Found in homes as well as churches, these painted images depict holy persons and saints as well as illustrate scenes from the Scriptures. Icons are not worshiped, but are instead venerated for their ability to focus the power of an individual's prayer to God. As such they are truly "windows into heaven."

    Condition: A few minor losses to surface pigment. Area of restoration at lower center with some repainting. Back slats present and accounted for. Overall excellent.

    Provenance: ex-Francis & Lilly Robicsek collection, Charlotte, North Carolina, 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

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    19th C. Russian Icon - Resurrection & Feasts

  • Pre-Columbian, Northern Peten, Guatemala, Mayan, ca. 600 to 800 CE. One of the finest and certainly most macabre examples of Mayan art! Pottery cylinder, most likely used for drinking cocoa, depicting the God A. The image may be a composite of God A and Chak (he wears the pendant of Chak). Showing a chiaroscuro technique seldom seen with such naturalistic result. Note the background behind the WHAY figure is delicately shaded to give the effect of depth, possibly indicating a cave opening, portal to XIB'AL'BA. This area has not been altered by modern restoration! The deity's three-dimensional rib cage, and skeletal arms and legs become even more gruesome with this unique and innovative shading technique used by the scribe. The inscription appears to be a combination of PSS and possibly shows Emblem Glyphs. Size: 9" H (22.9 cm)

    Photographed and rolled out by Justin Kerr and in Kerr archive #9132: http://research.mayavase.com/kerrmaya_list.php?_allSearch=&hold_search=&x=42&y=12&vase_number=9132&date_added=&ms_number=&site=

    Condition: In very fine condition; several breaks have been professionally repaired and where there was slight distortion and loss of the pieces, minor fill has been added to stabilize and strengthen. Figure, itself, has very minimal paint touch up; the long heiroglyphic inscription has been damaged in several areas but enough of each glyph remained to allow restrengthening of the line. Restoration was done by Barbara Kerr in 2008.

    Provenance: ex- private Florida, USA collection, ex - Erasmo Toledo, Coral Gables FL, 1960's; ex-Chuck Warren, Coconut Grove FL, 1970's

    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.

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    Exceptional Mayan Cylinder of God A - Kerr Rollout

  • 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.

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    Stunning Roman Marble Head of a God - Apollo

  • Russia, ca. 19th century CE. Finely painted in egg tempera and gold leaf on wood, this icon features the miracle-working Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker at center - dressed in sumptuous episcopal vestments, wearing a cross adorned omophorion, giving benediction and holding the Gospel, with apparitions of Christ and the Theotokos (Mother of God) above. Surrounding this central panel are various apostles and saints. Size: 14" W x 17.5" H (35.6 cm x 44.4 cm)

    The visages of each figure are delineated with impressive naturalism, their vestments in brilliant jewel tones, and their surrounds in intricately patterned gold leaf making for marvelous contrasts between figure and ground. Nicholas was a strong opponent of the heretical bishop Arius at the Council of Nicaea; after slapping Arius in the face, Nicholas was stripped of his holy insignia and tossed in jail. However, Christ and the Virgin appeared to him and gave him back his freedom and his episcopal office. Here shown with a serious countenance, a high furrowed forehead, concentrating eyes framed by arched brows, and a short, gray beard, Saint Nicholas is portrayed as a staunch champion of the Christian faith, a defender against heresy, and a healer.

    Exhibited in "Windows Into Heaven: Russian Icons from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art" at the Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina (December 20, 2003 through February 22, 2004) which presented highlights of one of the world's great artistic traditions through an extraordinary group of sixty-five 18th and 19th century Russian icons on loan from the private collection of Lilly and Francis Robicsek.

    Icons (icon means "image" in Greek) are sacred objects within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. Found in homes as well as churches, these painted images depict holy persons and saints as well as illustrate scenes from the Scriptures. Some icons are encased in precious metal covers (oklads) adorned with pearls and semi-precious stones or glass-fronted wooden cases (kiots). Icons are not worshiped, but are instead venerated for their ability to focus the power of an individual's prayer to God. As such they are truly "windows into heaven."

    Condition: Some surface fissures, losses to pigment and gold leaf. Deeper fissure on lower right, small puncture above saint to Nicholas' left, a small amount of fixative in border beside saint to Nicholas' right, and losses to lower and upper left corners and some areas of peripheries. Mint Museum label on verso

    Provenance: Ex-Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art, Charlotte, NC; exhibited at Mint Museum of Art "Windows Into Heaven", Charlotte, North Carolina (December 20, 2003 through February 22, 2004)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.

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    Exhibited 19th C. Russian Icon - St. Nicholas w/ Saints

  • Pre-Columbian, southeastern Mexico, Chontal, ca. 800 to 300 BCE. Huge greenstone standing "blind" figure showing very strong Olmec chacteristics, but clearly Chontal from the Guerrero region. He stands with legs slightly separated, hands to his chest with delineated fingers, face showing the strongest Olmec features with pouty lips, traingular nose and oval head. A remarkable figure to have survived intact. Custom stand. Size: 5.75" W x 21.25" H (14.6 cm x 54 cm)

    Condition: Intact and excellent with wear and staining commensurate with age

    Provenance: Exhibited at The Field Museum, Chicago, IL in the 1960s, ex-Nick Poolos collection, Adeon Gallery, Chicago, IL.

    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.

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    Museum-Exhibted Huge Olmecoid Chontal Greenstone Figure