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Masterworks

MASTERWORKS

Superb art for the discriminating collector . . .

 
  • Pre-Columbian, Valley of Mexico (modern Mexico City area), Aztec, ca. 1400 to 1521 CE. Important and exceptional stone mask of the Aztec deity Xipe Totec. Carved from basalt with a deeply hollowed reverse, the "Flayed Lord" wears the skin of a sacrificial victim, has an oval face with hair parted down the middle, and eyes partially closed in an upward curved slit, mouth open. Round earspools are bow-drilled with suspension holes biconically drilled on the earlobes. Size: 9" W x 8" H (22.9 cm x 20.3 cm); 9.75" H (24.8 cm) on included custom stand.

    Xipe Totec was the Aztec god of agriculture, disease, gold and silversmiths, liberation and the seasons. His origin is unknown but probably came from the Gulf coast as early as the middle of the first millennium CE. This important mask comes with an expert authentication from Hasso Von Winning, completed in May 1972, where he states "I have inspected this stone mask and it is an authentic Aztec artifact." Mr. Von Winning was an appraiser, author, museum curator and expert in Pre-Columbian art having written several books on the subject including "Pre-Columbian Art Of Mexico And Central America" and "The Shaft Tomb Figures of West Mexico" - both considered essential reference books for collectors and scholars of Pre-Columbian art and artifacts.

    Condition: Chip below left ear, old minor chip above right ear now covered with dendrites and rust colored deposits, else excellent.

    Provenance: ex-private Los Angeles, California collection acquired in November 1971 from the Harry Franklin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 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.

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    Rare Aztec Xipe Totec Stone Mask - Von Winning Papered

  • Pre-Columbian, Hispaniola, Taino Indians, ca. 1000 to 1500 CE. About as fine and important example of the wonderful art and artifacts of the Arawak Peoples of the Greater Antilles Islands as one will ever find. Carved wooden bowl of egg form interior completely hollowed out, two confronting anthropomorphic Zemi skeletal figures on opposite sides of the opening. These Zemi figures combine both bat and human elements including arm-like wings, deep inset eyes and small pointed bat-like nose. On the reverse of each figure you can clearly see the arm and leg bones as well as the individual vertebrae of the spine. Beneath the heads of each figure is a suspension loop indicating that this vessel was designed to be suspended. A remarkable example! Size: 4.75" W x 5" H (12.1 cm x 12.7 cm)

    Condition: Remarkably intact and near choice, the wood having started the fossilization process becoming incredibly dense.

    Provenance: Ex-Private LA County collection acquired in The Dominican Republic

    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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    Rare Taino Wood Bowl w/ Zemi Figures

  • Rome, late Republican Period, ca. 1st century CE. A finely carved bust of a nude male, presenting a well modelled body from chin to chest, with a Latin inscription on the base that reads as follows: "TI CLAUDI PROCULI" which may translate to the individual's name with "Ti" being an abbreviation for Tiberius, Titus, or Titian; Claudi being the middle name, and Proculi conceivably being the second part of the family name. It is also possible that the person was of the Proculan Claudians - Proculus being the name of an ancient Roman jurist responsible for establishing a distinct means of interpreting Roman Law; his followers were known as Proculeans or Proculiani. Proculus lived during the Julio-Claudian period and purportedly practiced law under Nero. See more about him below. Size: 12.75" W x 13.625" H (32.4 cm x 34.6 cm)

    A loyalty to the anatomy in this piece is evident, note how the sculptor delineated the details: those ripples on his neck, the junctures between shoulders and arms, the clavicles, and the nipples. This emphasis on realism suggests that the piece was created during the Republican period. Although we cannot see his face, the concentric folds/wrinkles of flesh on the neck, suggest that the sculptor most likely created a head that presented a highly individualistic visage, lavishing immense attention to details - with every fold and wrinkle meticulously delineated creating a virtual topographical map of this face - a deeply furrowed browline, creases over the nose, sagging bags under the eyes, crows feet, intense nasolabial folds or 'laugh lines' running from the nose to each corner of his mouth (probably earned from years of giving orations rather than giggles), definitive lines etched into his cheeks.

    Republican verism or realism in sculptural portraiture most likely reflected the Roman belief that a person's individuality could be communicated via his or her facial features. This was in contrast to the earlier Greek understanding that the essence of an individual resided in both the head and the body. Hence, the Romans believed that emphasis should be placed on the face, and therefore a realistic rendition of his facial features differentiated him and created a record of his specific individuality. According to reputable Roman scholars, the Romans' emphasis on realism in portraiture had no counterpart in other contemporary cultures; however, it drew influence from earlier sources, including Etruscan and Hellenistic.

    Private portrait busts were usually associated with funerary contexts in ancient Rome, rooted in the longstanding tradition of displaying wax portrait masks known as imagines in funeral processions for the upper classes to commemorate their distinguished lineage. These portrayed respected ancestors who had been awarded special honors or held public office, and were proudly displayed in the household family shrine or lararium, accompanied by busts made of bronze, marble, or terracotta. Such prominent displays of these portraits in the public sphere, made if possible for aristocratic families to commemorate their family's history of public service and at the same time honor their deceased relatives.

    The term "proculus" referred to a Roman lawyer of the mid 1st century CE, who gave his name to the Proculian school which established a system of law that emphasized consistency and principle. He wrote eleven books of letters based on his teaching and practice of law; the first time the term lawyer was used was in these texts. Later lawyers cited his views often, and 34 passages of his were used by Justinian's compilers for their Digesta.

    Condition: Loss to head, right shoulder, and base of pedestal as shown. Expected surface wear and encrustations from exposure to the sea.

    Provenance: private Santa Fe, New Mexico USA collection; Mr. Gottlieb collection, New Jersey, USA, purchased 6/4/70 from Elgin Antiques, 121/3 Portobello Road, London, England

    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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    Roman Marble Bust of a Male w/ Latin Inscription

  • Ancient Greece, The Reed Painter, ca. 440 to 425 BCE. A stunning white ground lekythos attributed to the Reed Painter, adorned with hand drawn/painted central scene in matt red-brown depicting a stele upon a stepped base, topped with a pediment with curved akroteria at both ends. To the left is a youth donning a himation draped across his body. Opposite, on the right, is a young lady, her coiffure in a top-knot, wearing a sleeveless chiton and himation. Framing the top of the scene is a register of meander punctuated by saltire-crossed squares. The shoulder is adorned with three palmettes and tendrils, hand painted in black. Size: 12-1/10" (30.7 cm)

    Lekythos vases were among the various offerings and monuments paying tribute to the deceased in Athenian cemeteries. Lekythos vessels traditionally held oil and were decorated in the white ground technique from the middle until the end of the fifth century BCE. The term white ground relates to the light slip coating on the body and shoulder of the vase. Upon this background, figures and accoutrements were drawn in outline and then hand painted in rich colors, which have since faded. The iconography typically features tombs, visitors to these tomb sights, and touching farewell scenes, as the vast majority of these vessels were created for burial with the dead or to be offerings presented at their graves.

    This piece has been attributed to the infamous Reed Painter who specialized in white ground lekythoi that depicted actual people rather than mythical beings as was more customary for black figure painters. It has wonderful provenance and once belonged to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Similar examples are featured in other fine museum collections such as that of the Art of Institute Chicago, the John Paul Getty Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Arts. For a similar example see http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/254782

    Condition: White ground encrusted and lifted and some retouching of old glaze on lower bowl, neck, and lip. Minor chip and abrasions to rim.

    Provenance: Ex-private Hunter/Gilmore collection, acquired 2011; ex-Charles Ede collection, ex-Mrs. May Sheppard Jordan (1921); deaccessioned from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (accession no. 21.275)

    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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    Greek Attic White-Ground Lekythos, Ex-MFA, Reed Painter

  • Pre-Columbian, classic Mayan, Pacific Lowland of Guatemala, ca. 500 to 800 CE. Perhaps it is just my sudden love for all things macabre, but this is one fabulous cylinder! A classic example in tall, cylindrical form decorated in Codex style of negative resist of white against black. Featured are two dancing skeletal deities, probably representations of God "A" along with long sashes to which are attached two inverted human trophy heads. Size: 4.375" W x 11.375" H (11.1 cm x 28.9 cm)

    According to Wikipedia, God A is A Maya god of death whose name is not yet known. He is depicted ruling a part of the underworld surrounded by the bones of his subjects. His symbols are a skull and obsidian knife, both related to the practice of human sacrifice.

    Condition: Remarkably intact with one small stable stress crack and minor pigment wear as shown.

    Provenance: ex-Arte Primitivo Gallery, New York, New York

    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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    Tall Mayan Codex Pottery Cylinder w/ Skeletal God A

  • Egypt, Third Intermediate Period to Late Dynastic Period, ca. 1070 to 332 BCE. A heavy and detailed cast bronze figure of the mummiform god of the Underworld, Osiris. This would have been a votive figure, perhaps made to be kept in a (very!) wealthy home and prayed to, deposited in a temple as an offering, or, most likely, kept for ritual with other metallic objects by priests. Comes with custom wood stand. Size: 3.25" W x 10.2" H (8.3 cm x 25.9 cm); height on stand: 11.55" (29.3 cm).

    He wears a tight shroud and Atef crown, with two lateral plumes flanking a uraeus. In his hands, which he holds close together at his chest, he has a flagellum and a short-handled heka scepter (perhaps indicating that this piece is from Thebes) - both are Egyptian symbols of authority and kingship, showing Osiris's close connection with the pharaoh and his role as Ruler of the Dead. He has a round face, with almond-shaped eyes, large ears, and thick lips below a straight nose. He also has the classic Egyptian false beard, incised to look like it is braided. Incised decoration gives further detail to his tools, his crown, and a pectoral underneath his shroud. One wonderful detail is found on his otherwise unornamented back - incised lines create a tie to hold his crown in place, with its strings hanging down his back.

    Antiquities from the collection of Albert J. Zaloom were assembled from the 1970 to 1990s. Mr. Zaloom was of Middle Eastern descent and grew up in Brooklyn. He was owner of Zaloom Brothers, a firm dealing in pistachios. He served as the 37th President of the prestigious New York Numismatic Club, from 1992-1993, and subsequently on its Board. He was an enthusiastic collector of ancient coins, medals and antiquities.



    Published in "Egyptian, Greek, and Roman Antiquities Property of Mrs. Charles E. Crawley," Parke-Bernet Galleries Inc. 1957.

    Condition: Slight surface wear; dark, smooth patina overall. Details are excellent.

    Provenance: Ex Albert Zaloom Collection, assembled 1970s-1990s, from Robert J. Myers, invoice dated 11/25/1976; an additional Robert J. Myers Xerox of his label state the provenance of
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    Published Egyptian Bronze Osiris, ex-Parke-Bernet

  • 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. The word is pet, meaning to “encircle,” which is obviously suggestive of the stone’s shape. A personal name appears in block G, an animal head located just in front of the captives bound hands. This looks like it might be the name of the Tikal ruler K’an Chitam, but it’s not an obvious identification. The text goes on to repeat the pet verb and then gives what might be a place name or temple name. Custom stand. Size: 23 x 3.5" (58.4 cm x 8.9 cm)

    PLEASE NOTE: Special shipping is required. Please inquire before purchasing.

    Condition: Wear to surface as expected but glyphs generally quite clear and readable

    Provenance: Ex-Alan Davis collection, ex Splendors of the World, collected 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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    Exceptional Mayan Limestone Ball Court Marker

  • Egypt, Late Period, Dynasty Thirty (XXX), ca. 380 to 343 BCE. A mummiform faience ushabti (shabti) with blue glaze and details in relief. The ushabti wears a tripartite wig and pleated divine beard, with its face nicely modeled, its arms crossed over its chest holding a pick axe and a hoe, a seed basket suspended over its left shoulder by cord, a dorsal pillar, and a trapezoidal base. Around the base are nine horizontal bands of incised hieroglyphic text from Chapter VI of the Book of the Dead naming the owner as Sema-Taui. Sameref (“the son whom he loves”) is a priestly title connected with the necropolis of Heracleopolis Magna, a metropolis at the entrance of the Fayum (now the Abusir El-Melek). Semi-taui (“he who unifies the two lands”) was a falcon headed diety worshipped here. Comes with custom stand. Size: 2.3" W x 8.4" H (5.8 cm x 21.3 cm); height on stand: 8.85" (22.5 cm)

    The inscription has been translated: "(1) Illuminating of the Osiris, the Sameref-priest, commander of the troop, Semitaui, son of Sheri [“the child”], born of Tashepset [“ the noble one is content”](2) herti, he says: Oh these shabtis, if one counts (3) the Osiris, Semitaui to do the work in the necropolis."

    The ancient Egyptians believed that after they died, their spirits would have to work in the "Field of Reeds" owned by the god of the underworld, Osiris. This meant doing agricultural labor - and it was required by all members of society, from workers to pharaohs. The wealthier nobility in Egyptian society were able to have ushabtis made of faience; blue faience was meant to reflect the color of the river Nile both on earth and in the afterlife.

    Art Loss Certificate No: S00063705

    Condition: Intact, with light flaking and encrustation.

    ex-Treasurgate Gallery, Brussels, Belgium; ex-private Polish collection formed in early 1900s

    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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    Huge Egyptian Faience Ushabti of Sema Taui - Translated

  • Northern Italy, Etruria, ca. 500 to 450 BCE. A rare to find bronze Negau type helmet, breast and backplate ensemble, unusual for their preserved golden finish (as these were found in a river), superb condition, and the Etruscan owner mark on the helmet. A similar example, though with less complete shoulder straps, hammered at Christie's NY (8 June 2012, Lot 118) for $74,500. Size: helmet - 9.5" L x 8.25" W x 8.25" H (24.1 cm x 21 cm x 21 cm); breast and back plates each measure 11" L x 10.75" W (27.9 cm x 27.3 cm); hinged straps and attaching hardware 9" L x 1.75" W (22.9 cm x 4.4 cm)

    This helmet of this ensemble has been identified as a Negau type (also known as the Vetulonic type) helmet, named for the village in Slovenia where such helmets were initially found. It is comprised of hammered bronze sheet, and the attractive form presents a characteristically high-domed crown, a median comb-shaped ridge running front to back, a carinated area above the brim, the rim flanged and decorated with impressed egg-and-dart motifs, the area above the carination with impressed feathered plume motifs, with two perforations along the rim, and additional ornament at the crown with two inverted teardrop-shaped appliques, possibly once fitted with feathers or other decorative attachments. Beyond this, an incised owner mark graces one side of the helmet, near the median ridge, just above the plume motifs above the carinated area. The designs of the breast and backplate each present three encircled convex disks, cut-out ridged plaques riveted to the upper edge, with two wide hinges for the shoulder straps. Both plates have a pair of attached loops at the lower ends, one pair with suspended rings for further attachment. A remarkable example of Etruscan bronze armor, replete with impressive artistry and technique, exceedingly rare to find as an ensemble, so well-preserved and with that gorgeous gold river patina.

    Why have ancient suits of armor been found in rivers? Some have attributed this phenomenon to accidental losses; however, according to recent scholarship, discoveries of ancient armor in aquatic environments may be the result of intentional practices. Some have suggested that the ancients' veneration of water played a significant role, that gear found in waters was the consequence of a conscious religious act, a dedication of armor and weapons as a religious rite. Others have argued that when ancient warriors who were forced into retreat came upon a river, they elected to toss their armor in the waters, since it would be next to impossible to cross a river wearing such heavy gear. Depositing the armor on the enemy's land was not viewed upon as an attractive option, because the warriors feared that their foes would either use the armor to impersonate them during ensuing battles or melt the armor down for the valuable precious metals. For further discussions, see Brandon Olson's "The Dedication of Roman Weapons and Armor in Water as a Religious Ritual" Popular Archaeology (May 27, 2011).



    Condition: Rare preserved golden finish (found in river, hence no green patina). Some areas of discoloration and mineral deposits. Stabilization to the crest. A few small areas of repair/stabilization to the crown. Teardrop shaped appliques at crest of helmet show bending and losses. Hinged straps joining breast and back plates in excellent condition. A few rings missing from looped attachments on breast/back plates.

    Provenance: Ex-private South Carolina collection; ex-Liebert & Lenkert Ausgrabungen collection, Krefeld, Germany; ex-private Aberdeen, South Dakota 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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    Etruscan Bronze Helmet + Chest Armor - Rare Ensemble!

  • PRICE ON REQUEST

    Europe, France, Paris, Rococo (Roccoco, Late Baroque), case by André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732), movement by Charles Voisin (1685-1761), ca. 1725 CE. An exceptional clock of cast bronze foliate and rocaille over wood case surmounted by a exotic female personification of Asia dressed in rich fabrics seated upon an orb representing that continent. Below the clockface are two cherubs, one holding a torch to light the incense burner that the other is preparing (incense being an attribute often associated with personifications of Asia), and a crowing rooster, the universal bird solar symbol throughout Eurasia as it’s crow heralded the dawn and was believed to dispel evil spirits at dawn and the light of day eclipsed the darkness of night. In addition, faces of brass marquetry on wood grace the case. Size: 15" L x 7" W x 36" H (38.1 cm x 17.8 cm x 91.4 cm)

    Please Note: special shipping is required for this clock, please inquire prior to purchase

    The case of this clock is attributed to André-Charles Boulle (French, 1642-1732, master before 1666) dubbed "the most skillful artisan in Paris" by his contemporaries. According to the curatorial staff of the J. Paul Getty Museum, "André-Charles Boulle's name is synonymous with the practice of veneering furniture with marquetry of tortoiseshell, pewter, and brass. Although he did not invent the technique, Boulle was its greatest practitioner and lent his name to its common name: boulle work. Boulle also specialized in floral marquetry in both stained and naturally colored wood. Many of his designs are illustrated in a book of engravings published around 1720. Before 1666 Boulle was awarded the title of master cabinetmaker; in 1672 the king granted him the royal privilege of lodging in the Palais du Louvre. In the same year, he achieved the title of cabinetmaker and sculptor to Louis XIV, king of France. This new title allowed him to produce furniture as well as works in gilt bronze such as chandeliers, wall lights, and mounts. Although strict guild rules usually prevented craftsmen from practicing two professions simultaneously, Boulle's favored position allowed him protected status and exempted him from these statutes." (http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/artists/947/andr-charles-boulle-french-1642-1732-master-before-1666/

    The movement of this clock is inscribed "Charles Voisin" (French, 1685-1761, master 1710) who was a master clockmaker in 18th century Paris. Voisin was sought after by elite clientele including members of the royal family and French aristocracy.

    In the early 18th century, grandiose palace-rooted culture of Baroque France (think Louis XIV Palace of Versailles) was replaced by a more intimate private townhouse based Rococo culture. Intellectuals and aristocrats gathered in elaborately decorated salons painted in delicate pastel colors with elaborately ornamented curving walls covered with gilded mirrors and sculptural ornament depicting sprays of flowers, rocaille shells, floating cherubs, and birds. French Rococo interiors were total works of art bedecked with fancifully wrought furniture, small sculptures, ceramics, decorative tapestries and mural paintings as well as small wonders like this clock.

    Clock movements by Voison and cased created by Boulle have been collected by some of the most prestigious institutions including the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Condition: Missing one side panel of glass, minor areas of expected wear. In the process of being mechanically restored to perfect working condition. Guaranteed.

    Provenance: Ex- Private Washington State 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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    Important 18th C. French Rococo Clock - Charles Voisin