LONDON.- Charles Ede
will unveil this rare Roman carved ivory relief dating to the 2nd-3rd century AD as the centrepiece of their TEFAF Maastricht display from March 10-18.
I dont recall such an ivory piece of this quality and size being on the market for a long while, says the firms managing director Martin Clist.
Depicting a drunken Papa Silenos supported by two naked satyrs accompanied by a torch-lit procession before the temple with the palm tree in the background, the scene is complete with figures in a frenzied dance, while a woman sleeps to the left of the view.
Describing the 9.5 x 15.5cm piece as a scene of extraordinary intensity, Clist believes it could have come from a piece of furniture or a casket.
The preservation of ancient ivory is uncommon, as an organic material it can easily decay. The material was then, as now, seen as a material of luxury and therefore would have been attached to something of high value.
It is a sizeable section of ivory too, and although consolidated in the early 1920s is very well preserved. The workmanship is of remarkably high quality. The subtlety of the carving is wonderful, Clist adds.
It also comes from a great collection, that of Giorgio Sangiorgi (1885-1965), where it arrived as a gift from his friend Giacomo Boni in 1927, a donation recorded in Sangiorgis private diary.
Many pieces from the collection (much of it glass) can now been found in museum collections.
The relief will appear on stand 426 at TEFAF Maastricht, where Charles Ede will be asking 110,000 for it.