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Artemis Gallery presents fresh-to-market classical antiquities, ethnographic and folk art in auction
19th-century Naga (northern India) leather headhunter’s bag with monkey skulls, est. $2,500-$3,500. All images courtesy Artemis Gallery.


BOULDER, COLO.- The art and relics of ancient cultures are unique as a collecting category, in that they never lack a following and never become less rare. If anything, the fascination for premium-quality antiquities only continues to grow while the supply seems only to diminish.

“There are no warehouse finds within our area of specialty,” said Teresa Dodge, co-founder and executive director of Artemis Gallery, which will host an August 3 auction of cultural treasures from around the world.

The sale opens with a Classical Greek and Roman selection. Lot 5, a 17¾-inch-tall bale-handled pottery amphora is decorated in red-figure technique with depictions of a warrior standing before an altar on one side and a gowned female holding vessels on the other side. Of quintessential Campanian style, the amphora dates to circa 340-325 BCE and is estimated at $5,000-$7,000.

Lot 9A, a glorious carved white marble head of Aphrodite/Venus, Roman, circa 1st to 2nd century CE, is sensitively modeled to emphasize the goddess’ almond-shape eyes, bow-shape lips and loose chignon. Presented on a custom-crafted stand, the exquisite carving of a timeless beauty is entered in the auction with an $18,000-$25,000 estimate.

Ancient arms enjoy a loyal following in Artemis Gallery’s sales. The August 3rd event showcases Lot 16A, a superb 35-inch-long Luristan bronze sword dating to circa 1000 BCE. Nomadic horsemen were known to have carried swords of this type and often were buried with them, which may explain why the pommel on this particular sword was embellished with naturalistic depictions of horses’ hooves. Estimate: $3,500-$5,000.

Among the most extraordinary pieces ever auctioned by Artemis Gallery, Lot 23B is a mid to late 19th-century Naga (northern India) leather headhunter’s bag decorated with four monkey skulls. A very rare find that was formerly part of a Los Angeles private collection, the cultural curiosity is expected to make $2,500-$3,500.

Lot 31, a Chinese Tang Dynasty (628-907 CE) bronze vase with stunning bright turquoise patina is nearly identical to an example held in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “This vase was most likely the property of a wealthy person, and its fine condition suggests that it may ultimately have been chosen for use as a funerary object, perhaps to be filled with wine or oil,” Dodge noted. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000. Another Tang Dynasty rarity, Lot 30A is a remarkably well-preserved bronze mirror with finely decorated Chinese characters and marks, estimate $3,000-$5,000.

A wealth of fascinating Pre-Columbian relics and artworks includes such highlights as Lot 63, a 14K gold, hollow-cast shaman figure from the Quimbaya area of Columbia, est. $4,000-$6,000; and Lot 78A, an important circa 550-900 CE Mayan polychrome cylinder from the Peten region of Guatemala, $7,000-$9,000. Boasting a line of provenance that includes the collection of the late horror-film star Vincent Price, Lot 72 is a starkly realistic Veracruz pottery mask estimated at $1,500-$2,000.

The Spanish Colonial section is led by Lot 98A, an 18th-century silver-on-wood pendant of a cross with a bas-relief stylized figure of Christ above a skull and crossbones, est. $800-$1,200; and Lot 99, a colorful 19th-century Mexican folk retablo representing “The Cross of Souls,” est. $800-$1,200. Lot 105A, a large pair of 20th-century Bolivian sterling silver angel wings weighs in excess of 1000 grams. Each wing was meticulously hand-hammered, chased and molded in repousse fashion. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000.

Part II of a 1,000-piece collection of primarily Central and South American folk art will be featured, with a portion of the proceeds earmarked to benefit The Fowler Museum at UCLA. “Collectors were very enthusiastic about Part I of the collection, which was a highlight of our July 14th auction,” said Dodge. “We’ve already had a lot of interest from those same bidders. There are some real experts among them, and they know from years of experience in the field just how exceptional this collection is.”

Lot 229, a two-piece figure of a Nino Santo seated in a chair, was carved circa 1960-’70 by National Heritage Fellowship recipient George Lopez. Formerly in the Himrod collection of Santa Monica, Calif., it is estimated at $800-$1,500. One of the many items whose sale will benefit the Fowler Museum is Lot 195, a 20th-century Guatemalan painted-wood bull mask. With its intimidating facial features, the attractively patinated mask likely would have been used in a “Dance of the Devils.” Its estimate is $300-$600.

As is the case with all Artemis Gallery auctions, each and every item offered is unconditionally guaranteed to be authentic, as described, and legal to acquire according to federal guidelines. A certificate of authenticity will accompany each purchase.

Bidders may participate in Artemis Gallery’s Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016 auction live online, by phone (please reserve phone line in advance) or by leaving an absentee bid that will be lodged confidentially and competitively on their behalf. The sale begins at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Bid absentee or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com.






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