Christie's presents series of antiquities sales

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Christie's presents series of antiquities sales
An Egyptian Bronze Cat. Ptolemaic Period. Circa 332-30 B.C. 14¾ in. (37.4 cm.) high Estimate: $700,000-900,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2022.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s New York presents two Antiquities sales, featuring an impressive selection of works from across the ancient world, representing Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Egyptian and Near Eastern cultures from the 4th millennium B.C. to the 10th century A.D. These exciting sales take place as Christie’s New York celebrates Classic Week through 25 April with a total of four sales including European Art, Antiquities and Books & Manuscripts.


The week of Antiquities sales leads off with a live auction of 134 lots, at Rockefeller Plaza. Atop the list of notable offerings is a superb Egyptian Bronze Cat that dates from the Ptolemaic period, circa 332-30 B.C. (estimate: $700,000-900,000). This lively and graceful object is part of an important group of bronze feline sculptures that can be found in a handful of distinguished museum collections. A magnificent example, it achieves an especially lifelike effect through natural details, including expressive eyes, tufts of hair incised on the interior of alert ears, and an incised multi-strand broad collar with a pendant suspended from a cord.

Another outstanding offering was recently identified as a work of great rarity with a fascinating history: a Sasanian Sardonyx Cameo with a Portrait Bust of King Narseh, reign 293-303 A.D., (estimate: $600,000-800,000). The practice of cutting cameos – gemstones carved in raised relief – was invented during the Hellenistic Period and adopted by the Sasanian culture in Mesopotamia from the Romans. The Portrait Bust of King Narseh is one of the highest expressions of the gem carver’s art; the only known Sasanian Empire cameo in rectangular form to survive antiquity; and one of a small number of objects to depict Narseh, the seventh king of the Sasanian Empire. This piece belonged to Jean-Pierre Collot (1774-1852), an intimate and supporter of Napoleon Bonaparte. It is framed in gold and diamonds dating from the 19th century, and sits in a box with a coat of arms of the Collot family.

Other highlights of the sale include, an impressive group of Greek and Roman helmets from a Distinguished Private Collection, including A Greek Bronze Corinthian Helmet, Late Archaic Period to Early Classical Period, Circa 525-475 B.C., (estimate: $100,000-150,000); and A Roman Marble Torso Of Silvanus, Circa 2nd Century A.D., (estimate: $100,000-150,000).


The strong week of Antiquities offerings ends with an outstanding online sale, Part III of Masterpieces in Miniature: Ancient Engraved Gems Formerly in the G. Sangiorgi Collection. This selection of 48 lots spans the Greek, Roman and Etruscan worlds from 1700 B.C.-3rd century A.D., in addition to later European examples, the sale comprises the most sought-after and captivating intaglios and cameos of the ancient world that still remain in private hands. The gems presented here once formed part of a much larger collection assembled by Giorgio Sangiorgi (1886-1965), an important Roman dealer, scholar and connoisseur, who operated a gallery in the Palazzo Borghese. Fearful of the impending world war in the late 1930s, he moved his collection to Switzerland, where it has remained since.

Highlights of the sale include, A Greek Gray Chalcedony Scaraboid With A Sow, Classical Period, Circa 475-450 B.C., (estimate: $20,000-30,000), which is superbly engraved, with an unusual domed profile. Another outstanding lot, is A Roman Garnet Ringstone With Diomedes, Imperial period, circa Late 1st Century B.C.-1st Century A.D., (estimate: $20,000-30,000). Superbly engraved on this convex ringstone is the well-known myth of Diomedes stealing the cult statue of Athena, known as the Palladion, from Troy.

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