Gods and Men: Ancient Sculpture Highlights

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Launch Slideshow

The upcoming auction of Ancient Sculpture & Works of Art in London on 29 November includes a broad spectrum of objects, from Classical Greece and Rome to Ancient Egypt and the Near East. With a wide range of estimates, the sale will present an opportunity for first-time buyers as well as seasoned collectors. Click ahead to see highlights from the sale.

Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art
29 November 2017 | 2:00pm GMT | London

Gods and Men: Ancient Sculpture Highlights

  • A Roman Marble Funerary Altar inscribed for Mystes and Dorius, 1st Century A.D. Estimate: £40,000–60,000.
    The refined carving of this funerary altar, dedicated to the slave of a prominent family in Rome, is typical of the early years of the Roman Empire. Just below the inscription is a she-wolf with the twins Romulus and Remus, a central motif in the myth of Rome’s foundation. The altar has an extraordinary provenance, including two illustrious Roman collections the Duke of Bedford’s collection at Southampton House in Bloomsbury Square, London.



     



    Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art
    29 November 2017 | 2:00pm GMT | London

  • A Roman Marble Head of Ganymede, circa 1st Century A.D. Estimate: £250,000–350,000.
    The first known owner of this finely carved Roman marble head of Ganymede, a beautiful youth whom Zeus abducted in the form of an eagle, is the renowned Parisian antiquarian and art dealer Arthur Sambon. The superior workmanship, crispness and sensitivity of the carving all suggest that it is a Roman replica in marble of an as-yet-unknown Greek bronze original of the 4th Century B.C.



     



    Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art
    29 November 2017 | 2:00pm GMT | London

  • A Marble Sigma-shaped Table with Relief Border depicting the Birth of Aphrodite and a Marine Thiasos, circa 490-530 A.D. Estimate: £400,000–600,000.
    Early Byzantine table tops with relief decoration were produced by various workshops along the Eastern Mediterranean during a period of around 40 years sometimes known as the Theodosian Renaissance. Sigma-tables were designed to be used with a stibadium, a semi-circular dining couch that wrapped around the rounded end of the table to accommodate several diners. The present table is the most complete of all known Byzantine marble table tops with relief-decorated borders, almost entirely preserved except for a few fragments in the central flat area.



     



    Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art
    29 November 2017 | 2:00pm GMT | London

  • A Large Bronze Figure of Osiris, 21st/22nd Dynasty, 1075-716 B.C. £50,000–70,000.
    Osiris, Egyptian God of the dead and ruler of the underworld, is depicted here shrouded in a cloak, holding a crook and flail, and wearing the atef-crown decorated with the long undulating uraeus, a stylised snake motif used as a symbol of royalty in ancient Egypt. This stunning sculpture has a prestigious provenance, as it was part of the collection of the founder of the Toledo Museum of Art Edward Drummond Libbey and was acquired from the American dealer Ralph Huntington Blanchard in 1906.



     



    Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art
    29 November 2017 | 2:00pm GMT | London

  • A fragmentary onyx cameo of Athena Parthenos, circa 1st Century A.D., or later. Estimate: £12,000–18,000.
    The present cameo is one of the most controversial classical cameos in existence, variously dated to the early 1st Century A.D. or to the 18th Century, but certainly one of the most exquisitely executed renderings of the goddess Athena. It is a welcome addition to the monuments documenting the lost cult statue of Athena Parthenos created by Phidias for the Parthenon in Athens.



     



    Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art
    29 November 2017 | 2:00pm GMT | London

  • A South Arabian Funerary Stele Representing a Priestess or Goddess, Qatabān, circa late 1st century B.C. Estimate: £30,000–50,000.
    This type of stele belongs to a group of funerary monuments, of which about thirty examples are known, both fragmentary and intact, in various Yemeni and Western museums (British Museum in London, Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, etc.), as well as in private collections. It has a provenance going back to 1958, when it was discovered in Yemen by Captain John Aylward, whose collection was sold at Sotheby’s starting in the 1970s.



     



    Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art
    29 November 2017 | 2:00pm GMT | London

  • A Roman Marble Strigillated Lion Breakfast Sarcophagus, Rome, circa 260-280 A.D., with 18th Century Restorations. Estimate: £60,000–80,000.
    This is a unique example of two ancient sarcophagus relief fragments that have been inserted into a fully reconstructed 18th Century sarcophagus. Each fragment represents a lion hunting and pinning its prey down, in one case a wild boar. These scenes do not represent what we are used to seeing in nature documentaries. Instead, they are direct allusions to the wild beast shows held in Rome in the amphitheatre, where various wild animals were pitted against each other.



     



    Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art
    29 November 2017 | 2:00pm GMT | London

  • A Roman Black Marble Herm Head of Hermes, circa 2nd Century A.D. Estimate: £35,000–45,000.
    The only other known Roman replica of this head is in Brussels, in the Musées Royaux d'Art & d'Histoire. The original Greek bronze sculpture which both of these examples are reproducing is dated to the third quarter of the 4th Century B.C. In the case of the present head, the sculptor has chosen a dark-green stone, which, from a distance looks very much like bronze.



     



    Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art
    29 November 2017 | 2:00pm GMT | London

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