This blog is a electronic museum of my collections of antiquities, ethnographic, first editions, retro pottery from the 1950's to early 1970's, shell, mineral and gemstone samples,fossils and other wonderful things! Comments are welcome on the objects including advice which will add to my own wonderment and knowledge.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Roman Handled Cup circa 3rd-4th century AD, CYPRUS

Provenance: ex Cyrus, ex deceased collection and estate of Graham Futter Esquire, Winterton, Norfolk, UK
Circa: 3rd-4th century AD
Age: Approx.1,700 years old
Size: 10.5 cm height / 8.2 cm diameter
Condition: Excellent with soil accretions. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Shunga Dynasty Red Clay Rhyton in the form of a horse, circa 200-100BC, Indus Valley

Provenance: ex Private collection and Melbourne Sales Rooms
Circa: 200-100BC
Age: Approx.2,000 years old
Size: 10.5 cm/diameter 9.2 cm 
Condition: Fragment, mounted for modern display.

A rhyton (plural rhytons or, following the Greek plural, rhyta) is a container from which fluids were intended to be drunk, or else poured in some ceremony such as libation. The English word rhyton originates in the ancient Greek word ῥυτόν (rhŭtón). 
The conical rhyton form was known in the Aegean region since the Bronze Age; i.e., the 2nd millennium BC. However, it was by no means confined to there. Similar in form to, and perhaps originating from, the drinking horn, it has been widespread over Eurasia since prehistoric times.
Around 185 B.C., Pushyamitra Shunga, the principal military officer of the last Mauryan king, assassinated his ruler and assumed control. Because the Shungas were the successors to the Mauryans, the period following Mauryan rule is often called the Shunga period. However, except at the beginning, Shunga was not as extensive as the earlier realm but coexisted with other polities throughout the subcontinent. The period saw a flowering of the visual arts, including small terracotta images, larger stone sculptures, and architectural monuments such as the chaitya hall at Bhaja, the stupa at Bharhut, and the renowned Great Stupa at Sanchi. 

Sung Dynasty Brown Glazed Pottery Bowl, circa 960-1279 AD, CHINA

Provenance: ex Private collection and Melbourne Sales Rooms
Circa: 960 - 1279 AD
Age: Approx.750 years old
Size: 13.9 cm/diameter 5.0 cm 
Condition: Excellent

Chinese ceramics of the Sung Dynasty (960-1279) constitute perhaps the foremost expression of ceramic art, not only in China but in all the world. During the Sung period, a unity of the essential components fundamental to the art: vessel shape, potting techniques, glaze, decoration, firing processes, and aesthetic theory were all combined in a high standard of excellence.

In general, the shapes of Sung dynasty are simple and sedate by comparison to what preceded them and what was to follow. Likewise, the glazes tend to be monochromatic and subtle, a fluid, integral part of the form of the vessel they cover, with a depth of color and texture that invites the spectator to both touch and contemplate.

Sung aesthetic sophistication was matched by an incredible inventiveness, which led to a variety of classic wares, usually associated with a specific region of China. These included the court-patronized Lung-ch'uan celadons, Kuan and Ju porcelains, Ting ware, Northern celadons, as well as the more pedestrian Tz'u-chou ware, Ch'ing-pai ware, and the compelling varieties of Chün and Chien stoneware. Several of these regional ceramic wares were so valued during their day that they were used as tribute and yearly taxes to the imperial court. In terms of technical expertise, inventiveness, and aesthetic perfection of glaze and shape, the Sung period stands unrivaled for the quality of its ceramic ware.

Pre-Colombian pottery vessel, circa 600-1200 AD, COSTA RICA

Provenance: ex Lillian Hoffman collection (Deceased Estate) Sydney
Circa: 600 - 1200 AD
Age: Approx.800 to 1400 years old
Size: 6.5 cm/diameter 11.0 cm 
Condition: Excellent

This exquisite little pottery vessel as an applied figural decoration of a crab which bespeaks the importance of the sea and surrounding waters including fresh water to the Pre-Colombians.

Pre-Colombian Pottery Vessel, circa 1st -5th century AD, COSTA RICA

Provenance: ex Lillian Hoffman collection (Deceased Estate) Sydney
Circa: 1st to 5th century AD
Age: Approx.2000 to 1500 years old
Size: 8.4cm/diameter 11.6cm 
Condition: Fair to Good 

This wonderful little pottery jar is decorated with applied animal heads which look like jaguars or some sort of other jungle cat.

Lillian Hoffman born in America but lived in Australia was a keen collector and philanthropist and a multi million dollar heiress

Ancient Bead Necklace 1st Millennium BC to 20th century AD, CENTRAL & SE ASIA

Provenance: ex Christies Antiquities Auctions, Melbourne
Circa: First Millenium BC to 20th Century AD
Age: Approx. Differing ages but span from 3,000 years old to modern times.
Size: 50 cm long
Condition: Excellent

This incredibly beautiful and evocative necklace is composed of beads that span over 3,000 years of human history.

The beads themselves have been strung together on cotton with modern Afghani Gold spacer beads and clasp fittings.

The beads are as follows:
Smallest: Coloured Iron Age glass beads, Ban Chiang Thailand circa 1000-800 BC
Next: Large Faceted Agate Beads,circa 19th century Afghanistan
Next: large Islamic Glass beads in a blood red hue, 10th-12th century Persia
Next (Largest): Ancient amber beads measuring aprox 3.8cm across with insect and plant inclusions traded in from the Baltic to central Asia circa 450 AD - 800AD

Qing Dynasty Blue and White Porcelain Tea-Cup, circa 1850, CHINA

Provenance: Antiquities Sales Room, Melbourne, Australia
Circa: 19th century AD 
Age: Approx. 170 years old
Size: 6.5cm in height x 6.5cm in diameter
Condition: Excellent

Beautiful and delicate lue and white hand painted design showing a scholar fishing.

Chinese Folk Art Ceramic Bowl, Circa 19th - Early 20th Century, China

Provenance: Antiquities Sale, Melbourne
Circa: 19th -20th century AD
Age: Approx. 150-215 years old
Size: 18.5cm x 6cm in height
Condition: Good to Excellent

The beautiful free-form painting depicts a stylised bird with flowers and calligraphy.

Inside the bowl is intriguing. It has an incised 'w' shape near the flower decoration. To this day I have no idea what that 'w' represents.

Blue and White Charger Swatow (Zhangzhou) Export Ware, Recovered from the Bin Thuan Shipwreck, Vietnam 16th Century AD

Provenance: Bin Thuan Shipwreck, Vietnam, ex Christies Auctions, Melbourne
Circa: 16th century AD 
Age: Approx. 550 years old
Size: 27cm
Condition: Large chip to the rim, under-firing natural crack to the base, underwater encrustation also evident.

Chinese Sawtow (Zhangzhou) Export Ware Large Charger (Dish) with a bird and floral blue and white painted decoration. Circa 16th Century AD recovered from the famous Bin Thuan Shipwreck, off the coast of Vietnam.

Swawtow Export ware is believed to have been mainly made for the large Chinese expatriate communities spread through-out South East Asia. Sawtow Ware is generally coarse, crudely potted and often under-fired producing cracks in the base amongst other things.