Some antiquities I haven't previously posted

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I've posted quite a few photos here of objects from my antiquities collection, most recently in the thread about the closing of the Royal Athena Gallery, and also several times in the "Aside from Coins, Do You Have Any Other Hobbies" thread.

    But there are still a number I've never posted, mostly on the smaller side. But at least as large as my ancient coins! So I thought I'd use this thread to post some more artifacts from time to time. Here are a few.

    Egypt, pale blue Faience Amulet of Bastet, 26th Dynasty to Ptolemaic Period, circa 663-300 BCE. 34 mm. high. Purchased from Harmer Rooke Numismatists Ltd., New York City, Feb. 26, 1990.

    Bastet front 1.jpg

    Bastet Right 2.jpg

    bastet Left 1.jpg

    Greece, 4th Century BCE. Terracotta "Tanagra" head [reference is to Tanagra, Boeotia] of young woman. 39 mm. high (plus peg is an additional 16 mm.), 32 mm. from front to back of head. Purchased 1998.

    Greek female terracotta Tanagra head, face forward, slightly right (example 2).jpg

    Greek Terracotta Tanagra head female, left profile.jpg

    Greek Terracotta Tanagra head, female, right profile.jpg

    Greek terracotta Tanagra head, female, with peg.jpg

    Greece, 5th-4th Century BCE, terracotta head of old man (comic/grotesque), 32 mm. high, 38 mm. from front to back of head. Purchased 1998.

    Greek terracotta head of old man (comic grotesque), face forward, three-quarters.jpg

    Greek Terracotta comic head (grotesque) of old man, right profile.jpg

    Greek terracotta head of comic old man (grotesque), profile left.jpg

    More to come.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    Those antiquities are fascinating @Donna, I like very much the faience amulet of Bastet. Impressive. I am always impressed how the ancients could make such marvelous and unique objects of art and without the technology and tools we see nowadays. In my opinion the ancients are unsurpassed. I do have a few ancients from my dad, but haven't taken pictures. When I have pictures I will be glad to share them :)
    Bob L., +VGO.DVCKS, Limes and 2 others like this.
  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Some more:

    Greek terracotta head of old man (comic grotesque), face forward.jpg

    Greece, 4th/3rd Century BCE, Terracotta head of young woman with long neck and with elaborate coiffure, wearing stephane[?]. 3" high. Purchased 2018. Ex. Christie's (date unknown).

    Ancient Greek Terracotta Head of Woman Detail 2.jpg

    Ancient Greek Terracotta Head of Woman Detail 4.jpg

    Ancient Greek Terracotta Head of Woman Detail 3.jpg

    Egypt, 26th Dynasty, ca. 525 BCE. faience plaque of Amset (a/k/a Imset, Imsety), the human-headed son of Horus (one of four sons of Horus usually portrayed together; see four sons of Horus,, Duamutef, Hapi, Qebehsenuef). 1 3/4" high. Purchased from Harmer Rooke Numismatists, NYC, Jan. 7, 1983.

    Together with:

    Egypt, circa 600 BCE, Turquoise Blue Faience Djed Pillar (see, 30 mm. high. Purchased April 27, 2009.

    Amset Plaque & Djed Pillar.jpg

    New Amset Plaque.jpg

    Djed pillar 3.jpg

    Syria or Anatolia, ca. 800-600 BCE, bronze figure of antelope or ibex, 30 mm. H x 30 mm. L. Purchased May 18, 2009; ex. Netherlands collector, 1970s.

    Bronze Ibex facing 1.jpg

    Bronze ibex R1.jpg

    Bronze Ibex L1.jpg

    That's it for today.

    Please feel free to post your own artifacts and other objects you haven't shown before, preferably but not necessarily ancient.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  5. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Thanks, @DonnaML , I really enjoy your antiquities.
    +VGO.DVCKS, Orfew and DonnaML like this.
  6. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Nice figurines, Donna. I still have a few pieces left from Colosseum Coin Exchange I purchased (bidding actually) many years ago. This small Cypriot stone head is crude but cute, supposed to be of Archaic style.
    As a comparison, a Hellenistic bronze vessel leg, showing a more "sad face" theatre mask.
    I also have a tiny (about 1-1/2") Near Eastern red stone seal with some sort of ancient script writing that I am no idea what it means. Acquired just for curiosity...
    I had plans years ago to buy a small bronze Egyptian cat, but that didn't materialize... I like your Egyptian Faience Bastet Amulet. :)
  7. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    All very cool, but I especially like your vessel leg in the form of a sad-faced theater mask.
    happy_collector likes this.
  8. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    My apologies: all those references to measurements of artifacts being between 30 and 40 "cm." were, of course, supposed to be to mm. I have fixed them.
    Alegandron likes this.
  9. Egry

    Egry Supporter! Supporter

    @DonnaML i really like the bronze antelope. Very cool.
    DonnaML likes this.
  10. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    Here is an item from my small collection of antiquities. It is an Anglo-Saxon silver fibula (or brooch), with gilded sections and cabochons. The piece dates to the first half of the 6th century. Note the four beast heads (Woden?), with the lower one apparently exhaling (which would link it etymologically to the name Woden). The fibula is completely intact apart from one missing cabochon and the iron pin, which has rusted away. (Bought from a UK antiques dealer "Trinity Antiques" with export licence in c2010).

    Screenshot 2021-01-25 at 10.09.39.png

    The nose-eyebrows part of the faces reminds me, of what is believed to be a representation of the Irminsul from the Externsteine in Germany. The Irminsul (Yggdrasil the world tree) was the most important cultic centre of the continental Saxons, before it was destroyed by Charlemagne during his Saxon wars:

    Screenshot 2021-01-25 at 10.21.38.png
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  11. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Wow Donna, those pieces are very nice indeed.
    DonnaML likes this.
  12. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @DonnaML........Wow some beautiful pieces!...Love the faience and antelope...
    My only collecting area outside of coins are Fibulas....
    Roman Trumpet Fibula 50mm 3rd Century AD Bronze.
    FIB3 BLACK.jpg
    Roman Plate Fibula also known as a Disc Brooch (Bronze 32mm Diameter)
    Not popular outside of the Roman provinces and used around 1st/2nd Century AD
    Probably had a coloured inlay..
    FIB4 BLACK.jpg
  13. jdmKY

    jdmKY Well-Known Member

    B58DD2E6-2128-4B51-A83C-85D982DE9EAB.jpeg 97567325-4B56-44AE-9FC4-63A29BB3EDA6.jpeg 27C567D7-22BB-42BE-A090-9D52357AF3F5.jpeg

    @DonnaML - I love your antiquities! Here are a few of mine acquired over the years.
    john65999, tibor, akeady and 22 others like this.
  14. jdmKY

    jdmKY Well-Known Member

    This in en route from Hixenbaugh in NY. Can’t wait to display it in my home! 4FF0FFBC-52DA-4BE6-9A82-A12B30167D87.jpeg
    tibor, Curtis, Theodosius and 14 others like this.
  15. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Wow -- that's fantastic! I remember seeing that on the Hixenbaugh website. I don't know if you've dealt with Randy Hixenbaugh before, but he's very reputable and knowledgeable, and has been around for a long time. (His CV is on the website.) I first made a purchase from him about 15 years ago. As I've mentioned, he might be considered a successor to Royal Athena here in New York City, not only figuratively, but also literally in the sense that he was chosen to liquidate a portion of the remaining Royal Athena inventory.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
    +VGO.DVCKS and jdmKY like this.
  16. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    +VGO.DVCKS and jdmKY like this.
  17. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    That's wonderful! I wonder how it was specifically pinpointed to such a narrow time-frame. Really quite early in the Anglo-Saxon invasion -- or largely peaceful migration of farmers, as some would characterize it.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  18. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Those are very attractive fibulas (fibulae?). I've often been tempted to start buying fibulas, but haven't yet. It would be a completely new area for me, and I know I'd have to be very sure of purchasing only from reputable dealers given how often they're faked (something that should be familiar to any ancient coin collector)!
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
    Spaniard likes this.
  19. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Here are a few more, all from Ancient Egypt, ranging from one I've had for a long time to one I bought very recently.

    This ushabti has no inscription (by contrast to one I've posted before with a translated inscription attributing it to the general Hor-em-achbit), and its body is quite worn, but it has always very much appealed to me because of the amazing detail of its face and beard. (Before I bought it, a photo of it was actually used by the dealer in its Yellow Pages listing, back when such things as Yellow Pages still existed!)

    Egypt, 26th (Saite) Dynasty (664–525 BCE), green faience Ushabti, 4 1/4" high. Purchased from Harmer, Rooke Numismatists, Ltd., New York City, Nov. 8, 1982.

    Inside the bell jar where I keep it:

    Detail Ushabti Harmer Rooke 1982, no inscription, in bell jar (2).jpg

    Harmer Rooke faience ushabti.jpg

    With the inscribed ushabti and my bronze Osiris, both of which I've posted previously.

    2 Egyptian Faience Ushabtis, & a Bronze Osiris.jpg

    A more recent purchase:

    Egypt, ca. 600-332 BCE, faience amulet of god Khnum (the creator of the bodies of human children, which he made at a potter's wheel, from clay, and placed in their mothers' wombs) in form of ram, 1 1/2" long. Purchased Jan. 10, 2021.

    Khnum amulet photo 1.jpg

    Khnum amulet photo 2.jpg

    Ancient Egypt, Late New Kingdom (18th-19th Dynasty), steatite scarab of two Antilopids, mother and baby. 18 mm. Purchased from Harmer, Rooke Numismatists, Ltd., New York City, Feb. 27, 1989.

    Steatite scarab - Antilipids 1.jpg
    Egypt, ca. 1700 BCE, steatite scarab with untranslated hieroglyphs, 17 mm. Purchased April 27, 2009.

    Egyptian scarab 2.jpg

    Egypt, Late Dynastic Period (1085-332 BCE), green faience amulet of baboon [with man's body?] leaning on pillar, representing Thoth (god of wisdom, writing, hieroglyphs, science, magic, art, judgment, and the dead). 1 3/8" high. Purchased from Royal Athena Galleries, New York City, Mar. 29, 1986.

    Bronze baboon facing 2.jpg

    bronze baboon R2.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
    tibor, Curtis, Theodosius and 14 others like this.
  20. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Those are wonderful antiquities, Donna. I especially like the grotesque bust. I was unaware that such sculptures were done in antiquity. It has an almost modern appearance in terms of style.

    What criteria do you use when acquiring these objects? Are focusing on a particular region or period?

    I'm in awe. I only have a couple of antiquates, since I have really not actively bought them. If there's any area that I used to collect, that is jade, and jadeite carvings, some old, some pretty modern.

    Thank for sharing these wonderful works of historical art.

    Attached Files:

  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I am very much not an expert, but as I understand it, grotesque terracotta figures like mine, often portraying old men, were very popular in Ancient Greece, especially in the Hellenistic period, and have been variously interpreted as being inspired by comic figures on the stage, and/or as having apotropaic functions, and/or as being purely decorative. See the many photographs of such figures in the dissertation entitled "Hellenistic grotesque terracotta figurines, Problems of iconographical interpretation," at See also this discussion, accompanied by many photos, at, of "Grotesque terracotta figurines and their uses." arguing for the apotropaic interpretation:

    "As we will see, by utilizing an ugly, non-canonical form, many objects could have an apotropaic function. From the fourth century B.C.E onwards, small-scale sculpture developed a rich repertoire of ridiculous and grotesque types that set a trajectory different from public and conspicuously visible art. The so-called grotesques were an enhancement of the Hellenistic interest in the human body and its weakness and imperfections by depicting ill and deformed individuals. Their variety ranges from representations of clinically diagnosable deformities to exaggerated physical abnormalities (fig. 4).24 According to Giuliani, bronze and terracotta figurines of this kind were life-like representations of beggars and others who gathered at big feasts in temples or at the houses of the wealthy. In the latter case, they indicated the importance and wealth of the host because the more beggars attracted to an event the greater the fortune of the event organizer. By implication, the bronze and terracotta portraits of these marginal people could have become symbols and charms of good luck that would have been placed in private houses.

    Many grotesque representations, however, did not arise from the Hellenistic world of feasts and symposia and depict different sorts of deformities, as the example at hand demonstrates.26 Terracotta figurines developed differently because of their suitability and openness to non-canonical forms, but much also has to do with their use. Some of the Hellenistic or Greco-Roman figurines have a loop on their back that indicates that they were to be suspended or worn as an amulet.27 These types of objects are described by ancient sources as a baskanion, or charm.28 Pollux29 says that the term was used for ridiculous figurines (geloia tina), made by blacksmiths and served to turn away envy (epi phthonou apotrope) – note that he uses the word apotropein to describe their function. These figurines, according to Phrynichos,30 were also suspended by the artisans themselves to protect their own work. Furthermore, we read in the Vita Aesopi that the deformed Aesop was considered a baskanion by the other slaves, who thought their master had bought him for that purpose.31 Fear of the evil eye, according to Plutarch, seems to have been the most common impetus for the use of this kind of apotropaion: “When those possessed by envy (phthonos) to this degree let their glance fall upon a person, their eyes, which are close to the mind and draw from it the evil influence and passion, then assail that person as if with poisoned arrows; hence, I conclude, it is not paradoxical or incredible that they should have an effect on the persons who encounter their gaze… What I have said shows why the so-called amulets (probaskania) are thought to be a protection against malice. The strange look of them (atopia) attracts the gaze, so that it exerts less pressure upon its victim.”32 Varro also mentions the connection between the ugly (turpicula), and the unfavorable (scaevus), but those meanings can change to favorable, he says, when the object is used as an amulet.3"

    In terms of criteria, my decisions to buy artifacts have always been based on their visual appeal to me, and on my ability to afford them, with no organized plan or goals in my collection. Thus, although I probably have more Ancient Egyptian antiquities than anything else, I also have quite a few Greek antiquities (with a special fondness for small Attic black-figure lekythoi, and small Apulian and other South Italian vessels, red-figure and otherwise) and Roman antiquities (I like small Roman bronzes), as well as a very small number of Ancient Near Eastern antiquities such as the cuneiform tablet and small bronze antelope I posted above. In all cases, I try to buy only from reputable and well-established dealers, not only to avoid fakes, but to avoid any hint of illegal importation of looted artifacts -- not that it's really so much of a concern in my price range.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page