Rare, rhinoceros horn cup smashes auction estimates
Large and rare carved rhinoceros horn cup, Ming Dynasty, 16th /17th century, estimated to sell between 180,000—220,000 USD sold for 506,500 USD after a heated bidding war at Sotheby’s Tuesday March 23rd. The cup is a little over 18 cm in diameter and is imbued with a beautiful texture and honey-gold tones. Jan Chapman, in The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 60, notes that the natural yellow and honey colors are probably the result of the natural aging process of the horn, and some of the earliest known carvings are described as being yellow in color. - Sotheby’s
image courtesy of Sotheby's 2010
The world’s oldest sculpture found in Germany
An ivory sculpture of a woman estimated to have been made at least 35,000 years ago was found in a cave in 2008. The discovery, which was only recently made public, was made German archaeologists during excavations at Hohle Fels, close to Scheklingen, Germany. Scientists believe this could be the world’s oldest known reproduction of a human being.
Christie’s auction of Chinese Art on 18th and 19th March 2009 was a huge success, achieving $10.87 million and selling 99.5 per cent of lots. The auction included part of the extraordinary Arthur M. Sackler collection encompassing a range of Chinese art from Shang bronzes of the 12th century B.C. to Qing porcelain of the 19th century. A definite highlight of the auction was this very rare and important painted white marble Buddhist votile stele, which sold for $1,728,900, despite its estimate of between $300,000 - $500,000.
Christie’s London sale of “Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds” fared less well realising a total of $3.95 million, due to a lack of quality work in the latter auction. The supply of rare and quality works, those most likely to fetch high prices at auction, is drying up in many antiquities markets aside from Chinese antiquities.
Christie’s Images Ltd. 2009
Antiquities dating from the fifth to third centuries B.C., that were excavated or acquired in the late 19th century by French archaeologist Louis-Gagriel Bellon, went to auction in Vannes in Brittany on the 3rd April 2009. Museum representatives and dealers from all over the world came to bid on the 373 lots, many of which had not been seen since 1915. The auction raised an outstanding €3.5 million, extraordinary against its estimate of just €400,000 - €500,000.