Saturday, 24 April 2021

Auction Watch. A "Timeline" to Where? Timeline Auction 25th May 2021 "Western Asiatic Finial with Standing Figures"

            Timeline 'thingy'*                


Timeline Auction 25th May 2021 LOT 1211 "Western Asiatic Finial with Standing Figures" Western Asiatic Finial with Standing Figures (Estimate GBP (£) 400 - 600)
Western Asiatic Finial with Standing Figures
1st millennium BC
A conical finial developing to standing opposing figures, the female with applied breasts and pinched head, the male with applied facial details holding her forearms and connected to her by a rod (penis?); mounted on a custom-made stand. 140 grams total, 14.5cm including stand (5 3/4"). Fair condition.

Provenance
From an important central London collection formed since the mid 1960s; thence by descent.
Not so sure about the conical in this laconic condition statement and description, certainly comical. "He" is standing on her, and if they are united by a penis, it is "hers". "An important London collection" (no matter "from when" it was created) means nothing in terms of legal excavation and legal export from (somewhere in) "Western Asia" - if you look, Mr Hammond tends to use this term as a synonym for (to avoid saying) "Mesopotamia". Since he gave up trading live birds, Mr Hammond has learnt the evasive jargon of the antiquities trade. He uses here the word "finial", not because he knows how it was used in the past for lack of excavated parallels, but because he knows "thingy" does not sound very professional. What kind of patina is that?

Hat tip Prof Erin Thompson.
* Image © TimeLine Auctions Limited, fair use for  purposes of comment or criticism for non-profit educational purposes. 

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