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Buy Now (3 Items)

by Sands of Time Ancient Art

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Asian Art & Antiques (2)
  Chinese Horse Statues (1)
  Indian & South Asian Sculpture (1)
Decorative Art (1)
  Greek Antiquities (1)
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A Lively Terracotta Prancing Horse, China, Tang Dynasty, 618-907 AD

Ships From: Washington, DC US

Description: From the Fongxian area of Shangxi Province in North Central China, comes the largest of prancing horses made during the Tang Dynasty. Their incredibly strong necks, aquiline heads and beautifully rounded and defined bodies make them among the most sought after style from any region. This spirited example is portrayed standing with three long legs on an integrated plinth, the right foreleg raised, head turned to the the left, mouth open and ears high and alert. The body is beautifully sculpted with strong, muscular torso, graceful neck and fine facial detail. Real horse hair would have been inserted into the open ridge running the length of the neck. Such horses were prized for their spirit and vitality resulting in a very dynamic sculptural form of a quality rarely achieved at other centers in China during the Tang period. Background: The frequency and exceptional sculptural quality of the pottery horses found in Tang burials testifies to the importance attributed to the animal by contemporary society. It is possible this horse may have represented one of the foreign dancing horses that performed for Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712-756 AD) on the occasion of his birthday, to wish him long life. According to Zhang Yue (667-731AD) - a leading court official - these heavenly horses came from west of the sea and danced with bent knees and holding cups in their mouths “…nimbly prancing, they keep in step with the music…” A sign of status and wealth, this horse was probably originally interred in a Tang dynasty high ranking burial and was believed to bestow immortality on the occupant. In 1972, similarly postured horses were excavated from Tang tombs of Zhang Shigui, an attendant of emperor Taizong (r. 629-649 AD). Comparable examples can also be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Acc. No: 67.62.2), the British Museum, London and Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (LI1301.409).

Condition Report: Considerable white and red pigments remain, some black, and some earthen and dendrite deposits. Light paint chipping, left ear restored, head and legs all reattached, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall. A wonderful, large example.

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Price: $18,500

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A large Grey Schist Seated Buddha, Gandhara, Peshawar Valley, ca. 3rd century A.D.

Ships From: Washington, DC US

Description: Seated in the classic dhyanasana position, a posture of meditation, in which the legs are locked in full-lotus position and the soles of the feet turned upwards so as to be visible, with both hands positioned in front of the heart in the dharmachakra-parvartana mudra - the wheel of dharma gesture that is sometimes referred to as the ‘teaching gesture’. He is dressed in a flowing sanghati that drapes elegantly over the left shoulder, the face with bow-shaped lips and heavy-lidded eyes, the hair pulled over the ushnisha, backed by a nimbus, the base with a fire altar. The dharmachakra mudra derives from Shakyamuni Buddha’s first discourse upon the Four Noble Truths, which he taught at the deer park in Sarnath, near Varanasi. The historical event is known as the Buddha’s ‘first turning of the wheel of dharma’; where he set in motion the ‘perfect wheel’ of his teachings. His two great subsequent discourses, the second and third turnings of the wheel of dharma, were given at Rajagriha and Shravasti respectively. The dharmachakra mudra may also be referred to as the dharmachakra-pravatana-mudra, the gesture of ‘turning the wheel of the dharma’. This has a direct association with the ‘wheel turning’ universal monarch or chakravartin.

Condition Report: Weathered loss to the top of the nimbus, peripheral weathering at the top of the brow and hairline, with cosmetic restoration to the nose. Wear and some loss to the hands and a central hairline crack from the base of the statue to the neck. Some weathering, minor pitting, and mineral accumulation throughout. Despite these issues, overall, the figure presents extremely well and is custom mounted on a museum quality base.

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Price: $25,000

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A Greek Bronze Helmet of Apulo-Corinthian Type, ca 4th century BC

Ships From: Washington, DC US

Description: Representing the later style of the characteristic Corinthian form, this is an example of personal armour worn by the Italic Greeks around the 4th century BC and an essential addition to any ancient weaponry collection. It is skillfully constructed from hammered sheet bronze, the domed form features a broad top flange, with high-arching, M-shaped eyebrows in raised relief. To the back of the helmet, the nape is flared both to allow the soldier to move freely and to protect him from the blows of the enemy but this helmet features a piercing at each end the of neck-guard to secure it by means of a chinstrap. Across the crown are rivets and plates for the attachment of either a horsehair crest, or menacing metal animal horns. It is abundantly decorated with incised chevrons around the eyes and nose-guard, there is a border of zigzags to the rim and two large, confronting boars decorate the joined cheek pieces. However, unlike its Corinthian cousin, the small eye holes and nose-guard are purely decorative, for this helmet was designed to be worn, cap-like, on top of the head rather than covering the face. Greek art has many depictions of Gods and Heroes wearing their Corinthian tilted up even when battle began, and this practice gave rise to the Apulo helmets. Innovation and comfort aside, this transformed style further allowed the warriors of the Italic Peninsula to still liken themselves to the warriors and Gods depicted in art; celebrating their favored stories that even today, holds strong appeal to our modern taste in sculpture.

Condition Report: Attractive mottled green-brown patina, professionally stabilized and losses restored, otherwise complete and in very good condition overall. Custom mounted.

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Price: $55,000

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