Sotheby's to auction artefacts from pre-Columbian Americas

Paris - A collection of 75 artefacts from the pre-Columbian Americas, made before European influence on the American continent, will go under the hammer at Sotheby's Paris on October 30.

The collection belongs to a French collector and will be sold at an auction titled "Le Soleil de Nuit, Trésors Précolombien d'une Grande collection Francaise".

Four stone masks from Teotihuacan, an ancient Mesoamerican city in Mexico, are on offer. The faces are in luminous tecali, and dark greenstone and serpentine. Their estimates vary between Rs 95 lakh to Rs 1.3 crore.

Two of the masks were formerly in private American collections of the 1950s and 1960s and exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Objects from the Olmec civilisations, one of the earliest cultures of Mesoamerica, will be on sale.

They include a blue-green jade handle of a "half-human, half-jaguar creature" emerging from a corn ear. This ceremonial tool was used by rulers to affirm their lineage and rulership.

It is estimated to sell between Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 2.3 crore.

Also on sale is an Olmec stone maskette incised with symbolic imagery of the Olmec deities. "It was published and exhibited in 1969 at the Museum of Primitive Art, New York, in one of the important exhibitions devoted to Pre-Columbian art," Sotheby's said.

The Mayan culture is represented in the auction as well. The Mayan "vase of codex" of the Young Maize god as a scribe, gracefully depicts the deity in the act of writing, and is on sale.

The narratives of Maya mythology are also shown on polychrome cylinder vessels, lustrous blackware ceramic vessels, delicate stone pendants in apple-green jade, and the abstract 'eccentric' flints.

The refined ceramic tradition of ancient West Mexico is represented in a Chinesco female figure.

"The collection also includes two ballgame hachas in human and bird form. The breadth of the collection extends into Central American gold and jade with finely necklaces and pendants. The rich tradition of metallurgy and textile art from the Andean region are shown with a rare Chimu silver figure, and a dazzling Wari complete textile tunic woven with bands of abstract puma headed messenger figures," Sotheby's said.

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Source: IANS