FEATURED ITEM: Greek Terracotta Rhyton with Griffin Protome

Greek Terracotta Rhyton with Griffin Protome

Greek Terracotta Rhyton with Griffin Protome

Baidun Fine Antiquities – Since 1927 – www.Baidun.com

FEATURED ITEM: Greek Terracotta Rhyton with Griffin Protome

This Greek Terracotta Rhyton with Griffin Protome (as of 19 / July / 2017) is still available for sale from www.Baidun.com:

Reference: SI_GR_1031
Civilization: Hellenistic 500 B.C.E. – 400 B.C.E.
Size: L. 23 cm
Condition: Fine Condition
Price: Available Upon Request
Provenance: The Baidun Collection

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Greek Terracotta Rhyton with Griffin Protome

This characterful Greek terracotta Rhyton dates from the Hellenistic period, 500 B.C.E. – 400 B.C.E. The Rhyton’s protome end is molded into the form of what appears to be a smiling Griffin whose head is at an angle that would have been comfortable to hold while in use. It has red painted slip over the terracotta to give it a warmer shade as well as an attractive shine. These type of vessels hail from the ancient Near East where more luxurious examples can be found made from precious metals.

Characteristics of Rhytons / Rhyta

A rhyton (plural rhytons or, following the Greek plural, rhyta) is a roughly conical container from which fluids were intended to be drunk or to be poured in some ceremony such as libation, or merely at table. They are typically formed in the shape of an animal’s head, and were produced over large areas of ancient Eurasia, especially from Persia to the Balkans. Many have an opening at the bottom through which the liquid fell; others did not, and were merely used as drinking cups with the characteristic that they could not usually be set down on a surface without spilling their contents.

The conical rhyton form has been known in the Aegean region since the Bronze Age, or the 2nd millennium B.C.E. However, it was by no means confined to that region. Similar in form to – and perhaps originating from – the drinking horn, it has been widespread over Eurasia since prehistoric times. Rhytons were very common in ancient Persia, where they were called takuk (تکوک). After a Greek victory against Persia, much silver, gold, and other luxuries – including numerous rhytons – were brought to Athens. Persian rhytons were immediately imitated by Greek artists as featured here with this Rhyton.

Origins of Rhyton / Rhyta

The word rhyton is the Greek neuter of rhytos “flowing,” from rhein “to flow,” plural rhyta (Wissowa, 1935, pp. 643-45). The word is often translated as “drinking horn,” primarily because of its appearance, due to its manufacture from the curved horn of a bovid. Early in prehistory the rhyton must have been developed out of such simple drinking horns. Later, the lower part of the horn was changed in form and was elaborated with a protome—the sculptured forepart of an animal.

The materials used for rhyta originally must have been the natural horns of animals such as oxen, cows, and buffalos, as well as possibly goats, ibexes, and others, but such rhyta have not survived archeologically. From the 1st millennium BCE, we find rhyta made of ceramic (Kawami, 1992; Haerinck, 1983). From the time of the Achaemenids, we find pieces in gold and silver, and from the time of Alexander the Great (Pfrommer, 1993; Giumlia-Mair and La Niece, 1998, pp. 139-45) up to the end of the Parthian period, examples in gilded silver.

Greek Terracotta Rhyton with Griffin Protome
SHORT URL: http://www.goo.gl/hKz9dW

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FEATURED ITEM: Hellenistic Bronze Face of Silenus Greek god of Drunkenness and Wine

Hellenistic Bronze Face of Silenus Greek god of Drunkenness and Wine

HellenisticBronzeFaceOfSilenusGreekGodOfDrunkennessAndWine

Baidun Fine Antiquities – Since 1927 – http://www.Baidun.com

 

FEATURED ITEM: Hellenistic Bronze Face of Silenus Greek god of Drunkenness and Wine

This Hellenistic Bronze Face of Silenus Greek god of Drunkenness and Wine (as of 28 / June / 2017) is still available for sale from http://www.Baidun.com:

Reference: SI_GR_1016
Civilization: Hellenistic 300 B.C.E. – 200 B.C.E.
Size: H. 6.5 cm
Condition: Two holes below the mouth. Surface with light punch marks
Price: $8,500 USD
Provenance: The Baidun Collection

DIRECT WEB SITE LINK: http://baidun.com/hellenistic-bronze-face-of-silenus-greek-god-of-drunkenness-and-wine/
SHORT URL: http://www.goo.gl/yAV5L4

Silenus Greek god of Drunkenness and Wine-Making

This bronze depiction of Silenus, Greek god of drunkenness and wine-press, dates to the Hellenistic period 300 B.C.E. – 200 B.C.E. He was companion of the wine god Dionysus, and from the 5th century B.C.E. the name Silenus was applied to Dionysus’ foster father, which thus aided the gradual absorption of the Satyrs and Sileni into the Dionysiac cult.

Here Silenus is depicted as an old satyr with a long mustache and a square beard with big curling hair locks. The face has strong features with chubby cheeks, snub-nose, fleshy lips, frowning brows, as well as pointed ears with ivy leaves set over both of them. The face is finely modeled with a strong and living expression. It is framed with a contour line at the border of the missing upper and back parts of the head.

Such a facial depiction was applied on a statue which was possibly made of other material. The punched surface of the face may indicate that it was plated or sheathed with silver or gold.

Classical Depictions of Silenus

A notorious consumer of wine, Silenus was usually drunk and had to be supported by satyrs or carried by a donkey. When intoxicated Silenus was said to possess special knowledge and the power of prophecy: It was believed that he acquired arcane knowledge and was able to predict the future. Seilenos was, in essence, the spirit of the treading dance of the wine-press – his name being derived from the words seiô, “to move to and fro,” and lênos, “the wine-trough.”

 

Hellenistic Bronze Face of Silenus Greek god of Drunkenness and Wine
SHORT URL: http://www.goo.gl/yAV5L4

 

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FEATURED ITEM: Roman Marble Statuette (Idol) of Greek goddess Nike

Roman Marble Statuette (Idol) of Greek goddess Nike

Roman Marble Statuette Idol of Greek goddess Nike Presenting Herself Sexually

Baidun Fine Antiquities – Since 1927 – http://www.Baidun.com

FEATURED ITEM: Roman Marble Statuette (Idol) of Greek goddess Nike

This Roman Marble Statuette (Idol) of Greek goddess Nike (as of 07 / April / 2017) is still available for sale from http://www.Baidun.com:

Reference: SI_RM_1060
Civilization:  Roman, 200 C.E.
Size: H. 21.5 cm
Condition: Tips of the wings and neck rejoined, otherwise in fine condition
Price: Available upon request
Provenance: The Baidun Collection

DIRECT WEB SITE LINK: http://baidun.com/roman-marble-statuette-idol-of-greek-goddess-nike/
SHORT URL:  http://www.goo.gl/4rmCKp

 

Roman Marble Statuette (Idol) of Greek goddess Nike

Nike – The Greek goddess of Victory

Nike was a Greek war goddess who personified victory.  Her Roman equivalent was Victoria.  The Greek goddess Nike was variously described as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal).

Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace (also known as “The Winged Nike“). Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek coins.

 

Equivalents in the Mesopotamian (Sumerian / Akkadian) Pantheons

The Greek goddess Nike is most likely a Greek adaptation of the Babylonian/Assyrian goddess Ištar (Ishtar), the Mesopotamian East Semitic (Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian)) goddess of fertility, love, war, sex, and power.  She is the counterpart to the earlier attested Sumerian Inanna who was the goddess of love, beauty, sexual desire, fertility, knowledge, wisdom, war, and combat. She was one of the most widely venerated deities in the ancient Sumerian pantheon.  Ishtar is the cognate for the later attested Northwest Semitic (Aramean/Canaanite) goddess Astarte (Ashtoreth),* as well as the Armenian goddess Astghik. Ishtar was an important deity in Mesopotamian religion which was extant from c. 3500 BCE, until its gradual decline between the 1st and 5th centuries CE with the spread of Christianity.

Equivalents in the Egyptian Pantheon

Among equivalents to- or influences upon- the Greek goddess Nike from the Egyptian pantheon, there are several candidates who are described as goddesses of war (in various capacities).  They are 1.) Bastet; 2.) Menhit; 3.) Neith; and 4.) Sekhmet.  The uniting of Egyptian cultures of Upper and Lower Egypt had also united deities that shared similar roles and usually the same imagery.  In Upper Egypt, Sekhmet was the parallel warrior lioness deity. Often similar deities merged into one with the unification, but that did not occur with these deities having such strong roots in their cultures. Instead, these goddesses began to diverge.

These Egyptian goddesses of war are:  1.) Bastet, who was the goddess of warfare in Lower Egypt, the Nile River delta region before the unification of the cultures of ancient Egypt; 2.) Menhit, whose name depicts a warrior status, as it means “(she who) massacres”; 3.) Neith, goddess of war and of hunting; and 4.) Sekhmet (or Sachmis – also spelled Sakhmet, Sekhet, or Sakhet, among other spellings, means “the powerful one”) is a warrior goddess as well as goddess of healing.

 

The Egyptian war goddess Neith ~ Nike

The Egyptian war goddess Neith (also spelled Nit, Net, or Neit) provides an interesting example.  There are possible (probable) linguistic similarities of the name Nike (pronounced “Ni-ke” or “Ni-kay”; “Nee-ke” or “Nee-kay”) with the name Neith (pronounced “Nith” or “Neeth”; “Nit” or “Neet”).

Roman Marble Statuette (Idol) of Greek goddess Nike

For the ancient Greeks – among their pantheon of gods and goddesses – the Greek goddess Nike (in the anthropomorphized form of a young, winged woman) personified victory in war.  In this outstanding example of ancient Greco-Roman art, the Nike portrayed here is represented standing here on a base with an inclined surface (perhaps on the summit of a hilltop or “high place” of worship) with her wings unfolded and outstretched upright towards the heavens.  She is dressed in a peplos fastened at her shoulder and tied with a cord just below her bosom.

The young woman’s pose, the movement of the peplos, and the position of the wings may indicate that she has just alighted on the ground.  The Nike portrayed here is standing in an upright position (almost at attention) while a strong wind blows from directly in front of her, therefore causing her peplos to cling against the front of her body (as well as lift the dress from behind as wind will do).

Upon first glance, the rendering of the face may seem a bit impersonal and idealized (indeed her traits recall several portraits of Faustine the Elder, the wife of Antoninus Pius).  The large folds of her peplos are reminiscent of the sculptures in the local style of the Levant (Syria and Jordan), whence this piece probably originated.

Roman Marble Statuette (Idol) of Greek goddess Nike
SHORT URL:  http://www.goo.gl/4rmCKp

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FEATURED ITEM: Papyrus Fragments of Egyptian Book of the Dead from Ptolemaic Period

Papyrus Fragments of Egyptian Book of the Dead from Ptolemaic Period

Papyrus Fragments of Egyptian Book of the Dead from Ptolemaic Period

Baidun Fine Antiquities – Since 1927 – http://www.Baidun.com

FEATURED ITEM: Papyrus Fragments of Egyptian Book of the Dead from Ptolemaic Period

This collection of Papyrus Fragments of Egyptian Book of the Dead from Ptolemaic Period (as of 13 / March / 2017) is still available for sale from http://www.Baidun.com:

Reference: MS_EG_1003
Civilization: Egyptian, Hellenistic Ptolemaic Period (c. 305 – 30 BCE)
Size: H. x W. Varying…
Condition: Fine condition
Price: Available upon request
Provenance: Baidun Collection

DIRECT WEB SITE LINK: http://baidun.com/papyrus-fragments-of-egyptian-book-of-the-dead-from-ptolemaic-period/
SHORT URL:  http://www.goo.gl/KJ7JrV

Papyrus Fragments of Egyptian Book of the Dead from Ptolemaic Period

‘Book of the Dead’ is a modern term for a collection of magical spells that the Egyptians used to help them get into the afterlife.  They imagined the afterlife as a kind of journey you had to make to get to paradise – but it was quite a hazardous journey so you’d need magical help along the way.

Prior to the New Kingdom, The Book of the Dead was only available to the royalty and the elite.

The popularity of the Osiris Myth in the period of the New Kingdom made people believe the spells were indispensible because Osiris featured so prominently in the soul’s judgment in the afterlife. As more and more people desired their own Book of the Dead, scribes obliged them and the book became just another commodity produced for sale.

In the same way that publishers in the present day offer Print on Demand books or self-published works, the scribes offered different “packages” to clients to choose from. They could have as few or as many spells in their books as they could afford. Bunson writes, “The individual could decide the number of chapters to be included, the types of illustrations, and the quality of the papyrus used. The individual was limited only by his or her financial resources” (48).

From the New Kingdom through the Ptolemaic Dynasty (323 – 30 BCE) The Book of the Dead was produced this way. It continued to vary in form and size until c. 650 BCE when it was fixed at 190 uniform spells but, still, people could add or subtract what they wanted to from the text. A Book of the Dead from the Ptolemaic Dynasty which belonged to a woman named Tentruty had the text of The Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys attached to it which was never included as part of the Book of the Dead. Other copies of the book continued to be produced with more or less spells depending on what the buyer could afford. The one spell which every copy seems to have had, however, was Spell 125.

Featured here are several papyrus fragments of the Egyptian Book of the Dead from Egypt’s Ptolemaic Era (305 – 30 BCE).  Examining Egyptian art during these 300 years reveals strong continuities in its traditions but also interactions with Greek art, whose forms and styles swept the world with Alexander’s armies. The encounter of the two cultures had many aspects and phases, and is easiest to comprehend by looking first at the new ruling class, its involvements and concerns, and then at religion and the arts in the greater land of Egypt.

Papyrus Fragments of Egyptian Book of the Dead from Ptolemaic Period
SHORT URL:  http://www.goo.gl/KJ7JrV

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FEATURED ITEM: An Expressive Greek Head of a Satyr

An Expressive Greek Head of a Satyr

greekheadofsatyr

Though this extremely fine ancient sculpture of ours has long ago been sold, we wanted to feature this item here to demonstrate the quality of extremely fine antiquities that we have been dealing in since 1927.  Please visit our web site to see more of our very fine antiquities available for sale and global delivery – www.Baidun.com.

Reference:  #SI_GR_1003
Civilization:  Central Asia, with influence from Ghandara, 200 B.C.E. – 100 B.C.E.
Size:  Ht. 24 cm
Condition:  Damage to nose, chin and two locks of hair.
Price:  Sold
Provenance:  Private Collection R.J. 1962.
DIRECT WEB SITE LINK:  http://baidun.com/an-expressive-greek-head-of-a-satyr/

The expressive face of this satyr reveals a right eye that is slightly lower than the left and a smirk carved purposefully askew. The satyr himself may be of Greek origin, yet this piece hails from central Asia, a result of the clash of cultures that arose out of Alexander the Great’s successful campaigns throughout the region.

The result was a vast melting pot of culture, art and religion that spanned the subsequent Hellenistic era of Greek history, when Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia. At the time, this satyr’s inlaid eyes and simple braided crown were uncommon in Asian art, particularly seen in Buddhist sculptures of Siddhartha from the Gandhara region of northern Pakistan. Other examples include the famous Parthian relief from Hatra, as well as the hair and head of the Peshawar Museum’s Bodhisattva. In the years after Alexander’s conquests, the region’s sculpture incorporated such elements in the intervening years as trade and technology increased the mingling of Eastern and Western cultures, creating new currents of art and thought that still inspire us to this day.

The round face is dominated by deep holes for eyes which were originally inlaid. The root of the nose is strongly furrowed, as too is the forehead above, its series of wavy grooves mirroring the curvature of the expressive high-arched brows. Prominent cheekbones, with fleshy, rounded cheeks below; under the broad nose, full sensuous lips with dimples. To either side of the face, long, pointed ears with deep auricles. A exuberant shock of curling locks, whose individual strands are articulated with incised lines, is parted in the middle to form an anastole and spreads outwards in three luxuriant strands to frame the face.

Similarly rendered locks entirely envelope the head, wig-like, in schematically arranged rows. The sinews of the neck form a pronounced V-shape. The combination of glowering features and unruly hair impart to the head an intensely expressive quality. Encircling the crown of the head is a rope-like wreath which served as the base for an attachment, its upper surface flat to accommodate another element. Head of a statue, in all likelihood an architectural support such as a Caryatid.

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