Thursday, 29 December 2016

Treasures from Ancient Nubia


Gilt-silver mummy mask of Queen Malakaye (664–653 BC)
A new exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, titled 'Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia', offers insight into the meticulous craftsmanship of Ancient Nubia (located mostly in what’s now Sudan).

The show includes more than 100 treasures from the MFA’s collection of jewelry from Ancient Nubia. The MFA’s collection dates from 1700 BC to AD 300 and is considered the most comprehensive of any outside of Khartoum. Gold and the Gods showcases elaborate necklaces, amulets, stacked bracelets, and earrings discovered inside the tombs of Nubian kings and queens.

Ancient Nubia ruled the entire Nile Valley during the apex of its power in the eighth century BC. Nubian artisans turned out some of the most sophisticated, finely crafted jewelry of the ancient world.
Hathor-headed crystal pendant (743–712 BC)
In addition to an array of gold objects, the exhibition shows jewelry made with lapis lazuli (imported from Afghanistan), blue chalcedony (imported from Turkey), amethystine quartz, and carnelian. Several pieces incorporate enamel and glass, rare and valuable materials at the time.

Nubian goldsmiths and jewelers employed methods that wouldn’t be reinvented in Europe for another thousand years. 'Gold and the Gods' also illustrates the ways owners of these adornments valued them not only for their intrinsic beauty and as signs of wealth and status, but for magical powers that protected the wearers both during their lifetimes and on their journey to the afterlife.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Viking Gold Amulet Found

A gold amulet bearing the face of Viking god Odin has been discovered on the Danish Island of Lolland. It could be as old as 1,500-years-old, and may have been offered as a sacrificial present to the deities sometime around 536AD.

The find is rare. Only about 1,000 amulets are known.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The Huguette Clark Auctions

Auction house Christie's sold off the many expensive, Old World furnishings and artworks of copper heiress Huguette Clark, the famously cloistered woman who, when she died at the age of 104 in 2011, left behind a fortune exceeding $300M.

Huguette Clark was the daughter of the late Senator William A. Clark of Montana and a reclusive American heiress. She died with no direct descendents.
A Monet painting that hung in the Fifth Avenue apartment that Huguette Clark abandoned for twenty years sold at auction for $27 million.

'Water Lilies' Monet's 1907 rendition of his beloved garden in Giverny, France, went to an undisclosed Asian buyer.

A diamond ring made $2.7m.

18th-century mantel clock. $150,000.

George II wing chair dates back to 1730. $50,000.

19th-century French "bureau à cylindre". $80,000

18th-century "Greenish-White Jade Dish" is estimated to rake in between $120,000.

Dressing table made of tulipwood, satine, sycamore, and fruitwood, the piece hails from 19th-century Paris. $50,000.

Cammode from 19th-century Paris. The mahogany and tulipwood piece, topped with marble. $15,000.
In April 2012 the jewels of eccentric heiress Huguette Clark were put under the hammer at Christie’s New York.

Huguette Clark was heir to a copper empire and lived the last 35 years of her life in various New York hospitals until her death at age 104. Her jewels were believed to have been kept in a vault unseen since the 1940s.

The collection of seventeen items brought $ 20.8m but the star was the 9 carat Pink Diamond which sold for $ 15.7m.


A long-lost relative of the reclusive and eccentric New York heiress Huguette Clark, who stood to inherit $19 million of her $300 million fortune was found dead from hypothermia in rural Wyoming.

Timothy Henry Gray's body was discovered by children sledding under a Union Pacific Railroad overpass in Evanston, in the southwest of the state, as the temperatures hit 10 degrees.

Gray, 60, was the half great-nephew of Clark, who died in May 2011 aged 104.
Huguette Clark left no money to her relatives and lived as a recluse in New York City hospitals until her death. Her palatial properties across the country sat unused for decades.

The heiress had not visited Bellosguardo in Santa Barbara, California since the 1950s
"The last Fifth Avenue apartment belonging to the late reclusive and eccentric heiress Huguette Clark. 7.2 million.

The final piece of the eighth floor of 907 Fifth Avenue owned by the daughter of copper baron multimillionaire, William Andrews Clark, went on sale on April 5, 2014. It is said to have been used exclusively for Huguette Clark's dolls.

'She didn't want to go out. She didn't want to have beautiful things. She just wanted to be home and play with her dolls.' Clark collected dolls obsessively and her vast real estate holdings were filled with them.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Crimea Gold

A priceless collection of ancient gold artifacts from Crimea that was on loan to a Dutch museum when Russia annexed the region must be returned to Ukraine, a court has ruled.

The trove of Scythian treasures, which including a magnificent 4th century BC Scythian helmet, had been lent by several Crimean museums to the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam when Russian forces seized control of the peninsular in March 2014.
The Crimea and the Black Sea were and remain an important crossroads between Europe and Asia.

The recorded history of the Crimean Peninsula, historically known as Tauris or Tauric Chersonese, begins around 500 BC when several Greek colonies were established along its coast. Crimea since that time has endured a long series of conquests and invasions.

The modern history of Crimea began with the annexation by the Russian Empire in 1783. In 1921 the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was created. This republic was dissolved in 1945.

Since 1991 it has had the status of an Autonomous Republic within Ukraine until its recent annexation by the Russian Federation in the 2014 Crimean Crisis.
Nearly a year after the exhibition “Crimea: Gold and Secrets From the Black Sea” wrapped up at the Allard Pierson Museum 565 rare treasures on loan from four Crimean museums remain in boxes in a storage facility, awaiting a court decision about where they should be shipped.

“Russia is attempting to appropriate valuable exhibits from Crimean museums that are currently on loan abroad," Ukraine’s vice prime minister for social affairs, Oleksandr Sych, said during a news briefing.
Construction of the Olympic venues in the Imereti Valley resulted in over a dozen archeological expeditions, and close to 400 artifacts have been handed over to the city's history museum. "The construction of the Olympic venues in Sochi over the past five years has triggered large-scale archaeological excavations previously unseen in this resort city," said Alla Guseva, Deputy Director for Research at the museum.
In October 2013 the museum unveiled the Ancient Gold of Kuban and the Black Sea Region exhibition as part of the Cultural Olympiad's Year of Museums. This is the first exhibition to feature artifacts unearthed during the Olympic construction.

The excavations in the Imereti Valley started in the wake of the Olympic construction. Previously, the area was considered unattractive for archeological expeditions. However, the first excavations have demonstrated that the area has been populated since ancient times.

The Bosporan Kingdom was an ancient state located in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula, on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus (now known as the Strait of Kerch).

Gold Stater - Bosporan Kingdom
It was named after the Bosphorus, also known as Istanbul Strait, a different strait that divides Asia from Europe.

The Bosporan Kingdom was the longest surviving Roman client kingdom. It was based on the export of wheat, fish and slaves. The profit of the trade supported a class whose conspicuous wealth is still visible from the newly discovered archaeological finds.