Luxury Christmas gifts
These valuable pieces from our selection of antiquities at St. James's Ancient Art would make fantastic standout gifts for Christmas. This collection of gift ideas is formed from our Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Byzantine, Chinese and Near Eastern sections. For more information, click on the image of the item!
Pictured above is an alabaster Cycladic torso of a female of the early Spedos type. The item is mounted on a custom-made brownish metal stand, with felt lining to the base. This is a very fine, rare piece of Cycladic art. The Spedos type is the most common of Cycladic figurine types and has the widest distribution within the Cyclades and the greatest longevity. The group as a whole includes figurines ranging in height from miniature examples monumental sculptures of one and a half metres. With the exception of a statue of a male figure, now in the Museum of Cycladic Art Collection, all known works of the Spedos variety are female figures.
If it is gold you are after, take a look at our Alexander the Great gold stater. On the obverse is the head of Athena in a crested Corinthian helmet ornamented with a snake. On the reverse is Nike standing, holding in her right hand a wreath and in her left a ship's mast. This coin is in very fine condition.
In our Egyptian collection we have a stunning Egyptian gold and lapis amulet of Bastet. The goddess is depicted in the form of a sitting cat with her tail resting on the right side of her body. This stunning pendant is fully suitable for modern wear; it has an intact suspension loop to the rear. The special feature of this amulet is that the shoulders, flanks and haunches have inlaid pieces of polished lapis lazuli.
We also have an exceptionally fine amulet of Bes made of turquoise. The style of this piece is remarkable; the physiognomy of the god shows the finest details, with the deep-set eyes, eyelids, eyebrows and wrinkles showing. Bes was an ancient dwarf god, the patron of childbirth and home. It was during the Ptolemaic period, when this piece was produced, that the popularity of Bes reached its peak - shrines associated with the god were built close to major temples.
A beautiful, substantial Roman gold pendant with a silver antoninianus coin of Roman Emperor Philip I, also known as Philip the Arab (244 – 249 AD). The coin is set within an elaborate mount made of high purity gold, itself probably made of using gold coins as raw material. The gold border is attractive and scalloped, both obverse and reverse of the coin are visible. Such scalloped or fluted borders are often found in Roman jewellery of the 3rd to the 5th century.
Jewellery will never fail you as great gift, and all of the examples of Roman and Byzantine jewellery below are suitable for modern wear. This Roman gold and garnet pair of earrings is one such example, with its intricate glass beads and gold wiring. The earrings have original ancient hooks that have been pushed in and new modern gold hooks have been added.
Another example from our Roman selection is an elegant gold bracelet with a pendant. The bracelet is made of intertwining double-wire gold links, terminating in a large hook clasp.
Early Byzantine jewellery was heavily influenced by the jewellery of the Roman Empire. However, as Christianity had become the dominant religion of the Roman Empire and then the Byzantine Empire, crosses became more prevalent in examples of jewellery. These beautiful and rare Byzantine earrings with cross pendants are suitable for modern wear, however, they will need modern hooks or studs attached.
Later Byzantine jewellery came to be heavily influenced by Christianity. Enkolpion crosses, such as the piece below, were made to be worn on the bosom, and were made up of two separate crosses held together by a hinge at the bottom. It is likely that these crosses contained secondary relics, such as earth of pieces of silk that had been made holy through contact with the body of a saint. This particular cross with Virgin Mary would make a great Christmas gift.
China & the Far East
Objects from our Chinese art collection would make unforgettable gifts for Christmas, not least this pair of Tang Dynasty dancers. They wear vibrant long red robes, finely decorated with visible folds on the shoulders, with traces of ochre pigment forming a dotted pattern and black belts running across their chests. They each wear a headdress with a bird, possibly a peacock or phoenix, whose feathers flow back towards the dancer's neck. The pair is accompanied by a Thermoluminescence analysis. These statues were made during the Tang Dynasty, between 618 and 906 AD.
Concluding our luxury guide is this intricate and impressive pair of Nabatean gold earrings in almost perfect condition, featuring beautiful rows and triangles of granulation. The Nabateans were Arab people who inhabited Northern Arabia and Southern Levant. Their assumed capital was the famous city of Ramqu, now known as Petra.
St James’s Ancient Art
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London SW1Y 4AA
Tel : +447833231322
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