The Curator's Eye
Set of Eight Carved & Pierced Mother-of-Pearl Shells Decorated with the Nativity, the Last Supper and so on. Palestine, 1830s-1860s
This fine set of pilgrimage mother-of-pearl shells is in excellent condition. It is rare to come across such a collection in such condition. Typically one or two appear on the market at a time and often they are broken. Shells such as these were sold to Christianpilgrims in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where they were carved in relief and pierced by hand by local Palestinian craftsmen. In this way, the shells found their way to Europe and elsewhere during the nineteenth century. Orthodox pilgrims from Russia also carried significant numbers back to Russia and so today the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg has an important collection of such shells. Many of these were transferred from the Winter Palace and the domestic chapels of other Imperials palaces - they seem to have been presented to the royal family by pilgrims returning from the Holy Land. The Vatican Museum also holds related mother-of-pearl Christian items from the same source.
Tang Sculpture of a Horse with Removable Saddle, 600 - 800
7th Century AD to 8th Century AD, China This impressive, large sculpture of a horse still retains much of its original white pigment in tact. However, even more impressive, is the removable saddle with engraved details that graces his back. This saddle appears to have once been painted orange and likely would have once supported a sculpted rider. The horses ears stand at attention. Its striking eyes are well defined.


Ceremonial Nephrite Jade Ewer, 1500 - 1600
Eastern Tibet or Mongolia circa 16th century The ewer is from a single piece of nephrite jade - perhaps a jade boulder, which has been hollowed out to make the body of the ewer. It is well-carved and polished. The elegant, filigree-like silver lace-work at the top of the body of the ewer here falls curtain-like over the jade with the jade visible through the open-work.
Silver Avian Beakers, 900 - 1470
Chime Culture - Peru. Location of Origin: Latin America. Medium/Materials: Hammered Silver. Dimensions: 12.25 x 5 x 5 inches.


Incised Plaque (Maskette), 1200 BC - 600 BC
Olmec Culture - Mexico. Location of Origin: Latin America. Medium/Materials: Jadeite. Dimensions: 1.75 x 2.75 x .75 inches
Pair of Large Etruscan Bucchero Kyathoi, 700 BC - 600 BC


Articulated Silver Fish Representation of Matsya, 1700 - 1900


Frog Mortar, 1400 - 1532
Walnut And Ebony Inlaid Parcel-Gilt Mahogany Games Table, 1820


Kangxi Blue & White Hookah Base with Chased Silver Mounts, 1670 - 1730


Patinated Bronze Argand Lamps In The Form Of Ancient Rhytons, 1835
Cuprosmithsonite, Tsumeb Mine, Tsumeb, Namibia


Curtis, William. The Botanical Magazine, 1819


Wulfenite on Chrysocolla, Rowley Mine, Maricopa Co., Arizona
Vancouver, Captain George. A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean…1798


Thornton, Robert. Temple of Flora…1812


Wallis, James. An Historical Account of the Colony of New South Wales, 1821
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