Friday 28 April 2023

Lot 26

An Iberian carved limestone head of a female, 5th-1st century B.C., with Hellenistic-style face,...

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Lot 26

An Iberian carved limestone head of a female, 5th-1st century B.C., with Hellenistic-style face,...

Price Realised: £4,680

Estimate: £2,000 - £4,000

Price realised is hammer price plus fees (30% Buyers Premium inclusive of VAT).

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Lot 26


An Iberian carved limestone head of a female, 5th-1st century B.C., with Hellenistic-style face, heavy lidded eyes, the domed headdress plain aside from three bands of lace or other embroidery,  with large wheel-like coils of hair (rodetes) either side of her head, with details of hair ties, losses, on stand, 37cm. high x 27cm. deep (without stand)

Provenance: London collection, acquired in the 1970s, and thence by descent



Almost all extant works of Iberian sculpture visibly reflect Greek and Phoenician influences, and Assyrian, Hittite and Egyptian influences from which those derived (specially the Phoenician one); yet they have their own unique character. The sculptures that comprise the Levantine group were mostly made between the 5th century B.C. and the period of Roman domination.

The present head can be placed with other extant female busts and heads mainly located in museums in Spain. The most famous of this is the Lady of Elche, a limestone bust that was discovered in 1897, at La Alcudia, an archaeological site on a private estate two kilometers south of Elche, Spain. The Lady of Elche  is believed to have a direct association with Tanit, the goddess of Carthage, who was worshiped by the Punic-Iberians. The bust, originally colored represents a woman wearing an elaborate headdress and large wheel-like coils (known as rodetes) on each side of the face, also present in our head. Another female bust associated with Iberian culture is the Lady of Guardamar—which has similar wheel-like rodetes and necklaces. Made of limestone and measuring 50cm high, it was discovered in fragments in the Phoenician archaeological site of Cabezo Lucero in Guardamar del Segura in Alicante province, Spain, on September 22, 1987. 

A further female bust is The Lady of Cerro de los Santos (Dama del Cerro de los Santos), also known as Gran Dama Oferente, is dated to the 2nd century BCE, and now in National Archaeological Museum in Madrid. Also limestone, it is a full-length standing female figure 1.3 metres high. It was found in 1870 in the sanctuary of Cerro de los Santos in Montealegre del Castillo in Albacete province, Spain. Although the large wheel rodetes present on the other busts are smaller and fall towards to bottom of the hair, the details across the forehead of some form of decorated cloth are similar. 

The most similar comparative example to our head is another head in the National Archaeological Museum, Madrid ( M.A.N. 7150), also discovered in Cerro de los Santos. It measures 33 cm high and displays a smooth conical cap, wavy cloth and braided bands across the forehead, and wheels just below the ears.




Buyer's Premium

The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium thereon of 26% up to £20,000 (31.2% inclusive of VAT), 25% from £20,001 - £500,000 (30% inclusive of VAT), 20% from £500,001 thereafter (24% inclusive of VAT). The premium price is subject to VAT at the standard rate.

VAT is not charged on the hammer price unless it is stated that there is 'VAT applicable on the hammer price at the end of the description. Buyer's premium is subject to VAT.

Qualifying living artists and the descendants of artists deceased within the last 70 years are entitled to receive a re-sale royalty each time their work is bought through an auction house or art market professional.

It applies to lots with hammer value over £1,000 as follows:
0 to £50,000 - 4%
£50,000.01 to £200,000 - 3%
£200,000.01 to £350,000 - 1%
£350,000.01 to £500,000 - 0.5%
Exceeding £500,000 - 0.25%
ARR is capped at £12,500

Please note ARR is calculated in euros. Auctioneers will apply current exchange rates.

Export of goods

Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain whether an export licence is required before bidding. Export licences are issued by Arts Council England and application forms can be obtained from its Export Licensing Unit. Details can be found on the ACE website or by phoning ACE on 020 7973 5188. The need for import licences varies from country to country and you should acquaint yourself with all relevant local requirements and provisions before bidding. The refusal of any such licences shall not permit the cancelling of any sale nor allow any delay in making full payment for the lot.

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