Western Asiatic chlorite feline to auction for $900,000

A Western Asiatic inlaid chlorite feline dating to around the third millennium BC could make $600,000-900,000 at Christie's.

The lot will lead the Antiquities sale in New York on December 13.

Chlorite Feline Asiatic Christies
The statue dates to around the third millenium BC

Standing at 10¼ inches tall, the sculpture is unusually large when compared to other finds from the near East dating to the same period.

The design is similar to the style of relief work found on stone vessels from the area.

Known as intercultural style, it refers to objects carved in low relief with elaborate inlays that are often uncovered between the Indus and Euphrates rivers.

A similar example is held in the collection of the Baghdad Museum in Iraq.

An ancient Egyptian faience hippopotamus from the era of the Middle Kingdom (2040-1783 BC) carries an estimate of $400,000-600,000.

Egyptian faience hippopotamus
The hippopotamus is decorated with images of lilies in black glaze

A feared and respected animal, the hippopotamus could wreak havoc on crops and fishing boats - and was believed to be encountered on the passage to the afterlife.

For a brief period, models like the example in the sale were placed into tombs with their legs purposefully broken, in order to restrain them.

The hippopotamus also had a sacred aspect and was worshipped in the form of the goddess Taweret - who looked over mothers and young children.

A Roman marble head of Dionysius is valued at $250,000-350,000.

Dating to the second century AD, the statue is likely inspired by the work of the sculptor Praxiteles, who was active during the 4th century BC.  

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