Christie’s will offer a 5,000-year-old Guennol Stargazer sculpture in its Exceptional sale in New York on April 28.
The figure is one of a series of idols found in Anatolia that date back to the chalcolithic period (also known as the copper age). They're referred to as Kiliya type.
This is another example of a Kiliya type Stargazer
The figures are believed to have had ritual significance attached to burials, as they are often found in funeral mounds with their heads ritually removed.
Only 15 are recorded as being more or less intact and the one offered in the sale is the best example.
It will be a major prize for collectors, a factor that could push it past its estimate of $3m.
Christie’s head of antiquities, G Max Bernheimer, told the Antiques Trade Gazette that the piece is “universally recognized as the finest Kiliya idol in existence”.
“This extremely rare work, though dating to the 3rd millennium B.C., is widely appreciated across collecting categories, and was a source of inspiration for 20th century masters for its sleek and modern appeal.”
The piece is named for the Guennol collection, which was built by Alastair Martin and his wife (guennol is Welsh for marten – the couple were American but had roots in Wales).
In 2007, the Guennol Lioness, an exquisite Elamite figure created in the region around modern Baghdad circa 3000 BC, sold for $57.5m.
It was the world’s most valuable sculpture for several years, up until the sale of Alberto Giacometti’s L'Homme qui marche I for $104.3m in 2010.
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