June 8 will see one of the world's oldest artworks sell at Christie's Antiquities sale in New York.
The artefact is a 9,000 year old limestone mask discovered in the Judean desert, which is among the earliest sculptural types to survive from the ancient Near East. The design of the piece evokes a skull, but its true function remains a mystery as it is too heavy to be worn.
The skeletal form of the mask points experts to the conclusion that it may have been used in a death ritual or some form of ancestor worship, both of which were popular with the cultures of ancient Judea in the Neolithic period. There are several small drill holes along the perimeter, suggesting that the mask may have been affixed over the face of the deceased.
The museum quality piece is brought to auction from a private New York collection, with an estimate of $400,000-600,000.
A fantastic Roman marble figure will provide another of the Christie's sale highlights. The statue, which stands at 74 cm tall, depicts an actor wearing the Old Man of Comedy mask.
It is one of just three known examples of a complete standing marble figure wearing the mask, although many busts and other representations exist. Created circa 1st century AD, the piece is estimated at $150,000-250,000.
Also featuring is a spectacular Egyptian painted linen textile, which was recovered in 1906 from a shrine in western Thebes. The remarkably vibrant panel features a scene of the goddess Hathor and a pharaoh with 10 columns of crisp hieroglyphics. It will appear at the auction with an estimate of $80,000-120,000.
Paul Fraser Collectibles will be bringing you all the key results of this exciting sale so be sure to check back soon.