Hollywood Chiefs’ Rare Pre-Columbian Artworks Head to Auction

This Moche mythological beast jar, from North Coast Peru (circa 400-500 CE) and formerly of the Platt Friedenberg collection, will be one of 110 pieces going up for auction on Feb. 1 at Antiquities Saleroom.

BOULDER COUNTY, Co. – Items from the pre-Columbian art collections of two Hollywood notables are set for auction on Feb. 1, including museum-quality pottery, carvings, masks, gold antiquities—and a piece once owned by famed pop artist Andy Warhol.

The absentee, phone and Internet-only auction, to be hosted by Antiquities Saleroom, will include 110 lots with a value of more than $900,000. Lots feature items from Aztec, Incan and Mayan cultures, as well as the pre-Columbian Moche, Salinar, Chancay and Chinesco cultures.

Sale pieces were culled from the collections of an Emmy Award-winning executive producer/writer and a Hollywood producer/director. One item—a three-tiered, pre-Columbian Mayan polychrome jar from Honduras, circa 500-900 CE—was formerly part of Warhol’s personal collection. It commands an auction estimate of $3,000 to $4,000.

According to Antiquities Saleroom, most pieces in the auction boast provenance from distinguished sources, including Sotheby’s, Christie’s and the Denver Art Museum. In addition, several artworks are of monumental height, some exceeding 30 inches.

Highlights of the show include a Mixtec carved redstone stele carrying the image of a fierce running warrior in full battle dress holding a feather shield and war club.

“This object would have been used as a boundary marker to warn intruders to stay away or their warriors would come after them,” said Bob Dodge, co-owner of Antiquities Saleroom. Formerly in a Zurich museum, the lot is expected to sell for $20,000 to $30,000.

One of the many Moche pieces of note included in the sale—an erotic drinking vessel of a male with well-defined facial features and a disproportionately large, erect phallus that serves as a spout—is expected to garner bids of $12,000 to $15,000. According to Dodge, Moche artisans of Peru (circa 400-500 CE) were among the earliest to incorporate portraiture and humor into their pottery production.

In addition to pottery, a number of high-carat gold antiquities are also up for bid. A pre-Columbian Moche royal ceremonial scepter or “atl atl” (Peru, circa 100-400 CE) decorated with a standing lord carved from bone on a turquoise mosaic platform, carries a pre-sale estimate of $30,000 to $40,000. Several bas-relief gold masks will also be available, as well as a Sican beaker (Chimu Culture, Peru, circa 800-1000 CE) with the face of the god Naylamp crafted in relief on its surface. The piece, formerly owned by Ian Arundel, proprietor of The Curiosity Shop in Los Angeles, is estimated at $15,000 to $20,000.

Bidding will commence at noon (EST) on Fri, Feb. 1, 2013. Bids may be placed via absentee, phone or live via the Internet on auction day through LiveAuctioneers.com.


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