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Lot 87: Noah's Ark Collection: Introductory Lot: Amlash Bird
December 4, 2016
Montrose, CA, USALive Auction
Noah's Ark Collection: Introductory Lot: The Flood Story has captivated people’s imagination for more than 4,000 years. As everyone knows, the hero of the story Noah builds a large boat called an Ark and proceeds to load a male and female of each species of animal into the Ark along with his immediate family. His plan was to save human and animal life from the great deluge that was coming. Most of us know Noah from the Biblical Book of Genesis, but a much older version of the Flood Story appeared in the Sumerian language in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Sumerian Noah is called Ziusudra and his story, almost 2,000 years older than the Bible, was borrowed by the Biblical writers.
This sale features the third installment of a large and important Ancient Near Eastern Animal Amulet Collection to be offered over the next several auctions. The collection features a wide selection of almost 400 individual amulets from Mesopotamia (the 'land between the two rivers'), and the surrounding regions. The collection, formed between the late 1970s and mid-1980s, was donated to the California Museum of Ancient Art in 1989. It is being de-accessioned to raise funds for the Museum’s Antiquities Acquisition Fund. A virtual zoo showcasing most of the known types and some very rare examples, these amulets should appeal to both sophisticated collectors and beginners. Horses, cows, bulls and rams are represented along with hedgehogs, roosters, ducks, birds, dogs, cats, lions, bears, turtles and much more. Even a fly is represented as well as the mythological griffin and the lion-headed eagle, the famous Imdugud who announces the storm with his roar in the thunder clouds.
These small, portable artworks were made from a variety of materials including the rare semi-precious stones lapis lazuli, carnelian and rock crystal. There are animals of bronze and silver, as well as the more common calcite, jasper, steatite, marble, alabaster, faience, ceramic and more. The amulets date from the late 4th to the 1st Millennium BC. Their individual ID #s were assigned when the collection was formed. This is an extraordinary and rare opportunity to own a single example or a much larger group of beautiful ancient amulets representing many of the animal passengers saved by Ziusudra (the Sumerian Noah) from the flood waters. These small works of art were created and used by people from the region and time period where the Flood Story first appeared.
A nice Amlash bronze bird, c. 1200 – 800 BC, the body somewhat stylized with long neck, the head ovoid with pointed beak and large eyes. The legs are integrated into the rectangular pedestal base which sits atop the remains of a ring. 50 x 40mm. Nicely patinated with a deep olive green patina. Ex-East Coast private collection; Ex-California Museum of Ancient Art, acquired 1989 (0750a).
Condition Report: The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Interested bidders are strongly encouraged to request a condition report on any lots upon which they intend to bid, prior to placing a bid. All transactions are governed by Ancient Resource LLC's Conditions of Sale.