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Lot 1895: South American Aztec Beaked Knife

Antiquities: Day 4

by TimeLine Auctions

December 9, 2016

London, United Kingdom

Live Auction
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Description: 6th-15th century AD. A finely made curved biconvex obsidian knife with two cutting edges, one end hooked. 108 grams, 14.5cm (5 3/4"). Property of a European collector; formerly from the collection of Prof. RNDr. Jan Jelínek, DrSc., anthropologist, and Director of the Moravian museum, and the president of the International Committee of Museums (ICOM) for eight years; thence by descent 2004. Professor RNDr. Jan Jelinek, DrSc. Born 26th February 1926 in Brno, Czech Republic, Jan Jelinek studied anthropology at Brno University and graduated from the faculty of Sciences in 1949. After graduation, he spent two years taking special courses in the Medical Faculty and made postgraduate studies in the Faculty of Philosophy at the same institution. Jelinek started his scientific work at the Moravian Museum where he founded the Anthropos Institute, covering several scientific disciplines including the study of man in the Pleistocene environment, physical and cultural anthropology, prehistory and palaeontology. The Institute’s exhibition building, the Anthropos Pavilion, opened in 1962 to accommodate a unique exhibition on the origins and evolution of man. In the same year, Jelinek began to publish the quarterly journal Anthropology, and was its editor for 33 years. He also edited a series of Anthropos monographs containing articles by outstanding Czech and foreign anthropologists. In 1958, Jelinek was appointed director of the Moravian Museum. He launched an extensive reconstruction programme for the museum’s premises. His name is connected with the foundation of the Genetics Department, and of the Department for Research into the Karst Phenomenon. The scientific activities of Jan Jelinek focused mainly on palaeoanthropology, on the study of Pleistocene and post-Pleistocene populations with special emphasis on the physical and cultural evolution of man. The beginnings of his scientific work are connected with the anthropological research of Cézavy, a Hallstatt locality near Blu?ina (Southern Moravia"). This work developed into extensive research and studies of other prehistoric periods, including the Old Slavonic period in the Early Middle Ages. Jelinek was in charge of the excavation of the Palaeolithic finds in the Mlade? caves, of the Brno II finds, of Dolni V?stonice III and Staré M?sto. He initiated the research of the Old Pleistocene site on Stránska Skála. The results of this research have made Moravia one of the oldest inhabited territories of Europe. Another research project lasting many years was carried out in the Kûlna cave. Jelinek’s research and studies in prehistoric anthropology and palaeoanthropology have resulted in a large number of publications, including: The Great Picture Atlas of Prehistoric Man, 1975, published in 14 languages; The Great Art of the Early Australians, 1989; Disappearing Sahara, published in Czech, in press; Le Sahara Libyen – l’art le plus ancient, published in French, in press. The total number of publications exceeds 250 titles. His extensive international contacts have enabled Jan Jelinek to undertyake a number of scientific expeditions, including two to Australia (1969, 1973), to the interior of Arnhem Land, stimulated by the study of prehistory, anthropology and ethnography of the Aboriginals, especially the Rembrranga tribe. During these expeditions, he documented a rich anthropological and ethnographical material, bark paintings and other unique finds. Jelinek studied rock art also during his expeditions to Eastern Siberia. In 1977-81 he organised five expeditions to the Sahara Desert and during 1976-85 he was commissioned by UNESCO and the Libyan government to take charge of the construction of the National Museum of Libya. Although primarily a scientific worker, Jan Jelinek was also active as a university lecturer. He read cultural anthropology and museology at Brno University. He later taught palaeoanthropology at the Charles University in Prague and anthropology at the Comenius University in Bratislava. One of Jelinek’s pioneering acts was the foundation of the Department of Museology at the J.E. Purkyn? University in Brno in 1964. It was the first department of museology in Europe. In 1990 Jelinek qualified as an ordinary professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the Masaryk University, Brno. Over the years, Jelinek organised a number of international congresses and held important posts in various scientific societies and organisations: 1962-6 – chairman of the International Section of Regional Museums of the International Council of Museums (ICOM); 1965-71 – President of the Advisory Committee of ICOM; 1971-7 – President of ICOM; 1977 – Honorary Member of ICOM; 1973 – President of the Czechoslovak Anthropological Society; 1980 – Honorary Member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries, London; 1981-4 – President of the European Anthropological Association, etc. For his distinguished work in the field of anthropology, he received a number of distinctions: Aleš Hrdli?ka Medal (1963), the State Distinction for Reconstitution Services (1968), Pešina’s Medal (1971), J.E. Purkyn? University Medal (1979"). [No Reserve]

Condition Report: Extremely fine condition.

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