Brothers Ali Aboutaam and Hicham Aboutaam co-own Phoenix Ancient Art, a collection of beautiful and rare antiques. Amongst their selection is an ancient Egyptian amulet in the shape of the goddess Bastet from the 3rd Intermediary Period, circa 8th-7th Century B.C. Standing almost 6 cm tall, this figurine is very delicate. Despite its fragility, the amulet is in amazing condition; it is completely intact, and still retains its original bright blue color. The figure is shaped as the human body of a thin woman with a feline head.
Bastet is the more gentle personification of the dangerous goddess Sekhmet, who appears as both a cat and a lion in Egyptian tradition. Figurines of Sekhmet have the rounded ears of a lion, while those of Bastet feature the pointed ears of a cat.
Bastet was believed to be the patron of the doctors, and protector of women and children during childbirth.
Antiques certainly never go out of style. In recent news, a detailed Roman parade helmet sold at Christie’s auction house in London for 2.28 million pounds ($3.6 million). Estimates had been set at 200,000 to 300,000 pounds.
Christie’s described the helmet as an “extraordinary example of Roman metalwork at its zenith” and dated it to the late 1st or 2nd century A.D. The helmet has been named the Crosby Garrett Helmet for the village where it was found, near the Scottish border.
Certainly, this is one exciting example of how precious and valuable antiques are to many people today. Companies like Phoenix Ancient Art with Hicham Aboutaam and Ali Aboutaam understand the value of an item of this sort, and antique appreciation is growing in the general population as well.
In a recent article by Simon Hewitt titled “Defining Chic” in Art & Auction Magazine, Mr. Hewitt gave a detailed overview of the Biennale des Antiquaries that took place at the Grand Palais in Paris from September 15-22. This year’s event pared down the number of exhibitors from 94 to 87, and included 13 new exhbiitors.
He described the broad mix of material at the fair: “The Biennale is nothing if not eclectic. Highlights range from a 3rd- to 2nd-century B.C. Hellenistic bronze equestrian figure of Alexander the Great at Phoenix Ancient Art, of Geneva and New York, to “Renaissance of Yiddish Culture,” a show of Kiev-based artists at the booth of the Paris and Tel Aviv gallery Le Minotaure.”
Phoenix Ancient Art, a premier gallery specializing in Classical Antiquities and owned by brothers Hicham Aboutaam and Ali Aboutaam, will exhibit in the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris. This magnificent event will take place at the Grand Palais from September 15-22, 2010 and will display the finest works of art on the market today.
Phoenix Ancient Art will unveil masterworks including a Statue of Leto Holding Apollo and Artemis. This statue from the Roman Imperial Period, 2nd century A.D.. stands 98 centimeters high and is is carved in the round from a single piece of fine-grained marble. The group is almost completely intact and it resembles a Greek original dating from the 5th century B.C.
In recent news around the world, the AP reports that four clay coffins estimated to be 2000 years old were unearthed in Cyprus. The coffins, untouched by grave robbers, were said to date from the Hellenistic to early Roman period, from between 300 B.C. to 100 A.D. In addition, other items found at the site included human skeletal remains, terra cotta urns and more. All of these were discovered while workers were fixing a sidewalk in a resort location.
Certainly, if you are interested in collecting antiques, or if you are already an antique collector, you have many choices. There are many antique dealers today who offer outstanding products and exceptional quality. One such dealer is Phoenix Ancient Art. They are a second generation Ancient Art company, originally founded in the mid 1960s by the late S. Aboutaam.
Having taken up his passion, Mr. Aboutaam’s sons are, today, the owners of the company. Ali Aboutaam and Hicham Aboutaam run and manage both the Geneva gallery and the New York gallery (pictured here). Phoenix Ancient Art offers treasures from a large range of locations and time periods. Its scope includes Mesopotamia, the Near East, Egypt, Europe, the Balkans, Eurasia, Byzantium, the Steppes, Greece and the Roman Empire.
One of the more recent arrivals at Phoenix Ancient Art, owned by Hicham Aboutaam and Ali Aboutaam, is the Egyptian Amulet of the Goddess Bastet. This amulet is in an excellent state of preservation and is from the 3rd Intermediary Period, around the 8th-7th century B.C. The amulet is complete and has retained its original intense blue color.
The goddess’s throne was made in a technique that was very popular at the end of the New Kingdom and in the beginning of the first millennium B.C. The faience was first cast and the openwork was then created by cutting away unwanted elements with a knife. While this amulet is quite small in size, the work’s quality is excellent and a number of the anatomical details have been rendered with great precision.
The goddess Bastet was quite popular at the end of the Bronze Age and, as was quite common in Egyptian art, the figure has the body of a human and the head of an animal. She is considered a mild mannered, sweeter version of the dangerous goddess Sekhmet. She is the patron of the priestly doctors of Sekhmet and she is the rpotector of women in childbirth and children.
Certainly, it’s always exciting when antiques are discovered and artifacts are unearthed. Recent archeological news reports that in Alexandria, Egypt, divers have been exploring a palace and temple from Cleopatra’s rule that were submerged as a result of earthquakes and tsunamis over 1600 years ago.
This is considered to be one of the richest underwater archeological sites in the world and is certainly worth taking notice of! For enthusiasts, the finds from this excavation will be on display at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute from June 5 to January 2nd in an exhibition titled, “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt.”
Hicham Aboutaam and Ali Aboutaam often add precious gems to their Phoenix Ancient Art collection. These can also be purchased without leaving one’s home, by visiting the company’s online site, e-Tiquities, which shows very clear images so that potential buyers can really get a good idea of what they are purchasing. One such gem is a bronze bracelet with female heads. This antique dates back to 12th-8th century BC and hails from the Mesopotamia. . Like this piece, many of the artifacts found from this time were bronze.
Add a piece from Phoenix Ancient Art to your collection For $14,000 this bracelet from the Aboutaam’s collection could be yours. For an antique collector the price might just be right since it sports very detailed decoration. The bracelet is actually two halves which connect via a hinge so that it easily opens on the wrist. But since the original pin holding together the other side is no longer on the bracelet, that side remains open. Still, it is probably not something that one would wear on a day-to-day basis. For one interested in interesting motifs, this is a good purchase, since it can fascinate you for hours with its butterfly, faces, almond shaped eyes, strong noses, etc.
Plastic Vessel in the shape of a Monkey’s head.
Apulian, 4th Century B.C.
Height: 3 5/16”
Diameter of Base: 21/16”
Monkeys did not exist in the art of Greece, but they can be found in the art of Magna Graecia, the Greek colonies on the southern coast of Italy. The image of the monkey came from Africa during the Ptolemaic period during the rule of Alexander the Great. Most plastic vessels are made in the shape of animal heads–birds, bulls, ducks, deer—or women’s heads, and such vessels as the were used to hold aromatic oils and perfumes. Here is a rare and charming example of a monkey’s head that comes from the Apulia region. This finely-detailed model is made of terracotta with a black glaze and added paint. “It is a remarkable survival and record of the virtuosity of the Greek colonies whose culture spread across the Greek world,” says Hicham Aboutaam, co-owner of Phoenix Ancient Art