• 500 Years: Decorative Arts Eur auction at Christies

    Sale 7784

    500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe

    10 December 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 717

    A CARVED IVORY HEAD OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST

    SPANISH OR HISPANO-PHILIPPINE, 17TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A CARVED IVORY HEAD OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST
    SPANISH OR HISPANO-PHILIPPINE, 17TH CENTURY
    On an associated circular ebony tazza; the back of the head hollow
    3 3/8 in. (8.5 cm.) high; 3 1/8 in. (8 cm.) the tazza


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    While many Hispano-Philippine ivories of the baroque period tend to be formulaic representations of religious subjects, the highly individual style and incredible refinement of this head of St John the Baptist would suggest that it was created as part of a very unusual and important composition. Stylistically, it relates closely to Hispano-Philippine ivories of the 17th century such as the two St Michaels in a private Mexican collection (M. M. Estella Marcos, Marfiles, Monterrey, 1997, pp. 100-105, nos. 40-41) where one can see the near identical rendition of heavy oval eye-lids, lobed nostrils and individually defined strands of curly hair. The purposeful truncation to the neck indicates that the head is a representation of St John the Baptist after his beheading and may well have formed part of a larger composition of Salome presenting the head to Herod and Herodias.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.