A GRECO-PERSIAN VIOLET CHALCEDONY SCARABOID WITH A LION-GRIFFIN
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A GRECO-PERSIAN VIOLET CHALCEDONY SCARABOID WITH A LION-GRIFFIN

CLASSICAL COURT STYLE, CIRCA 5TH CENTURY B.C.

Details
A GRECO-PERSIAN VIOLET CHALCEDONY SCARABOID WITH A LION-GRIFFIN
CLASSICAL COURT STYLE, CIRCA 5TH CENTURY B.C.
15⁄16 in. (2.4 cm.) wide
Provenance
Giorgio Sangiorgi (1886-1965), Rome, acquired and brought to Switzerland, late 1930s; thence by continuous descent to the current owner.
Literature
A.U. Pope, A Survey of Persian Art, Vol. I, London, 1938, p. 392, fig. 90b.
J. Boardman, Greek Gems and Finger Rings, London, 1970, p. 431, no. 31.
J. Boardman and C. Wagner, Masterpieces in Miniature: Engraved Gems from Prehistory to the Present, London, 2018, p. 73, no. 64.
Special notice

This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
The USA prohibits the purchase by US persons of Iranian-origin “works of conventional craftsmanship” such as carpets, textiles, decorative objects, and scientific instruments. The US sanctions apply to US persons regardless of the location of the transaction or the shipping intentions of the US person. For this reason, Christie’s will not accept bids by US persons on this lot. Non-US persons wishing to import this lot into the USA are advised that they will need to apply for an OFAC licence and that this can take many months to be granted.

Brought to you by

Claudio Corsi
Claudio Corsi Specialist, Head of Department

Lot Essay

This finely-carved scaraboid depicts a popular subject borrowed from Mesopotamian art: the Persian lion-griffin, shown with a horned lion's head and forepart with wings. The tail is of an ostrich and the hind legs are of a bird of prey. The monster often appears in Persian Imperial art, notably as an adversary for the Persian royal hero on reliefs at Persepolis, see nos 42-43 in J. Curtis and N. Tallis (eds), Forgotten Empire, The World of Ancient Persia. The small knobbed horn is often added to create monsters in Persian and related arts of this period. For seals with similar lion-griffin monsters cf. J. Boardman, Greek Gems and Finger Rings, London, 1970, p. 351, pls 838-842.
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