Provenance: Giuseppe Tucci. Claude Sciaky-Menasché, Venice, acquired from the above, ca. 1980 (by repute). Dr. Koos de Jong, acquired from the above in 2005 (by repute). Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984) was an Italian Orientalist, Indologist and scholar of East Asian studies, specialized in Tibetan culture and history of Buddhism. During his zenith, Tucci was a supporter of Italian Fascism, and he used idealized portrayals of Asian traditions to support Italian ideological campaigns. Tucci was fluent in several European languages, Sanskrit, Bengali, Pali, Prakrit, Chinese and Tibetan and he taught at the University of Rome La Sapienza until his death. He is considered one of the founders of the field of Buddhist Studies. Claude Sciaky-Menasché was an Italian art dealer and the author of “Storia ed estetica della Cina classica”, published by Supernova, Limena, Italy in 2010. Dr. Koos de Jong is a Dutch art historian and has been privately collecting Chinese art over decades. He has authored hundreds of articles and several books on Dutch fine and decorative arts spanning from the Middle Ages to the modern era. In 2013, he published an extensive study of Chinese riding gear in “Dragon & Horse, Saddle Rugs and Other Horse Tack from China and Beyond”. Between 1976 and 2009 he worked for numerous museums across the Netherlands and was the director of the European Ceramic Work Center in Den Bosch.
Condition: Excellent condition, especially considering the age of this piece, with wear and casting flaws, losses, some minor dents and few small nicks, and a fine, naturally grown copper-red patina.
Scientific laboratory analysis: Copies of three metallurgic analysis charts issued by Waarborg Holland in 2018 are accompanying this lot. Frans van Heemstra, the expert who ordered the test, comments: “We have had the gold tested by Waarborg Holland in Gouda. They have tested the upper part, the soldering and the base, which makes it very likely that the material comes from the indicated period. There is a very high gold and silver content and there are no traces of cadmium - which would have been present in a later specimen.”
Expert comment: Asked for an opinion about this piece, Dr. Irene Good wrote in May 2007: “The object you showed is a cap crest from a Sarmatian or, more likely, Ukok region headdress. Very beautiful example – thank you for showing to me!” Dr. Irene L. Good, Ph. D., Research Associate at Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is an archaeologist of Central and Western Asia. Since 2001, she is an Associate of the Peabody Museum. Dr. Good’s current research is focused on the later Bronze period of Western China.
Weight: 43.9 g
Dimensions: Height 6.5 cm
The Ukok Plateau is located in today’s southwestern Siberia, in the Altai Mountains region of Russia at the borders with northwestern China. During the late 3rd century BC, this region was – among others - embattled between the Xiongnu and the ever expanding Han dynasty, with the latter eventually prevailing and, as a result of their campaign, installing the Protectorate of the Western Regions, an imperial administration imposed by Han China from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD.
The Xiongnu were a tribal confederation of all sorts of nomadic peoples who, according to ancient Chinese sources, inhabited the steppes of today’s northwestern China from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD.
The present type of personal ornament was favored by many of these nomadic people and cultures, who at some point in history submitted to Chinese dominance and were subsequently rewarded with gold emblems and jewelry made by Han goldsmiths under Imperial command. The dominant sources of design for these can to some extent be traced back to earlier Chinese cultures, but were also the animals and birds that surrounded the nomadic people, including ibex, horses, stags, deer, rams, tigers, wild boars and of course birds of prey. Sometimes also two of these animals were combined to create a new kind of mythical being. Often the animals are shown in a recumbent or kneeling position, creating a more compact shape, essentially to be in accordance with Chinese cultural (and sometimes military) standards of the period. Even though there was a greater use of gold and silver for ornamentation in these days, most of the ornaments were made of bronze. Within many of the Xiongnu tribes, however, personal ornamentation made of gold was a sign of the very highest status. Such ornaments are therefore more rare than those made of other metals.
With an associated box. (2)
Literature comparison A closely related cap crest is in the Museum for History of Shaanxi, excavated from a tomb near Nalingaotu village, Shenmu County, China, originally dated to the late 4th century BC, but later amended to Han dynasty.
Literature comparison For the influence of Scythian nomadic art also compare with a gold stag plaque, 400-300 BC, Scythian, western Asia, in the Cleveland museum of art, accession number 1985.77.
For more comparisons, please see:
J.F. So and E.C. Bunker, Traders and Raiders on China’s Northern Frontier, Seattle and London 1995, p. 56, fig. 20. E.C. Bunker, Ancient Bronzes of the Eastern Eurasian Steppes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, New York 1997, pp. 49-50, figs. A53 and A56.
Orientations, November 1999, p. 52, fig. 6.
Han Wei and Chrsitian Deydier, Ancient Chinese Gold, Paris 2001, pp. 62-63, fig. 101.
Auction result comparison: Compare with a related but slightly earlier pair of boar-form ornaments, significantly lighter and less elaborate, sold by Christie’s New York in Masterpieces of Early Chinese Gold and Silver on 12 September 2019, lot 509, for USD $93,750.
來源：Giuseppe Tucci. 據説約1980年威尼斯 Claude Sciaky-Menasché購於上述
Drs. Koos de Jong 2005年購於上述收藏。Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984) 是意大利東方學學家、印度學家和東亞研究學者，專門研究藏族文化和佛教歷史。 在他的巔峰時期，Tucci是意大利法西斯主義的支持者，並且他利用對亞洲傳統的理想化來刻意支持意大利的意識形態運動。 Tucci精通幾種歐洲語言，以及梵語，孟加拉語，巴利語，普拉克利語，中文和藏語，他在羅馬薩皮恩扎大學任教直到他去世。 他被認為是佛教研究領域的創始人之一。Claude Sciaky-Menasché 曾是意大利的藝術商人，并且也是 “Storia ed esteticadella Cina classica”（古典中國歷史與美學）的作者，2010年出版于意大利Supernova, Limena。
Drs. Koos de Jong是一位荷蘭藝術史學家，幾十年來他一直私人收藏中國藝術品。他撰寫了數百篇文章和幾本書，內容涉及從中世紀到現代的荷蘭美術和裝飾藝術。2013年，他在《Dragon & Horse：Saddle Rugs and Other Horse Tack from China and Beyond》中發表了有關中國騎馬裝備的詳盡研究。1976年至2009年間，他曾在荷蘭的許多博物館工作，並曾擔任登博世歐洲陶瓷工作中心的主任。