Archive for the ‘Aboutaam’ Category

Caligula’s Tomb Found

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Roman Coin Depicting Caligula

The International  press is full of the news about the supposed discovery of the tomb of the Roman Emperor Caligula near Lake Nemi, some thirty kilometers from Rome.  Caligula was one of history’s most notorious monsters.  Cruel, vicious, and almost certainly insane,  his exploits, according to the Roman historian Suetonius, included  murdering his grandmother and brother, committing incest with all three of his sisters, proclaiming himself a god and demanding to be worshipped as such, and making his favorite horse a member of the Roman senate.  Born Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus in 12 A.D., he was given the name Caligula (“little boots” while with his father Germanicus during his campaigns in Germany.  He was murdered by a conspiracy involving the Praetorian Guard, the Senate and the Court in 41 A.D.

Italian police, acting on a tip , arrested a man who was trying to smuggle abroad a statue of the emperor that was recovered from the site.  The marble statue was depicted wearing  a god’s robes and “caligae,” the sandal-boots for which Caligula was named.  The discovery of the statue led the police to the tomb.

Not so fast, says Mary Beard, a professor of Classics at Cambridge University and a historian well-known for debunking myths about antiquity. “All the evidence we have from the ancient world suggests that this cannot be so,” she says. “There is no suggestion whatsoever, so far as I know, that this burial was at Nemi, or that it was a grand tomb. True, Caligula had a big villa there, but it is almost inconceivable that this assassinated symbol of imperial monstrosity would have been given a grand monument, plus a big statue there. Besides there is no evidence for that whatsoever.”

Excavations of the tomb have begun  and it will be fascinating to see what turns up.

Dead Sea Scrolls To Be Digiltalized by Google

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Hicham Aboutaam and Ali Aboutaam, co-owners of Phoenix Ancient Art,  welcome all contributions that further our knowledge about the ancient world.  That is why it is such good news to learn that Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority are working together to digitalize the 2000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls.  It is a tremendous undertaking since the Collection includes some 30,000 fragments of the scrolls.  The project will make the scrolls accessible to everyone with a computer and will preserve our heritage for future generations.


Friday, October 15th, 2010

Rarities on the stand of Phoenix Ancient Art include:

Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161 A.D.) [detail] 


Bronze Roman, second half  of the 2nd century A.D. Preserved  H: 115 cm. (45.3 in.)

The statue is in a remarkable state of preservation, despite its loss of the arms and legs. Parts of it have a beautiful light bluish-green patina, while the rest retains the dark brown coloring of the original bronze. Unlike many ancient statues, this one is fully modeled on all sides.  The figure is a larger-than-life size male adult shown in heroic nudity. The presence of several small holes on the top of the head, as well as the remains of lead on the hair above the forehead, suggests that the figure once wore a crown.   The head of the statue is clearly a portrait, presumably one of an emperor, Antoninus Pius,  and the sculpture was most likely made during his 23 year reign.  Under his rule the Roman Empire enjoyed peace and prosperity.  Antoninus Pius is one of the so called “Five Good Emperors” : the others were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, who preceded him, and Marcus Aurelius, who succeeded him..


Tuesday, October 12th, 2010


Rarities on the stand of Phoenix Ancient Art include:

The horse dates from the Geometric Period, 10th to 8th century B.C.  The period was the time great cultural advancement: Homer and the rise of epic poetry and the development of the visual arts. Bronze figurines were produced, depicting people, animals and birds. Representations of horses are among the most familiar symbols in the Geometric iconography. A great number of bronze horses such as this one were used as votive offerings in temples and sanctuaries. This small, stylized, and charming horse is standing upright, his head proudly raised. His chest and neck reveal his .power and his small head is delicately modeled in great detail.

Unusual Finds at the Palm Beach Art Fair

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Certainly, you’ll find beautiful antiques at the Palm Beach/America’s Fine Art & Antique Fair.  Such finds at the 2007 fair included an oval punch bowl once owned by Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, that was from around 1795. Owned by Chinese export dealers Cohen & Cohen, this star piece sold in the six figures.

Phoenix Ancient Art exhibited outstanding antiquities, including an Egyptian granite torso of King Nepherities from the 29th Dynasty (399-393 B.C.) that was priced at $2 million. As Hicham Aboutaam, co-owner of Phoenix Ancient Art, said, “There is a lot of interest in every piece we have.”

In addition to these traditional antique offerings, the fair saw some unusual collections as well. The 19th Century Shop from Baltimore, Maryland sold a collection of NASA memorabilia including documents that related to Apollo 11th first manned moon landing in 1969. Young artists were features for the first time at the fair, as well, including silversmith Sidsell Dorph-Jenasen and jewelry makers Cornelia Rating and Lily Hastedt.

Aboutaams Make Ancient Art Accessible to All

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Some people might find the idea of purchasing antiquities a bit intimidating. After all, prices are high, and the objects are extremely rare and often thousands of years old. However, the delight one experiences in being the custodian of such an ancient art object as it travels further along on its journey through the ages while simultaneously enjoying the object’s unique beauty should overcome the fear of getting in on this life enhancing experience.

For those who are still hesitating, the brothers Aboutaam, Ali and Hicham, have made purchasing ancient art extraordinarily user-friendly. First of all, Phoenix Ancient Art galleries, located in Geneva and New York, are open to the public and NOT by appointment only. They publish catalogues and offer curated exhibitions of their collections. The Aboutaams have recently started e-tiquities to further simplify the acquisition of ancient art through the internet.

The most impressive service that the Aboutaams offer, which should set the most nervous potential collector at ease, is their guarantee. Phoenix will stand behind their product, even if it means a full refund on a million-dollar piece whose provenance turns out to be false.

Peter Chavkin of the law firm Mintz Levin, who has worked with the Aboutaams and others in the antiquities marketplace, explains that, “the Aboutaams have the wonderful approach of not sticking collectors with a piece that turns out to have problems.”

Because of these practices business is booming at Phoenix Ancient Art, selling more antiquities at higher prices than the famous auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

So now there is no excuse not to get involved in a more active way with antiquities. Go get yourself a 4,000 year old statue. You’ll be glad you did.