Archive for the ‘Antiquities’ Category


Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Egyptian Museum in Cairo


The vast wealth of archeological treasures documenting Egypt’s ancient history is housed in the Egyptian Museum, which is located on  Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the site of the recent demonstrations that has led to the forcing out of the country’s long-standing president Hosni Mubarak.. Archeologist Zahi Hawass, who was recently appointed Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities, has confirmed that objects were taken during a break-in on 28 January. Eighteen objects were stolen and that some 70 other items have been damaged.  A gilded wood statue of the boy king Tutankhamen being carried by a goddess is  among the missing as is a limestone statue of the King Tut’s father, Pharaoh Akhenaton, holding an offering table.

 During the political unrest, hundreds of people formed a human chain to protect the museum from vandals, but some looters managed to get in anyway.  The museum is now being guarded by the military, as are the pyramids and the Sphinx.

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.

Storm in Israel Reveals Roman Statue

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

A large Roman white marble statue of a headless, armless woman wearing a toga was revealed when a severe storm in Ashkelon, Israel,  in December knocked down part of a cliff.  The statue, which had been buried for centuries, is estimated to be some 1,700.  It measures 4 feet in height and weighs 440 pounds.  Believed to be an image of the goddess Aphrodite, the figure was discovered by someone walking along the shore on the coast west of Jerusalem  The incredible find will now be put on display in a museum.


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

A 25-foot-long garden wall which surrounds one of Pompeii’s best-known houses, the so-called House of the Moralist collapsed on 30 November, raising even more fears about the future of the ancient city. Archaeologists, commentators and opposition politicians have accused Berlusconi’s government of neglect and mismanagement of the UNESCO world heritage site, which has long been plagued by poor maintenance and lack of funds

The 2,000-year-old building lies along Via dell’Abbondanza, close to the ruins of the frescoed House of Gladiators, which crumbled into a pile of rubble earlier this month.  The house itself, which suffered no major damage, owes its name to three rules of etiquette inscribed on the walls of the dining room:

– Wash your feet, and a slave will dry them. A cloth covers your couch; keep it clean!

– Do not flirt with another man’s wife. Watch your language.

– Don’t fight or argue. Otherwise, go home.

Ancient Building Collapses in Pompeii

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Hicham and Ali Aboutaam, co-owners of Phoenix Ancient Art inNew York and Geneva, lament the collapse of the House of Gladiators in Pompeii.”  The Italian newspaper, La Republica, called the collapse a “world scandal.”   The Italian government’s cutting funds for heritage conservation was blamed and 800 cultural institutions in Italy closed in protest.  Heritage experts claim that other monuments in Italy are on the brink of destruction. “With no maintenance and non-existent funds, the entire country is at risk. From Bologna’s twin towers to the dome of Florence’s Cathedral and Nero’s Golden House in Rome, many other monuments could be reduced to rubble,” Alessandra Mottola Molfino, head of the environmentalist lobby Italia Nostra, told the daily Corriere della Sera.

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.

Understanding Cypriot Art

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Certainly, most people know about the island Cyprus. They may not, however, know about the antiques that come from Cyprus and are called Cypriotic art and antiques.

These unique antiques, like those available at Phoenix Ancient Art, were part of a thriving culture in Cyprus from the 9th century B.C. until the Roman period. With its location in the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus was able to be a melting pot of cultures and artistic talent, resulting in a fascinating style.

Cypriot art and antique includes pottery, stone sculptures and terracottas and they are delightful to look at and enjoy in the home.