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Items more than about 500 years old

Egyptian Antiquities

Egyptian Dynasties Dynastic Period Early Dynastic Period 1st & 2nd Dynasties 3100 – 2686 BC   Old Kingdom 3rd to 6th Dynasties 2686 – 2181 BC   First Intermediate Period 7th to 10th Dynasties 2181 – 2050 BC   Middle Kingdom 11th & 12th Dynasties 2050 – 1750 BC   Second Intermediate Period 13th to […]  Continue Reading »

Mesopotamian Antiquities

Sumer (3000 – 2300 B.C.) The Sumerians invented the city and writing. Their art consisted of statues and painting in comic strip style narratives. Human eyes are always made extremely large and, in paintings, are always seen from the front. Human figures are stylised but animals are more natural. Pictures of struggles between animals and […]  Continue Reading »

Classical Greek & Roman Antiquites

Ancient Greek Ceramics During the Archaic period (700-480 BC), pottery was decorated in black and red by firing different clays together (not by painting). Up to about 530BC, the decoration was done in black on a red background; after 530 BC, the decoration was done in red on a black background. The heads of all […]  Continue Reading »

Chinese Ceramics – Antiquity

  Bronze Age (1500-476 BC} Chinese Bronze Age pottery was mainly grey but small quantities of white pottery were produced. This “proto-porcelain” seems to have been produced almost by chance. Kaolin (the main constituent of porcelain) was relatively common and the temperature required to smelt bronze (1100 degrees C) happens to be close to the […]  Continue Reading »

Islamic Ceramics

In the seventh century, Arab armies created an empire in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean. Artisans were able to move easily between the various states of this empire sharing ideas and techniques. One result was that for almost a thousand years, the Islamic countries produced some of the world’s finest ceramics. The earliest […]  Continue Reading »

Early Glass

The basic components of glass are silica (sand), soda (or potash) and lime. The silica, when melted by heat, forms the glass; the soda acts as a flux to allow the glass to melt at a lower temperature; and the lime is a stabiliser. The combination can be modified. Lead oxide used as the flux […]  Continue Reading »

Islamic Glass

Glass making in Europe made no advances for almost a thousand years after the fall of the Roman Empire. But in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, the industry remained active. With the establishment of the Islamic Empire in the seventh century, an Islamic style developed. In the eighth and ninth centuries, engraved and cut […]  Continue Reading »

Chinese History & Dynasties

Shang Dynasty (1523 – 1028 BC) The earliest know historical dynasty in Bronze Age China was the Shang. The Shang were ruled by a powerful king who was also a religious leader. They worshipped natural phenomena, such as rivers, mountains and points of the compass. Sacrifices of animals and, sometimes, human prisoners of war were […]  Continue Reading »

Chinese Bronzes

Although carvings in marble, bone and jade exist, the great art of the Shang dynasty (1523 to 1028 B.C.) was that of ritual bronze vessels. These were intended to hold wine, water, grain and meat to be used in sacrificial rites. The vessels were decorated with stylised representations of animals, governed by rigid conventions. A […]  Continue Reading »

Chinese Jade

Jade, and particularly Chinese jade, can be a very difficult item to purchase wisely, unless you are an expert or deal through a reputable dealer. The confusion starts because there are actually two minerals (nephrite and jadeite) which we, in the West, call jade. These range in colour from white through brown to green, and […]  Continue Reading »

Gandharan Sculpture

From the about the 6th century BC to the 5th century AD, Gandhara was a small community on the Silk Road from China to Rome. It was located near the border of modern Pakistan and Afghanistan just east of the Khyber Pass. Its capital, Taxila, was 20 miles from present day Islamabad. It was subject […]  Continue Reading »

Islamic Copper, Silver & Bronze

From 1037 to 1194, the Seljuks united Mesopotamia and most of Persia under their rule. During this period, the technique of decorating bronze vessels with inlaid silver or copper, or both, was developed in eastern Persia. From here the technique spread to Mosul (now Al Mawsil in northern Iraq) with which it became particularly associated. […]  Continue Reading »