The 5,000-year-old Guennol stargazer figure sold for $14.7m at Christie’s over the weekend.
That’s a huge increase on its $3m estimate.
The figure originates from Anatolia (modern day Turkey) during the Chalcolithic period (circa 3,000-2,200 BC).
This is the finest known stargazer figure
It’s one of a subset of religious figures known as the Kiliya type that were produced by an advanced culture within the region.
The figures are referred to as stargazers as their heads face upwards.
Typically they were used in burials and are commonly found with their necks ritually broken.
The present lot is the finest of around 15 intact figures.
G Max Bernheimer, Christie’s head of antiquities, explained to the Antiques Trade Gazette that the lot is “universally recognized as the finest Kiliya idol in existence.
“This extremely rare work, though dating to the 3rd millennium B.C., is widely appreciated across collecting categories, and was a source of inspiration for 20th century masters for its sleek and modern appeal.”
A terracotta roundel created by Andrea della Robbia for the legendary palace of Poggio Reale realised $895,500, more than double its $400,000 estimate.
The palace was created for the king of Naples in 1487 and said to be one of the most lavish in Italy.
In 1494, it was ransacked by a French army led by Charles VIII. In the intervening centuries the ruins were destroyed.
This is one of a tiny number of pieces made for the palace to have survived.
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