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Exhibition of Old Romanian Antiquities in Bucharest

The Bucharest residents and foreign tourists who visit Romania’s Capital during this period have the opportunity to visit, during the week of December 4 – 8, an exhibition focused on pieces of old Romanian art, which reflects the richness of the Balkan culture of the end of the Middle Ages from the North of the Danube, Visit Bucharest announced on Tuesday, November 28. Both objects are exhibited in collections specific to the traditional Romanian space, of religious or widespread influence, and ancient ceramic pieces from our area, both Hellenistic and Roman, and from the Near East.

All objects are part of the Small Auction of Old Romanian Art and Antiquities, scheduled for Friday, December 8, 2023, at noon, exclusively on the Artmark LIVE platform.

One of the central pieces of the exhibition, moreover having the highest starting price (EUR 9,000, far below its value in a high-profile international auction), is an exceptional wine jug, dated ca. 325-310 BCE, from the classical period of Greek pottery painted with mythological scenes. The museum piece is attributed to a well-known artist (the so-called „white sakkos painter,” having works exhibited in many antiquities museums in Europe and the US), working in one of the Greek colonies in the Apulia region of southern Italy (probably at Canosa), the prolific white sakkos painter is recognized in history for his richly decorative style. His pieces’ recognizable stylistic features identify him, including female figures wearing white sakkos. This hair accessory covers the entire scalp as a sack made of various materials such as silk or wool.

The piece on display at the Cesianu-Racoviță Palace, with an exceptional level of craftsmanship, is made of beige-reddish ceramic and represents the goddess of victory, Nike, driving the chariot with the four horses of the gods of Greek mythology (known as the Hippoi Athanatoi).

Romanian antique

Among the oldest pieces of the exhibition, in a good state of preservation, the selection of ancient ceramics stands out: a terracotta votive statuette representing the god Dionysos, Greece (Hellenistic period, 4th-1st century BC), a Mycenaean vessel, decorated with geometric elements (12th-11th century BC), but also a drinking vessel from ancient Iran (ca. 1200-1000 BC) and an ancient Hellenistic pyx, decorated with a symbolic representation of Aphroditei-Swan (dating from the 3rd century BC).

The auction exhibition presents pieces of carved linden wood furniture in the Neo-Brâncovenesque style for those looking for old or traditional interior decoration arrangements. One of the most massive pieces of the exhibition is a Neo-Romanian showcase made of carved wood decorated with solar rosettes. For Neo-Romanian decorative art pieces, prices vary between 50 and 500 euros. Among the most coveted pieces are six dowry chests collected from Sibiu, Banat, and Gorj. A rare collector’s item is the Saxon dowry chest, including a drawer from Sibiu, inscribed with the bride’s name and dated 1872, which reached the current price of 700 euros.

From the clothing selection, a superb clothing set with museum value from the Forest Land, Hunedoara, is worth noting, consisting of a shirt with hemp lapels decorated with the tree of life, approx. 1910. In addition, from the same historical period, the exhibition also presents a bridal clothing ensemble with museum value, this time coming from Şicula, Arad, consisting of a spacel, hems decorated with geometric motifs, the flower of life and doves, made of hemp.

Another lot with museum value, from the Mehedinți area, is the ensemble of a wedding lapel shirt decorated with broken embroidery, a wool shawl with metallic thread, velvet, and tulpan. In front of the audience is also an impressive Saxon „post” ensemble consisting of three pieces, ia, fota, sort and bows, dated 1954. In the exhibition, a Saxon cowl made of leather and fur, richly decorated, also appears floral, embroidered with the owner’s initials, dated 1904.

The folk costumes are complemented by a selection of Olten, Bessarabian and Turkish carpets, priced between 250 and 400 euros.

Highly valued in this auction, it is also a superb example of a jewelry piece from the end of the 19th century. In the old days, the „expensive necklace” was made of coral beads – rare and accessible only to the wealthy, standing out as a symbol of financial power. The piece present in the auction is decorated with Mediterranean coral and coins from the royalist period, coming from the Maramureș area. The same category includes a salve of Maria Theresa’s silver thalers, two Franz Joseph coins, and Venetian glass beads from the Transylvania area. 1920.

Pieces of traditional Romanian art, traditional costumes, carpets, dowry boxes, dishes and traditional furniture or unique ornaments can be admired at the Cesianu-Racovița Palace on November 28 and 29, as well as between December 4 and 8, free of charge and without prior appointment.

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