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Home > Auctions > 25th May 2021 > Iron Age Silver Moustached Head Mount

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LOT 0336

GBP (£) 3,000 - 4,000
EUR (€) 3,460 - 4,610
USD ($) 4,180 - 5,570

Opening Bid
£2,700 (EUR 3,112; USD 3,758) (+bp*)

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Iron Age Silver Moustached Head Mount

1st millennium BC

A silver male bust modelled in the round with distinctive annular eyes, wedge-shaped nose above a crescent moustache, high cheek-bones and prominent chin, with detailing to the ears and textured hair, trumpet-shaped base; pierced to the back of the head. 33.3 grams, 35mm (1 1/4"). Very fine condition.

Ex private collection, London, UK; acquired by the collector's grandfather in continental Europe over 70 years ago; thence by descent; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no. 10721-175311.

Cf. Egg, M. & Stawinoga, G., Das hallstattzeitliche Fürstengrab von Strettweg bei Judenburg in der Obersteiermark, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Forschungsinstitut für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, 1996; Krön, P.(ed.), Die Kelten in Mitteleuropa, Salzburg, 1980.

The head is formed as a mount, with piercings in the flange and rear of the head for the purpose of attachment, likely to a larger moveable object. Stylistically, the moustache and wide annular eyes recall details found on later Iron Age items such as the Gundestrup cauldron and the Strettweg Cult Waggon. The latter, a bronze miniature cult vehicle, features a group of warriors and horsemen protecting a large nude female who supports a dish on her head, the whole edifice forming a wheeled stand and offering platform. Similar combinations of staring eyes and drooping moustache are found on a range of objects from Central and Northern Europe, including the stone head from Mšecké Žehrovice, Czech Republic; the antlered 'Cernunnos' figure on the Gundestrup Cauldron, Denmark (Krön, p.69); anthropomorphic sword-hilts from Gampelen, Switzerland (Krön, p.118) and Chatillon-sur-Indre, France (Krön, p.90).