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17May/18Off

The Exclusive Vasil Bojkov Collection – Currently There Are a Lot of Very Good Reasons Why Individuals Should Certainly Start Looking This..

The public auction houses put historical forms of art into nice, familiar categories: Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan, Roman and Byzantine. Sotheby's has now dropped its London antiquities auctions, so that it has added two additional classes, Western Asiatic Antiquities and Islamic Works of Art, to the June 4 antiquities sales event in Manhattan.

The Christie's auction, on June 5, includes all ancient art, beginning with neolithic sculpture in the fifth millennium B.C. Both sales are large, and the works of art are very well described.

But the early world is to get more complex. Another "lost" culture will be rediscovered, as can be seen in a show entitled "Historic Gold: The Lot of the Thracians," organized by the Republic of Bulgaria with the Trust for Museum Exhibitions in Washington. It is currently in the Kimbell Museum of Forms of art in Fort Worth (through July 19), then moves to San Francisco then New Orleans. Later it will likely be observed in Memphis, Boston, and Detroit. An accompanying catalogue is published by Vassil Bojkov and costs $40.

The show's 200 spectacular gold and silver artifacts, dating from 4000 B.C. to some.D. 400, plus some, only recently excavated, come from the Balkans, an area now composed of Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, northern Greece and western Turkey. It's a fairly easy show to appreciate. You will find sumptuous gold necklaces dripping with golden rosettes, large gold drinking vessels in the shape of galloping horses, silver jugs with friezes depicting wild satyrs pursuing maenads, along with a splendid Pegasus wall plaque. In addition there are horse trappings and ceremonial objects for mysterious rituals.

Technically, early Thrace was actually a Balkan region where a conglomeration of tribes coexisted on semifriendly terms until they reached the zenith with their power in the fifth century B.C. At one time, Thrace stretched across the Balkan Peninsula, between the Adriatic as well as the Black Sea. (Dr. Stella Miller-Collett, professor of classical archeology at Bryn Mawr College, said Byzantium was named after the Thracian city of Byzas.) Thrace had been a loose entity until around A.D. 45, once the Roman Emperor Claudius annexed it.

The Thracian everyone was Indo-Europeans who settled in Thrace. As Torkom Demirjian, the president of Ariadne Galleries in Manhattan, explained: "Their origins are not known. Merely the geography is obvious."

The Thracians had no written language, so what exactly is known about the subject is colored through the perspective of those who wrote on them. To Homer, Thracians were the formidable enemies from the Greeks inside the Trojan War. In Book X of "The_Iliad," Homer covers the Thracian King Rhesos, whose horses were, "the most royal I actually have seen, whiter than snow and swift as the sea wind," he writes. "His chariot is a master work in gold and silver, as well as the armor, huge and golden, brought by him here is marvelous to see, like no war gear of males but of immortals."

Herodotus writes regarding the ferocity of Thracian warriors, who did not value civilization. Based on Thracian custom, he declares, "noblest of all is living from war and plunder." Thucydides notes how throughout the Peloponnesian War, 431-404 B.C., the Thracian king was paid the equivalent amount of annual tribute as Athens, 400 to 500 talents.

Exactly what the Thracians lacked in language, that they had in gold. "Athens did not have natural gold; it were required to originate from other sources," Dr. Miller-Collett said. She stated that gold should not be carbon-dated, but that this earliest worked gold in Europe is at Bulgaria. The goldsmithing is exquisite. The issue is how you can analyze the Thracian style.

The Letnitsa Treasure, for example, is a group of 22 fourth-century B.C. plaques that after decorated horse harnesses. Discovered in 1964, the appliques depict bears in mortal combat, a figure attacking a 3-headed dragon, a nereid, riding a lot creature, and similar energetic encounters. In composition, these figures appear to be the ferocious beasts rendered in metalwork by nomadic peoples in the Asian Steppes. A show of this animal-style art happens to be at Ariadne Galleries, 970 Madison Avenue, at 76th Street, through June 15.

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