Christie’s is all set to auction its rarest antique item ever from 7th Millenium B.C. A limestone mask dating back to the Neolithic age will go under the hammer at the upcoming Christie’s Antiquities auction in June, 2012 in New York. This one-off limestone mask bears a striking resemblance to the modern day hockey masks. The piece is expected to fetch around $400,000 to $600,000.
Sourced from the Judean deserts, not much is known about the mask except the fact that, the mask is structured to resemble the human skull. While the mask’s functions continue to remain shrouded in mystery, it belongs to an era when human societies were still in their nascent stage. The dry climatic conditions of the Judean desert are believed to have preserved the masks.
The mask features tiny holes along the perimeter which might have been used to add hair, besides shaped eyes, sharp nose and visible teeth in lipless mouth. Theories pertaining to the mask’s usability also suggest that the piece was probably fitted around a dead person’s face or pinned to a wall or statue.
The mask will be part of 260 lots which face the auction crowd at Christie’s this June. Together, the 260 items are expected to fetch around $ 8 million.
Talk of antiquities going under the hammer and you cannot help but mentioned some interesting items in this category that made news recently. The Roman imperial marble was a case in point. Having grabbed $23.8 million at a 2010 auction, it surpassed pre-sale estimates by ten times. In another extravagant achievement, a limestone lioness figure dating back to 3000 B.C sold for $57 million in 2007.
While we can always expect similar feats from the ancient mask, it is not only one that might set records. Aside from the Neolithic mask, Christie’s June auction will also include a Greek Bronze mirror and two Roman art pieces. The pre-sale estimate for the mirror stands at around $900,000. The latter, on the other hand, are expected to fetch about $500,000. With these pre-historic pieces around, the forthcoming Christie’s auction may just as well walk down the pages of history!