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Country Life Every Week - - Art Market -

The ter­ra­cotta fig­ures, which stood about 40in high, were pre­sum­ably also vo­tive of­fer­ings in­tended to stand in niches or against sanc­tu­ary walls, thus their backs were un­worked. The robes and faces were sim­i­lar to Greek mar­ble fig­ures of the pe­riod and nei­ther the woman (Fig 4) nor the bearded man showed any trace of an enig­matic Etr­uscan smile. Did sex­ism rear its head here, as so of­ten in the art mar­ket, or was it merely con­di­tion and the fact that he had lost his arms? The female sold for £100,000, but her com­pan­ion reached only £68,750.

Medina Aza­hara, oth­er­wise Mad­i­nataz-zahra, the shin­ing city, was a vast palace com­plex built by 10th-cen­tury caliphs of Cór­doba, but sacked and aban­doned in 1010. It is said that it con­tained 4,300 col­umns. It be­came a quarry af­ter its fall, re­cy­cling el­e­ments, and more than a cen­tury of ex­ca­va­tions have re­vealed only about 10% of the site.

A typ­i­cal 13¼in-high Umayyad mar­ble cap­i­tal of the pe­riod carved with scrolling flo­ral mo­tifs de­rived from the Corin- thian or­der sold for £47,500 here, again above es­ti­mate (Fig 5).

Old friends and Mas­ters

Fig 4: A 3rd-cen­tury-bc Etr­uscan ter­ra­cotta fig­ure. £100,000

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