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