1,500 year-old gold collar could bring £300,000 at Sotheby's



2015-06-26 11:25:32

A gold royal collar dating from the time of Attila the Hun will be offered at Sotheby's next week.

The stunning relic, dating from the fifth century, originates from Kyrgyzstan and was acquired by Sansyzbay Umutkor in the late 19th century.

Having remained in the same family collection for more than 100 years, it will now be offered at auction for the first time with an estimate of £200,000-£300,000.

The collar consists of a woven gold strap with gold and garnet cloisonné dragon terminals, with the level of craftsmanship denoting the high social status of its original wearer.

Pieces such as these were introduced to the west by the Huns, the group of horse-riding nomads who travelled from the east into the region northeast of the Black Sea in the late fourth century.

Despite being viewed as barbarians whose hordes overran Europe, the Huns also produced decorative objects with a high level of sophistication. The gold collar is previously unrecorded by historians, and offers a valuable insight into the exceptional objects produced during the period.

“I was intrigued when I first saw the collar as its opulence and forceful decoration immediately evoked the great power of the ancient ruler who wore it," said Erik Bijzet, Sotheby's European Sculpture & Works of Art Specialist.

"Even fragments of Eastern Hunnic jewellery are exceedingly rare, so finding a complete collar which originated in the region where the Huns first emerged is nothing short of spectacular. It is a privilege to handle a seminal work of art made by one of the formative peoples in world history, a people that ruled from the Atlantic coasts in Europe to the plains of China.”

The collar will be amongst the highlights of the Sotheby’s Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art sale, which takes place in London on December 3.

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