Watch | Exceptional Forms

Watch | Exceptional Forms

Highlights from our November 2022 Auction

Our curated auction of Fine Ancient Art, African & Oceanic Art and Natural History, Form Through Time is a journey through world history and culture.



This November's Form Through Time auction features a fine selection of impressive examples of Ancient Art, African & Oceanic Art and Natural History. The sale is led by a superb iridescent ammonite from the Bearpaw Formation in Canada dating to the Upper Cretaceous Period, a carved stone Celtic Head dating to the 1st - 2nd Century A.D. and The Pruen Oinophoros. 

The Pruen Oinophoros is a particularly fine and unique example of the distinctive terra sigillata African red slip ware vessels produced in the form of gods and mythical beings related to Bacchic rituals. A notable parallel is the vessel at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta (inventory number 1996.010.002). Likely a wine vessel, the piece depicts a finely modelled youthful satyr, further underlining the use of the jug for the consumption of alcohol. Almost certainly produced at one of the major North African pottery factories located in Africa Proconsularis (modern Tunisia and north-eastern Algeria) during the 3rd - 4th century A.D. – the piece was exported in antiquity to northern Egypt, where it was excavated by Commander Ashmead Pruen of the East India Company in 1836.

Further highlights include an ancient Egyptian Ptolemaic limestone relief of Harpocrates, a rare fishermans' god figure from the Cook Islands and an ancient Egyptian Figure of Osiris dating to 664 - 332 B.C. 

Osiris is most often represented as a shrouded mummy, emphasizing his connection with the dead. He holds a flail and a short shepherd’s crook, insignia associated with Egyptian kingship, and wears a long, braided beard, emblematic of divinity. On the front of his tall crown is a uraeus, a cobra ready to spit fire at his enemies. The horns may link him with the sun god, who often appears as a ram-headed man at the end of the day and during the night. By the first millennium B.C., statues and statuettes of Osiris were offered in profusion, reflecting both the importance of the god and a shift in how the ancient Egyptians performed certain rituals. Some of the places where statues of Osiris have been found can be identified as temples and shrines belonging to him, but they have also been found as offerings in contexts where explanations are not evident.

The auction also includes a private collection of Ancient Bactrian Idols. From a private collection formed in the 1960s, these ancient Bactrian stone idols have an elemental quality that speaks to a modern aesthetic. With a powerful simplicity of form, each was chosen for the beauty of the stone.


Discover more about the Bactrian Idols ⇒



Auction Information



Wednesday 30th November 2022 at 2pm

Live Online


View the auction catalogue ⇒





Lyon & Turnbull offers four auctions of Antiquities annually; with sculpture from ancient Greece and Rome placed into biannual dedicated sections of our Five Centuries sales and Fine Antiquities offered in our biannual Form Through Time editorial sales. This ensures that the broad range of Antiquities offered at Lyon and Turnbull each reach the correct market.


Learn more ⇒






Alex Tweedy



0131 557 8844





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