1. Jade Boulder

With its original 16th-century Ming dynasty wood base Size: 83 cm high, 48 cm wide (with stand) Worthy of an […]

2. Green Jade Pebble

From the Green Jade River, Khotan, Xinjiang Province, China Size: 12.5 cm long The principal sources for the jade called […]

3. Red Porphyry Slab

Roman Egypt, 1st century ad; Mamluk Cairo, 14th century AD Size: 143 × 43 cm Soon after joining Christie’s in […]

8. The Emperor’s Foot

Roman Empire, late 1st century BC Size: 48 cm long Marble Probably from a twice life-size statue of the Emperor […]

9. Kemal Bey

In the mid-1980s a large swarm of the antique dealers of Istanbul suddenly abandoned their traditional hive in the Grand […]

10. Touchstone Button

In September 1994, I flew from Hong Kong to Kunming with George and Catherine Ortiz. Our plan was to travel […]

12. Cylcon Stone

Australia, age unknown Size: 38.5 cm long More mysterious than this object would be difficult to find. The National Gallery […]

19. A Grooved Stone Celt

Illinois or Wisconsin, North America, 1st millennium AD Size: 20 cm high This is what is also known as a […]

23. Hunting Hound

Near East, 3rd–4th century Size: 70 cm long, Stone Not only man’s best friend, but also his most useful one, […]

24. The Hero of Mythology

Western Asia, 3rd millennium BC Size: 26.3 cm high, 23.7 cm wide This is an astounding representation of the mythical […]

28. A Celtic Bronze Wassail Cup

Northern England, 4th–3rd century BC Size: 11 cm diameter Celtic heads have attitude, and this is no exception. Whether the […]

29. Celtic Stone Head

Yorkshire , circa 3rd century BC Size: 39 cm high Oak base with forged nails, probably 18th century It is […]

36. Alfredo Biagini

Baboon Rome, 1930 Size: 50 cm high Marble Alfredo Biagini (1886–1952) is not a name well known today, unlike Gino […]

41. Ottoman Tanbour

Turkey, first half 18th century Size: 135 cm long Wood, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell, gold leaf, ivory MUSIC The vast arc of […]

43. Ottoman Tanbour

Turkey, second half 19th century Size: 133 cm long Wood, ivory, tortoiseshell, gold leaf

45. Ottoman Saz

Turkey, second half 19th century Size: 117 cm long Wood, ivory, tortoiseshell, gold leaf

46. Ottoman Saz

Turkey, second half 19th century Size: 124 cm long Wood, ivory, tortoiseshell, gold leaf

47. Setar

Morocco, 18th century Size: 109 cm long Wood, bone, gut

48. Ottoman Oud

Turkey, second half 19th century Size: 75 cm long Wood, ivory, tortoiseshell, gold leaf

49. Ottoman Oud

Turkey, second half 19th century Size: 79 cm long Wood, ivory, tortoiseshell, gold leaf

50. Ottoman Kermanche

Turkey, second half 19th century Size: 41 cm long Wood, ivory, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell, gold leaf

51. Ottoman Kermanche

Turkey, second half 19th century Size: 43 cm long Wood, ivory, tortoiseshell, gold leaf

52. Tambura

South India, 18th century Size: 72 cm long Wood, ivory, black compound, gilt bronze

53. Tambura

North India, 19th century Size: 93 cm long Wood, ivory, pigments

55. The Zikr Drum

Kashghar, Xingkiang, 19th century Size: 2.20 m long The Zikr, in this case, was a communal spiritual exercise carried out […]

57. Three Bell-Stones

Argentina Sizes: 74.5 cm, 78 cm, 59 cm The locals in western Argentina trek for days with mules into the […]

58. ‘La Piedre Campana’

Argentina Size: 89 × 16 cm Stone, wood, silver, leather, string It was hanging close to the front door of […]

59. ‘Arreador de Ñandu’

Argentina Size: 84 × 37 cm The South American ostrich is called ‘Suri’ by the Indians, and ‘Ñandu’ by the […]

60. ‘Las Tabas’

Argentina Size: 72 × 32 cm; 62 × 40 cm Bone, iron, silver and wood. When, in the year 1536, […]

61. A Collection of Forty Scrimshaw

circa 1800–1900 It is beyond this cataloguer’s capacity to write anything meaningful about this unusual, and possibly unique collection of […]

65. Green Schist Phallus

Not illustrated Mongolia, probably 13th–14th century Size: 14.5 cm long This rather unusual tri-testicular tool, with its curious button for […]

69. A Fon Wood Phallus

Dahomey, 19th century Size: 27 cm long Few short stories can match this one. In 1977 Bruce Chatwin went to […]

71. A Rare Bone of a Dodo

Mauritius, 17th century Size: 13.5 cm The arrival of the Dutch fleet off Mauritius in 1598 spelled the imminent extinction […]

74. The Dodo

Nick Bibby Cast by Pangolin Editions Size: 78 cm high The Pangolin team in Mauritius was supported by Nick Arnold […]

76. Didus the Hooded Dodo

Not illustrated Coloured engraving, London, 1803 ‘G.Edwards delin’; ‘J.Pass sculp’ Size: 27 × 21 cm

83. Taino Stone Zemi

Antilles, West Indies, 900–1500 AD Size: 15 cm high According to Christopher Columbus, these Zemi stones were objects of great devotion, […]

88. Yoruba Divination Tray

Nigeria, 19th century Size: 42 cm diameter You put sand in the tray, shake it all about, and read off […]

89. Han Pottery Money Bag

Not illustrated China, 206 bc–220 AD Size: 23 cm high It was essential to go into the afterlife with some money, […]

92. An Earthenware Soul-Catcher

Not illustrated Wadja, Northern Nigeria, 19th century Size: 42 cm high During the ceremonies over which a witch-doctor presided, something […]

93. Mirror of the Soul

Iran, 12th–13th century, inscriptions 14th century Size: 12.3 cm diameter Cast brass, engraved It would be difficult to find a […]

95. Six Kashkuls

Iran, 19th century Size: 31 to 35 cm long The strange history of the coco-de-mer from the Seychelles, and our […]

97. Tibetan Monastery Key

Tibet, 17th–18th century Size: key 12.5 cm; leather strap 65 cm In the popular imagination the monks of Shangri-La sat […]

100. A Ming Foot-Massager

China, 17th century Size: 30 cm long Ivory, steel, gold and wood If you saw the 1991 film Raise the […]

102. A Scribe’s Eraser

South Germany or Italy, circa 1600 Size: 37.5 cm long Steel, engraved and gilded, and carved bone It was not […]

103. Man Ray: Objet Trouvé

Schlumberger, mid-1960s Size: 10.5 cm In the 1960s Jean Riboud was Man Ray’s most important collector in Paris. He was […]

105. Wencslaus Hollar

(1607–1677) A Fur Muff with a Band of Brocade Etching, 1645, first state (of two), a very good impression of […]

106. Wencslaus Hollar

Not illustrated Head of a Cat (Pennington 2109) Size: 18.9 × 14 cm 1646 Etching, a good impression of this […]

108. Albrecht Dürer

Not illustrated The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (B. 64: M., Holl. 167; S.M.S. 115) Size: 39.2 x 28.2 cm […]

109. Albrecht Dürer

Not illustrated Melencolia I (B. 74; M., Holl. 75; S.M.S. 71) Size: 23.7 × 18.6 cm 1514 Engraving, watermark Bishop’s […]

110. Albrecht Dürer

Not illustrated Philipp Melanchthon (B. 105; M., Holl. 104; S.M.S. 101) Size: 17.6 × 13.2 cm Circa 1526 Engraving, a […]

111. Melchior Lorch

Sultan Suleiman II Standing with an Elephant Not illustrated Engraving, 1559 Hollstein 35, the third of three states Size: 39 […]

114. Ka’ba Key?

Probably made in Mecca, bearing the date 573 ah/1177–8 ad Size: 37 cm long Iron, copper and silver alloy This […]

120. The Begum Samru

North India, circa 1820–1830 Size: 77 × 60.5 cm Oil on canvas She was a beguiling beauty in her youth, […]

122. The Sepoy of Goa

Indo-Portuguese, 18th century Size: 66.5 × 49.5 cm Oil on canvas This young Hindu sepoy clasping his rifle appears to […]

123. A Pair of Safavid Tiles

Iran, 17th century Size: 23 cm square The subject of these unusually refined Safavid tiles, the drunken Sheikh with loosened […]

125. Silk Heraldic Animal Rug

Probably Kashan, Iran, 16th or 19th-century Size: 198 cm × 116 cm This rug has many interesting stories to tell. […]

127. Anthology of Poetry

Probably Herat, Afghanistan, early 16th-century AD Size: 22.5 × 15 cm Lacquer binding, circa 1600 AD The manuscript has 36 folios including […]

128. The Calligrapher’s Craft

A collection of Calligraphers’ and Illuminators’ implements Ottoman Turkey, 17th–19th century 20 calligraphers’ knives (kalamtras) 14 burnishing tools (muhur) 7 […]

131. A Magnificent Ottoman Cabinet

Istanbul, 17th century Size: 1.34 m high Wood, tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, ivory This style of decoration is typical of the 17th […]

132. Dido’s Ring

We were invited to dinner by Gill Goldsmith in the autumn of 1979, to celebrate the engagement of her eldest […]

139. Jade Seal of Pir-Budaq

Iran, circa 1454 Size: 3.5 cm diameter Jade mounted in silver Redoubtable warriors and carvers of empire, the Turkmen tribe […]

145. Jambudvipa

The Jain Psychic Cosmograph, India, circa 1800 Size: 2.40 m square According to Jain cosmology, Jambūdvīpa is at the centre […]