ARTICLES




A little       
COLLECTION
               of antiques
Africa, Asia & the Middle East



One might wonder what is the purpose of such a collection.
Good question.

Well, let’s just say that I like to surround myself with artefacts I find attractive and which have a meaning in terms of cultural heritage.
Some items are a bit of a mistery to me. And my descriptions may not always be very accurate. Feel free to correct or enlighten me!

Oh, and my English is a trifle rusty. I implore your leniency in this regard.






three elephant headed vase - Thailand


My very first Asian antique. It was love at first sight. I suspect the glaze got eroded by sea water. It was probably found in a shipwreck. Unglazed foot. Circular mark under the base (due to the way it was stored in the kiln during the firing process). Thailand. Probably late 17th century (or so I was told).
18cm in height, 16cm in diameter.

elephant headed jarlet - Thailand


17th c. antique blue & white elephant headed vase or jug. It probably came from the same shipwreck (see the previous item).

elephant headed jarlet - Thailand


... and its rear. I love the globular shape of this vase. Reminds me of my aunt Agatha. I was told it came from the Satchanalai region, Sukhothai Province, Thailand.







Ganesh rat


Celadon rat. One of my favourite artefacts. I read somewhere that Ganesh could assume the form of a rat. Reason why rats were allowed to go freely in his temples. Thailand.

Squat vase - Thailand


"Squat" vase. Love its shape and green glaze. Unglazed foot. 16th century. Thailand.

three jarlets - Hoi Han Hoard


Three jarlets from the famous Hoi An Hoard (a shipwrek off the Vietnamese coast). I find them exquisite. What were they made for? Were they supposed to contain ointment?







Boat man and naga dragon - Thailand


Man and dragon boat. Ancestor figure? A very unusual, marvellous and rare example of such Thai figurines. I was told it was a symbol and "request" for fertility (rain) and family harmony.

Boat man and naga dragon - Thailand


It features a few holes and cavities for small offerings (droplets & grains) or incense sticks.

Boat man and naga dragon - Thailand


From Thailand.







Chinese roof tile


Chinese roof tile. The person who sold it to me (a Polish antrophologist who switched to antiques) told me that she salvaged it (along with a few other tiles) from a pile of rubble as some workers were renovating an old temple's roof with brand new tiles...!

Chinese roof tile


It depicts the head of a dragon, apparently.

celadon covered bowl - Thailand


Two-toned glazed covered bowl, with simple but elegant cone shaped finial to the lid. Flower petal design. Unglazed foot. Thailand.







Khmer jar with protruding dog


Vase or jug (Thai? Khmer?). Unusual glaze combination: brown glazed body and celadon green neck. The dog head, paws and tail protrude from the upper body section of the vase.

Khmer jar with zoomorphic handles


Vase or jug (Thai? Khmer?) with zoomorphic handles (elephant)

khmer lidded storage pot


Khmer lidded storage pot. A fine example. Circa 9th century. Hand shaped (No potter's wheel).







guardian dragon lion


Celadon brown and cream glazed guardian creature, head of a dragon / body of a lion. Its silhouette matches 2 mythical Thai creatures named Srihara Mungkorn and Kraisorn Jumlang. Which is it? You tell me!

guardian dragon lion


Reminds me of aunt Agatha's denture (scary woman, I tell you). Heavy piece of pottery. Thailand.

khmer lidded storage pot


Lovely ribbed & creamy glazed jarlet. Unglazed foot. Don't know much about it. 16th century? Later, earlier? Thailand.







celadon vase with dragons or lizards. Thailand.


One of my favourite artefacts. Celadon vase with dragon-like lizards. What they are exactly, I don't know. Feel free to comment. Circular mark under the base (firing). Thailand.

celadon vase with dragons or lizards. Thailand.


The glaze is partially eroded. Does it mean that the artefact remained underwater for a while?

bird jug - Thailand


Heavy celadon rooster shaped jug with shallow incisions. Great heavy piece. Circular mark under the base (firing). 17th century? Thailand.







Chinese celadon blue & white rice wine jug


Chinese celadon blue & white rice wine jug. The inside is equally glazed. 19th century.

Chinese phials


Chinese phials. The left one was used as an ink well. As for the one on the right, I don't know. I don't read Chinese. Was it meant to contain some medecine? Any help would be valued.

Chinese storage jar


Lovely chinese storage jar. I don't read Chinese. Feel free to help.







Storage or cooking pot. Khmer.

Storage or cooking pot. No lid. Similar to the one depicted higher above. Same origin (Khmer)? Same period? Hand shaped, no potter's wheel (though the neck is quite regular). The pattern was probably made by printing thick vegetable fiber patches.

Storage or cooking pot. Khmer.


Fire marks at the bottom suggest that it is a cooking pot. Khmer? Hand shaped, no potter's wheel (Does it mean it's fairly ancient)? Fiber prints to the "strangled" neck (for decoration and probably its shaping).

Storage or cooking pot. Khmer.


See previous artefact.







Elephant headed warrior. Burma.

Elephant headed warrior (Ganesh), holding shield and club (bludgeon).

Elephant headed warrior. Burma.


Heavy and bulky. Fierce look. Wonderful cream and green matt glaze (if we can call it glaze). Info required (thanks).

Elephant headed warrior. Burma.


I think the tiny holes/cavities here and there are meant for placing incense sticks.
Probably from Burma (Myanmar)







Storage ginger pot. China.


Storage "ginger" pot (not necessarily for ginger). China. Easier to find hexagonal ginger pots. The globular ones, like this one, are a bit rarer. 19th century (don't think it's earlier).

Squat vase. Thailand


Another "squat" vase. Unglazed foot. Thailand.

Goat headed vase. Khmer.


Khmer goat headed vase. Unglazed foot. What was the meaning of those partially zoomorphic items? Those pieces of pottery are fascinating.







Elephant zoomorphic vase - Thailand


Now I'm not so sure this is a water vase/jug as I was told. Isn't the flat lip round the spout rather meant to serve as a tray for the ashes falling from the burning incense sticks placed in it?

Elephant zoomorphic vase - Thailand


Thailand. 16th/17th century?

Green glazed ginger pot. China.


Green glazed "ginger" pot (with turquoise blue shades). China.
There are not rare (yet), but I love them nonetheless. Signed.







Celadon figurine - Thailand


Celadon figurine. Probably father and son, as part of a family cult. I suppose it was commissioned for the needs of one particular family.

Celadon figurine - Thailand


Moving artefact, really. Thailand.

Elephant zoomorphic vase - Thailand


Like the previous elephant shaped vase described above, this item was probably meant to hold incense sticks. Wouldn't come handy for serving beverages.







Naga dragon - Thailand


Wonderful roof finial or gate guardian. Naga dragon. Heavy celadon item.

Naga dragon - Thailand


I own the pair. Wish I had a large mantelpiece or an appropriate doorway. Imagine them by moon or candlelight!

Naga dragon - Thailand


19th century, I was told.







Celadon ribbed vases - Thailand


Small ribbed vases. Celadon. 16th century? Thailand.

Ancient stone face - Egypt or Syria


Ancient stone face. It was acquired by my grandfather who lived for 15 years in Egypt (from the 30s to the 50s).

Ancient stone face - Egypt or Syria


Naturally it is believed to be Egyptian. However, a few clues in terms of stylistics lead me to think that we might consider a Lebanese or Syrian origin. But this is completely conjectural and I reckon I might also be talking complete rot.
I love its Mona Lisa smile.







Chinese figurine - porcelain


Chinese figurine. Porcelain. Belonged to my grandfather.

Chinese figurine - porcelain


Surely those are legendary characters. Any idea, anyone?

Ginger pot - China


Classic, though lovely, "ginger" vase. China. Signed.







Chinese ancestor - wood


Chinese ancestor. Wood with traces of gilt paint. Not extremely well preserved, but a moving item.

Chinese ancestor - wood


There is no point in removing the bit of paper which is stuck in the cavity. It would be kind of a sacrilege. Does it bear the names of the deceased? Or is it some sort of invocation?

Bronze islamic oil lamp


Bronze islamic oil lamp. Acquired by my grandfather. Early Middle Ages? Late Middle Ages? Someone told me 13th century, but I'm not sure.







Ancient cooking pot - Khmer


Cooking pot. Khmer. Hand shaped (no potter's wheel).

Hittite bronze


Small bronze bull. Hittite or earlier. Turquey / Northern Syria.

Hittite bronze


Lovely, isn't it? Also acquired by my grandfather.







Eket fetish - Nigeria


Eket wooden statue / fetish. Nigeria. Heavy dense wood. Traces of regular ointment ("crust").

Wooden panel - temple car - India


Wooden panel from a "temple car". Heavy dense wood. I was told 17th/18th c. Southern India.

Wooden panel - temple car - India


Lit from a different angle. It enhances its mystic.







African fetish - Mumuye - Mali


Figural drinking receptacle for palm wine (Gbene cup - funerary purpose). Has obviously been used: it is clear when having a close look that the receptacle contained liquids on numerous occasions. Koro people, Nigeria. Or is it Mumuye, Mali?

African fetish - Mumuye - Mali


Nice firm round buttocks, says my wife.

Roof tile - China - Guan Yu


Chinese "roof tile". I believe the character is Guan Yu, Taoist God of War. I've very fond of it. Particularly impressive when lit from under.







Hemaraj creature - Thailand


I managed to identify this mythical creature as the Hemaraj.

Hemaraj creature - Thailand


Here is what I found about it on Wikipedia: The hemaraj is a creature found in Thai and possibly South Asian mythology. It is said to be the combination of a hem (an ill-defined creature usually likened to a swan but sometimes depicted more like a crocodile) and a lion

Hemaraj creature - Thailand


Celadon. Nice shiny green glaze. Fairly heavy. Thailand







Saka knife - Congo Zaire


Prestige Saka knife/blade from central Zaire (ex Belgian congo). Wrought Iron blade. Wood and copper handle.

Throwing blade. Africa.


Bulky throwing weapon. Africa. I know nothing about it. Wrought iron blade(s). Wooden handle. Nasty item...!

Mongo sword. Congo.


Prestige weapon from the Mongo tribe, Congo/Zaire. Wrought iron blade and wooden handle.







Katanga cross - Congo Zaire


Copper Katanga crosses. Congo. Africa. They were used as a form of currency before and during the colonial era. I was born there (though I was too young to remember).

Persian bowl


Persian bowl. Siliceous ceramic.

Persian bowl


Lovely cobalt blue, cream and black shades. 1815.







Katanga cross - Congo Zaire


Pre 1750 indo-persian dagger knife (katar). This was a nasty bit of weaponry. You were holding it firmly and you would thrust mercilessly, combining the strenght of your fist, wrist and arm. You could pierce an armour with it. This item was not a prestige one: it was the real thing, made of thick wrought iron. And it is clear that it has been used.

Persian bowl


Islamic / Koranic prayer board. Used for schooling (in a madrasa). Made of palm wood. North Africa.

Shackels - money - africa


Shackles used for the slave trade. Africa. Later used as a form of currency. I was told that the big one, down on the right, was probably manufactured in France (Nantes), in the 18th c.







Chinese wooden panel


Chinese wooden panel. From a bed or a piece of furniture. Exquisite work.

Chinese wooden panel


I was told that, with the maoist revolution, people didn't want to keep lavishly decorated furniture. So they dismantled what they could and sold the parts.

Chinese wooden panel


And someone else told me that it was also the kind of furniture decoration you would see in luxury opium dens.







Inlaid wooden chest


Ivory-inlaid wooden chest. Ivory or… bone. I couldn’t tell.

Inlaid wooden chest


Exquisite work, really. I don’t think they can make such pieces of artwork nowadays. Lost trade, probably.

Inlaid wooden chest


It belonged to my grandfather. Not sure whether he bought it in Egypt or Syria, as he resided in both countries.
While net-surfing, I found a pretty similar item described as a 17thc. Mughal chest, which means that it would neither be Egyptian nor Syrian... but Indian (North-West India)!
I don’t know, really.







three elephant headed lamp


Three elephant headed lamp. Heavy bulky - though lovely - item. Celadon.

three elephant headed lamp


Circa 17 / 18th century. Temple ware.

three elephant headed lamp


You would place a wick into the cup and fill it up with oil.







tunbridge inlaid box


Lovely inlaid walnut box. Some say Tunbridge ware. I'm not so sure about that. Definitions are a bit blurred. 19th c.

Rosewood inlaid box


Inlaid rosewood box. 19th c.

coromandel box


Box made of thick coromandel wood, which is unusual knowing that such exotic and precious wood, highly prized by the Victorians, was mainly used in the veneer industry. Manufactured by and for the native market. What is the meaning of the top bone/ivory inlay (if it has one)? India.







Chinese Thai ancestor figure


Ancestor figure. Chinese man , in traditional Chinese dress, holding a wealth boat symbol in one hand and a rooster/ hen in the other (fertility).

Chinese Thai ancestor figure


Late 17th to 19th c. In fact, it might be Thai, not necessarily Chinese. Celadon.

Chinese couple


Smiling Chinese man, in traditional Chinese dress, holding a Chinese wealth boat symbol in one hand and the woman’s breast in the other (a symbol for fertility). The woman who may be Thai or Chinese (?) holds a cooking pot and a fan, symbols of domestic peace and happiness.
Late 17thc to 19thc.







Chinese couple


Thailand had a large Chinese trading community and this is probably connected to a Thai-settled Chinese family.

Chinese couple


My wife and I bought it as a symbol for our own marriage...

Chinese couple


Pervy smile of the hubby, gleeful look of the wife...







Ribbed bowl. Thailand or China.


Lovely flower / lotus petal shaped bowl. It might have been produced either for the Chinese market, or to imitate the Chinese celadon pieces of the period.