BOULDER, CO – While entire libraries are devoted to cultures of the past, no book, no matter how scholarly, can explain the story of an ancient society quite as well as the objects and art its people left behind. “The tools, weapons, clothing, jewellery, implements and everyday wares of any given culture are, in the truest sense, living history for the generations to follow,” said Teresa Dodge, executive director of the specialist auction house Artemis Gallery.

The company’s Thursday, August 31 auction, which invites absentee, phone and the Internet live to bid, is a virtual timeline of the most significant civilisations of the past 4,000 years. As with all of its sales, Artemis Gallery has chronologically organised the upcoming auction, starting with the early pieces from Ancient Egypt.

A widely varied selection of Greek/Etruscan artefacts bears testament to the culture’s emphasis on blending beauty with function. Ladies of Fashion adorn both Lot 51, large Greek Apulian alkanes (covered vessel on a pedestal), $2,400-$3,600; and Lot 50, an elegant kangaroo (wine cup) with a pleasing symmetry and sweeping high handles, $1,400-$2,000. Lot 30, a Greek Corinthian lidded pyxis (container for cosmetics, ointment or trinkets) displays images of Panthers, goats and harpies, $1,500-$2,000.

A stunning Chinese Tang Dynasty (circa 618-907 CE) since-glazed tripod vessel or jar would be impressive even the most discerning collector with its lion and foo dog maskettes staggered with three dragons, in high and low relief. The three-colour since glaze renders shades of caramel amber, jade green and creamy white, the perfect backdrop for the addition of deep cerulean blue glaze to the dragon adornments. A similar example, but with a floral motif and minus the cerulean blue accents, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong on Oct. 4, 2016, for US$35,600. Artemis Gallery is auctioning its TL-tested jar, Lot 150D, with a conservative $6,000-$9,000 estimate.

Pre-Columbian art is next, with several exceptional pieces of jewellery and pottery among the highlights. There are three lots of nose rings, including Lot 193A, which consists of two high-carat Moche (Peru, circa 100-700 CE), hand-hammered and decorated crescent-shape designs. Estimate: $800-$1,200. Several jade pieces will be available, as well. Lot 215 is a huge, circa 650-900 CE Mayan pendant extensively carved from a single piece of sea foam green jade. With complex iconography on its angled faces, the pendant’s “plumage” suggests the appearance of Kukulkan (known as Quetzalcoatl to the Aztecs). Estimate: $4,000-$6,000.

There are many ways in which to bid in the Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, auction, including absentee, by phone (please reserve line in advance), or live via the Internet. The sale begins at 10 a.m. Eastern Time and will be conducted simultaneously on three bidding platforms: ArtemisGallery.com, LiveAuctioneers.com, and Invaluable.com.