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Artfix Daily

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ARTFIX DAILY, October 25, 2011--

Hunting for ideas for Halloween, whether it's for decorating your home for trick or treaters, or designing your costume? MS Rau Antiques in New Orleans's French Quarter, the country's largest antiques and fine arts dealer, has some haunting ideas to fuel the imagination.

The word scary doesn't even come close to describing this eye catching pair of earth spirit tomb sculptures created to chase away evil spirits. Rendered in sancai pottery and dating from the Tang Dynasty (618 B.C.) when Chinese ceramics were at their height of production, this pair of menacing tomb sculptures measures between 45 and 47 inches tall. One look at their twisted faces, featuring horns and glaring eyes, and you can see why spirits planning to raid a tomb got frightened off.

Cave BearThe perfect door-greeter for trick or treaters is this Ice Age Cave Bear Skeleton, a life-size, pre-historic and furless friend who stands over 8 feet tall and dates from 150,000 BC. Magnificently preserved, this relic is mounted in attack position, not a bear hug.

For Napoleon buffs, this Carrara marble carved bust of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was sculpted in 1821 and believed to be modeled after the death mask owned by his personal physician, Dr. Antommachi, who attended the Emperor during the last two years of his life on St. Helena. A fitting tribute to a monumental, but mortal, historical figure, the casting history is equally interesting, as the death mask mold passed through several hands until it landed at Richard et Quesnel in France. Ultimately, the finished bust was carried to New Orleans by Dr. Antommachi who emigrated to the city in 1834.

John Atkinson Grimshaw's Path to the Cottage (1882) probably wasn't intended to be so haunting, but the artist's use of color and light lends a glow-in-the-dark quality. Grimshaw was one of Britain's most talented Victorian painters whose nocturnal renderings capture subtle changes in light and are almost luminescent. His works have an almost photographic quality to them.

Fans of religious keepsakes, as well as readers of Dan Brown's bestselling book, "Angels and Demons," might want to acquire this special cane with a mother-of-pearl rosary hidden in a velvet lined cavity inside the shaft of the cane. Once owned by a cardinal and member of Opus Dei, the cane has sharp spikes on its head, plus a whip and three chains are also part of the package. Crafted in the 18th century, this unique cane is just one of many that MS Rau Antiques offers being one of the country's largest collectors and dealers for canes.

MS Rau Antiques' inventory of museum-quality antiques, fine arts and estate jewelry spans centuries and represents the finest examples of the best in each of these categories. Celebrating its centennial in 2012, MS Rau Antiques has been located in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans since it opened.


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