CANVASES, CARATS AND CURIOSITIES

WDSU

4 minute read

10 creepiest antiques for sale in New Orleans

Known for their bold antiques, these items from M.S. Rau Antiques may just spook you before Halloween1.

M.S. Rau Antiques, isn't just well-known in New Orleans. It's an international destination for the most striking art pieces.

"If you can imagine the houses that these items belonged to and the history and, at times drama, that goes behind these unique items. Everything from the complexity of acquiring them – it adds a lot of intrigue. The items at our gallery have powerful symbolism – lions, dragons and cherubs – a good mix. It’s something our owner looks for when collecting our pieces. They have to be exceptional and have prominence, but also look striking. We want you to walk through our gallery and see something, and when you look closer to the detail, you see the symbolism," says M.S. Rau Antiques Sales Specialist George Peralta.

The impressive detail and symbolism Peralta describes, can be downright shocking upon seeing it in person. After checking out these 10 items, we think you'll understand why. Some might even frighten you.

  1. 1. Iron Scold's Bridle

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"This Scold's bridle, or shame mask, represents the ultimate in social punishment. The revival piece recreates a common form of public shaming from the Middle Ages. Used to punish women who scold or nag, its long tongue reveals the offense of its wearer.

2. Bronze Death Mask of Napoleon I

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"This intriguing bronze sculpture is a cast of the death mask of Napoleon I. One of the world's great historical relics, this mask was cast from one of the original molds. This mask was commissioned by Dr. Francesco Antommarchi, Napoleon’s personal physician and companion. Today, several of these casts, both bronze and plaster, reside in museums throughout the world."

Price: $34,500

3. Siberian Ice Age Cave Bear Skeleton

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"An incredible Ice Age Siberian cave bear cub skeleton of exceptional condition. The skeleton was discovered in the 1960s and is magnificently preserved. The juvenile lived during the Pleistocene Age, around 30,000 B.C.E. Bone formations on altars in caves indicate Neanderthals worshiped the cave bear."

Price: $44,500

4. Iron Skull Crusher

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"This wrought iron mask represents a grisly form of punishment from the Middle Ages. The revival piece is crafted in the style of a 16th-century skull crusher. Two screws positioned at the temple caused unbearable pressure on the skull when tightened. Revival pieces such as this reveal the fascination with such devices."

Price: Available upon request

5. Maison Dans la Campagne by Bernard Buffet

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"This bold oil on canvas is the work of the celebrated French painter Bernard Buffet. Hauntingly expressive, the piece displays Buffet’s renowned avant-garde style. Buffet was part of the group L'homme Témoin, who favored emotion over realism. His work has been highly exhibited and can be found in important collections worldwide."

Price: $398,000

6. The Last Days of Napoleon by Vincenzo Vela

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"This exceptional sculpture by Swiss artist Vincenzo Vela is entitled Last Days of Napoléon. Crafted of bronze, the piece depicts Napoléon on his deathbed, contemplating what might have been. Vela captures Napoléon's still-defiant bearing, even in the throes of illness and defeat. The piece is a dramatic example of Vela’s celebrated realist aesthetic."

Price: Available upon request

7. Bronze Isis by Emile-Louis Picault

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"This extraordinary group of bronze figures is by famed French sculptor Émile-Louis Picault. The Egyptian goddess Isis sits regally at the center, flanked by two attendants Picault's Egyptian-influenced works such as this are among his most desirable. He is considered among the most celebrated Orientalist sculptors of the 19th century."

Price: $24,500

8. Woman and Snake Folk Art Cane

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"The artistry in this striking folk art cane contains a provocative double meaning. Its beautifully-carved figures of a woman being chased by a slithering snake recall the Biblical tale of the Garden of Eden as well as less innocent activities. Folk art canes are remarkable works of art, known for their rough beauty and one-of-a-kind appeal."

Price: $2,850

9. Diamond and Spinel Skeletal Ring

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"Skeletal hands hold aloft a jewel-encrusted skull in this entrancing ring. Embedded with 2.92 total carats of spinels, the cheeky skull sticks out its tongue at the wearer. 2.19 total carats of black diamonds and 0.90 total carats of white diamonds are set in the ring. Crafted of palladium and 18k gold."

Price: $19,500

10. Italian Baroque Iron Strong Box

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"This incredible Italian Baroque strong box was once the most secure place for valuables. The complicated three-key locking mechanism was designed to be virtually impenetrable Wrought iron plates, rivets and stripes secure the massive structure. Pieces such as this would have been used by nobility and merchants to secure items during travel."

Price: Available upon request

 

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