Patina: 15 Selected Items

What is patina? It is how we describe the surface of an item which allows its age and history to be evident. Patina refers to the wear and depth the surface of an item develops as it ages and is handled. For many objects it is important not to merely know that it is old, but to see it.

Patina is the difference between a second-hand item and an antique. Most people don’t regard the former as being particularly valuable; but the latter is held to have more esteem and more importance. Why? Perhaps it is because of our own sense of mortality and our wish to connect with objects that have greater longevity than we do. Items with good patina also tend to be more beautiful. The ‘depth’ of the surface of something that is real and old can be deep and lustrous, whereas the surface of an item that is not old or fake tends to be lifeless and dead. And of course genuinely old items allow us to connect with the past – to connect with those who have come before, sometimes with those many centuries ago. Mostly importantly, good patina means that an item has a real story – and that is what collecting is all about: rarely are collectors  materialistic; instead they are collectors of stories, and the objects they collect merely are the material evidence for their stories. In this way, collectors are guardians and preservers of our histories, and patina is the physical evidence of the past. This is why patina is important.

So scroll down to see 15 items currently in stock, drawn from cultures around the world, which we feel have especially incontrovertible patinas.

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6773

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    Exceptional, Early Tanimbar Ancestor Figure

    Tanimbar, Southeast Moluccas, Eastern Indonesia
    18th century

    height: 16.4cm, width: 5.4cm, depth: 4.5cm

    Provenance

    Private Collection, Northern England; acquired by the previous owners from an antiques fair, York, England, circa 1980

    5364

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      Early Javanese Unusually Large Cast Bronze Buddha

      Java or Sumatra, Indonesia, but most probably imported from northern India
      Classical Period, 8th century

      height (without stand): 21.9cm, width: 17.1cm, depth: 11.8cm, weight: 2,576g

      Provenance

      Private Collection, London, UK.

      6611

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        Portuguese-Thai Lacquered Box with Braganza Cross Mother-of-Pearl & Glass Inlay

        Thailand, probably Ayutthaya, & Portugal
        17th-18th century

        length: 26.6cm, depth: 14.8cm, height: 13.2cm, weight: 936g

        Provenance

        Portuguese art market

        5443

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          Early, Carved Wooden Massim Sword Club or Lime Spatula

          Massim area, Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea
          18th-19th century

          length: 62.5cm, width at widest point: 8cm

          Provenance

          UK art market

          1111

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            Batak Raja’s Brass Tobacco Pipe (Tulpang)

            Toba Batak, North Sumatra, Indonesia
            19th century

            length: 76cm

            Provenance

            Christie's, The Trevor Barton Collection.

            6708

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              Seven Silver Birth Motif Pendants (Salhayat)

              Libya, Egypt, Algeria & Djerba Island, Tunisia
              circa 1900

              length of the largest pendant: 10.3cm, combined weight: 111g

              Provenance

              UK art market

              6187

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                Fine, Berber Carved Wooden Spindle Whorl

                Berber People, Anti-Atlas, Morocco
                19th century

                diameter: 5.8cm, height: 2.7cm

                Provenance

                private collection, UK

                3908

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                  Ifugao Carved Wooden Ritual Bowl with Handle (Duyu)

                  Ifugao People, Northern Luzon, Philippines
                  18th-19th century

                  length: 20.4cm, width: 13.5cm, height: 6.3cm

                  Provenance

                  private European collection.

                  3575

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                    Superb Balinese Palace Door & Frame

                    Bali, Indonesia
                    18th-early 19th century

                    height: 178cm, width: 110cm

                    Provenance

                    private collection, Ireland.

                    4872

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                      Collection of 145 Ethiopian Silver Crosses (Yangat Masqal)

                      Ethiopia
                      19th-early 20th century

                      approximate total combined weight: 2.2kg

                      Provenance

                      private collection, UK.

                      3497

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                        Superb Pair of Ibeji Figures (Ere Ibeji)

                        Yoruba People, Oyo Tribe, Shaki Region, Nigeria
                        late 19th century

                        heights: 24.4cm

                        Provenance

                        UK art market

                        4313

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                          Eshu Dance Wrist Pendant

                          Yoruba People, Southern Egbado, Nigeria
                          19th century

                          height: 10.2cm

                          Provenance

                          private collection, London.

                          7207

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                            Fine, Dayak Brass Helmet Ornament

                            Dayak People, Borneo, Malaysia/Indonesia
                            19th century

                            width: 10.6cm, height: approximately 17.5cm, weight: 93g

                            Provenance

                            UK art market

                            4539

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                              Large Bronze Vishnu

                              South India
                              Vijaynagara Period, circa 16th century

                              height (without stand): 39.5cm

                              Provenance

                              UK art market