auction combines the Arts of Africa and Oceanic Art, with American
Indian Art and Pre-Columbia Art, both of which have traditionally
had their own separate auctions and catalogues.
The African section, which starts the auction, is highlight by
two very good Yoruba, pieces, a striking Senufo pounder, a very
strong Mossi female figure, a large Cameroon commemorative group,
a fine Songe power figure, a powerful Inland Niger Delta terracotta
torso, a good Dogon hermaphrodite figure, a stunning Fang male
reliquary guardian figure, a superb Tshokwe male figure, a Tabwa
female figure, and a nice Yombe seated male figure.
Lot 36 is a "superb" Yoruba Oshe Shango sceptre on which
a female figure kneels wearing a skirt decorated with cowrie shells
and cloth affixed by a ban with amulets inset and encircling her
tapering torso. The figure has a striated bipartite coiffure beneath
the Shango celt emanating from the head with a single strand of
glass beads encircling the neck. The catalogue notes that a sample
of the wood of this elegant Shango has been tested
found to circa 1675. "Oshe shango dance wands," the
catalogue noted, "were carried by priests and devotees of
orisha shango, the dietyu of Yoruba thought who pronounced judgement
upon mankind in claps of thunder and bolts of lightening. Shango
was the legendary fourth king of Oyo, who reigned for seven turbulent
years. Most shango shafts depict female devotees in
stances but most often kneeling.This figure in unusual in that
she wears a cloth with inset amulets (?) encircling her torso."
The lot has a conservative estimate of $25,000 to $35,000.
It failed to sell.
Lot 35 is
a "fine" Yoruba ivory oliphant with a stylized crocodile
craved in high relief in the middle of the oliphant, which is
topped by a lioness standing on a flared base. An ivory disk attached
to the stand is inscribed "carved tusk said to have been
taken from King Kosoko's town/Brought to England from Lagos by
the Expedition of 1851 (?)." The lot has an estimate of $18,000
to $22,000. It sold for $30,000 including the buyer's premium
as do all results mentioned in this article.
Lot 17 is
a "superb" Senufo female rhythm pounder that was collected
in the Congo circa 1940 by Simon Escarré. The catalogue
entry for this lot states that this "exceptional" figure
was "carved by Ngolo Pili (circa 186501965), a master carver
from the village of Dyimiténé in the southern region
of Korhogo" and that only three rhythm pounders by the carver
are known. "Each of the three are similar in scale, with
a title to the head and s lightly smiling expression. Each wears
similar armbands and loin cloths, and is incised with linear
imbued with red ochre and kaolin at the hops, navel and face."
The lot has an estimate of $90,000 to $120,000. It sold for
Lot 8 is
a "magnificent" Mossi female figure of slender proportions
with pendulous breasts, paddle-like hands and a mask-like face
with stepped scarification on the sides framed by demi-lune ears.
The 28-inch-high figure has an estimate of $25,000 to $40,000.
It sold for $60,000.
colorful piece in the auction is Lot 53, a "rare and important"
Cameroon, Baham Chiefdom, royal commemorative group composed of
three seated figures, the tallest of which is 83 inches high.
The catalogue notes that "during the reign of the 11th fon
of Baham, Kamwa Mars, the sculptor Kwam,worked in the Bati
style. Kwam became the official sculptor of this reign and his
style was particularly inventive, working with new themes and
images including relief on double gongs, and animated carving
of animals, skulls and people. Kwam's life masterpiece is the
offered magnificent commemorative carving of the fon Kamwa,
his mafo or queen mother, and a queen. It is
in African art that we know the name of the carver of such an
important work. The sculpture was decorated with elaborate beadwork
by the famous beadworker of the period, Kandep. The three figures
in the group are seated on a shared circular seat - Kamwa himself,
originally wearing a beaded beret (now missing) wears a beaded
necklace with numerous to to which are attributed supernatural
powers, and eight bracelets on this left arm. He holds in his
hand a gourd or cup, a symbol of power and abundance. The queens
are beaded in an ornate geometric motif- one holds a calabash
and the other carries a cup marked with the name o the carver.
Kwam and Kadep had already begun to work together during the reign
of Pokam, the 10th fon, at the turn of the 20th
The hand of Kwam is very distinctive, as the figures are carved
with slightly rounded stomachs and hollowed on the reverse, the
faces with puffed cheeks and exaggerated hollowed pierced ears."
The lot has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It failed
striking item in the sale is Lot 80, a "magnificent"
Inland Niger Delta terracotta torso. The 12 3/4-inch-high work
has a man grasping his chin with his hand while his tongue protrudes
from his mouth and his head is covered with raised undulating
serpents. The lot, which shows signs of erosion, has an estimate
of $30,000 to $40,000. It sold for $36,000.
Lot 81 is
an "important" Dogon hermaphrodite figure that is 23
3/4 inches high and according to the catalogue "belongs to
a group that has been widely published and exhibited, and have
been attributed to a Dogon artist known to Western scholars of
the 'Master of the Ogol.'" "Ogol," the entry continued,
"is the name of the atelier named after the village of Ogol
in the Sanga region of the southern cliff area in Mali where two
of the carvings from this group were collected in 1935 for the
Musée de l'Homme in Paris. The group by the same hand or
atelier consists of approximately thirteen statues which were
found at different locations along the southern cliff, but have
such a uniform iconography that they seem to have originated in
the same atelier, and possibly were carved by the same hand."
The lot has an estimate of $75,000 to $100,000. It sold for
Lot 85 is
a "rare and important" Fang male reliquary guardian
figure that has an exceptionally fine resinous black patina. The
18 1/2-inch-high statue has a sweeping bipartite coiffure pierced
for the attachment of ornaments. "This remarkably sensitive
and elegant reliquary figure stylistically can be placed as originating
in the north of Gabon amongst the Fang-Ntumu in the region of
Oyem Bitam," the catalogue observed. The lot has an estimate
of $180,000 to $250,000. It sold for $209,600.
Lot 59 is
a fine Songe power figure that is 29 1/4 inches high and is notable
for the arching horn inset at the crown and nine strands of blue
glass beads encircling the neck. The lot has an estimate of $30,000
to $50,000. It sold for $90,000.
Lot 13 is
a "rare" Bobo male figure of angular form with very
broad flat shoulders with an incised geometric motif for scarification.
The 19 1/2-inch high figure has a strong sculptural prescence
and a modest estimate of $5,000 to $7,000. It sold for $6,600.
Lot 29 is
a very strong Eket male figure that is 21 5/8 inches high and
notable for its "protruding shelflike shoulders. The spherical
head has a concave face and there are holes in the crown for insertion
of decoration. The shoulders resemble somewhat the horns of a
water buffalo. The lot has an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000.
It sold for $11,400.
Lot 89 is
a "superb" Yombe seated male figure with his head resting
on his hand. The 12 5/8-inch high statue is, according to the
catalogue, "a highly refined and elegant figure of a chief,
or high-ranking Yombe figure [and] is one of the most magnificent
examples of carving from a distinctive atelier." It has an
estimate of $60,000 to $90,000. It sold for $72,000.
One of the
more stunning works is Lot 90, a "rare and important"
Tshokwe male figure. The 16 1/8-inch-high sculpture has fine deep
brown patina with subtle adze marks overall. The head is removable
has a gently rounded forehead leading to an elaborate coiffure
with striated motifs and three pendant tresses each surmounted
by hollowed amuletic horns. The lot has an estimate of $125,000
to $175,000. It sold for $108,000.
the American Indian section of this auction, Lots 150-188, is
quite small, the Pre-Columbian Art section has a broad and good
selection of works.
is an imposing pair of Calima gold dear ornaments, Late Ilama
or Malagana style, Cauca River Valley, circa 200 B.C.-A.D. 200.
The earrings measure 4 1/4 by 5 5/8 inches each. The lot has an
estimate of $125,000 to $175,000. It sold for $148,000.
the most impressive
works in this section of the auction is Lot 248, a Teotihuacan
lidded incensario, Classic, circa A.D. 450-650. The imposing 27
1/2-inch high incensario has great dimensionality and lovely color.
It has a modest estimate of $12,000 to $15,000. It sold for
is an imposing figure of Xipe Totec, the god of renewal and spring,
who was celebrated by wearing the skin of sacrificed captives.
The two-part figure is Veracruz, Late Classic-Early Postclassic,
circa A.D. 800-1200. The 32-inch-high figure was consigned by
the Daniel M. Friedenberg Collection and has a modest estimate
of $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for $9,600.
is a very fine Veracruz stone yoke, Late Classic, circa A.D. 550-950.
The 16 1/2-inch long yoke has a modest estimate of $10,000 to
$15,000. It sold for $21,600.
Lot 364 is a "fine and rare"
prow ornament from the Solomon Islands, New Georgia. The 8-inch
high object has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It was collected
in 1906. It was withdrawn.
One of the
most colorful items in the auction is Lot 357, a 44 1/2-inch-high
dance wand from Tolai, East New Britain Province. The lot has
a modest estimate of $3,000 to $4,000. It sold for $7,800.
Lot 388 is a surprisingly
of a woman from the Solomon Islands, probably Vella La Vella Island.
The 13 3/4-inch-high figure is exceptionally lovelly and graceful
and has a modest estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for