bad news is
that the African Oceanic Art auction offering at Sotheby's this
season has fewer lots, but the good news is that Pre-Columbia
Art is once again being offered at auction there after missing
a couple of seasons.
Eighty-four lots of African & Oceanic Art are being offered
in the morning May 14, 2004 and there are 106 lots in the Pre-Columbian
Art in the afternoon session of the same sale. Both parts are
included in the same catalogue.
Lot 114 is a great Late Chimu/Inca silver face beaker that is
13 ½ inches high. According to the catalogue, "this
magnificent effigy beaker represents one of the few large silver
objects that survived the voracious Spanish melting of precious
metals in the 15th Century. The object is dated circa A.D. 1300-1500.
It has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $84,000
including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this
imposing is Lot 175, a Zapotic figural urn, Monte Alban IIIA.
The 18-inch-high object is dated circa A.D. 200-400 and has an
estimate of $20,000 to $40,000. It sold for $125,600.
object depicts the Goddess Quetzal with her hands on folded legs
wearing and elaborate headdress. The catalogue notes that Monte
Alban was capital of the Zapotec kingdom and was one of the largest
cities of the southern Mexican highlands from about A.D. 200 to
and bigger but a bit calmer than Lot 175 is Lot 177, a Teotihuacan
incensario lid, Pacific Slope Region, Escuintla style, Classic,
circa A.D. 450-650. A warrior looks out from an architectural
frame beneath what the catalogue describes as the "toothy
gum of a bat, with upcurled snout and large ringed eyes."
The 23-inch-high object has remains of pigment overall and has
an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. It sold for $16,800.
impressive lots encompass the great majesty and complexity of
Pre-Columbian design. Lot 176, a Veracruz effigy vessel in the
form of a turkey, late Classic, circa A.D. 550-950 is equally
monumental but much more recognizable/decipherable. The 23-inch-high
object is an "occellated turkeyfound in the Yucatan penisula
and tropical lowland forest edges." "This avian, with
its distinctive feathers with eye-like markings, played an important
role in the prevailing Mayan iconography of the Early through
Late Classic period. The turkey with full outspread feathers is
shown on a codex vessel with a peccary, in which both animals
possibly represent constellations.On Early Classic polychrome
basal-flanged lidded vessels, the turkey is shown with its head
serving as a handle, and the magnificent wings are painted in
a serpent-wing fashion, connecting the avian to the power of serpents
and their association to the watery Underworld," the catalogue
No lion could not fail to be intimidated by this turkey's incredible
chest! The lot has a modest estimate of $18,000 to $24,000. It
sold for $36,000.
is a delightful group of six Colima figures, circa 300-100 B.C.
The tallest figurine is 7 7/8 inches high. Among the celebrants
is a snake-dancer. The lot has a very modest estimate of $5,000
to $7,000. It sold for $4,200.
A less jolly giant is Lot 157, a large Nayarit standing warrior,
Ixtlán del Rio style, 34 inches high, Protoclassic, circa
100 B.C.-A.D. 250. According to the catalogue, "this warrior
is from a small group of monumental figures of the Ixtlán
del Rio style. They typically display their status in stationary
postures, holding iconic objects and wearing clothing of their
rank." The catalogue entry added that this figure was "once
part of a funerary couple, holding a fan in the left hand."
It has an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000. It failed to sell.
A work from
the same period as Lot 157 is Lot 165, a jalisco effigy vessel
with the head of a creature resembling an anteater. The 12 ½-inch-high
object has an estimate of $6,000 to $9,000. It sold for
yokes are fabulous sculptures that Noguchi would be proud of and
Lot 181 is a strongly modeled one from the Classic period, A.D.
450-650. It is 16 ¼ inches long and has an estimate of
$15,000 to $20,000. It sold for $34,800. It depicts
Mexican toad buso marinus that has glands
hallucinogenic toxins that played an important part in ritual
ceremonies, the catalogue entry noted.
The auction has two fine Mayan polychrome plates, Late Classic,
circa A.D. 550-950.
is 14 5/8 inches in diameter. It depicts a "corpulent lord
standing before a large bench throne and wearing a headdress of
a snouted monster. It has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It
sold for $18,000.
is 15 ½ inches in diameter and shows a warrior wearing
a "shaggy" costume and holding a trophy head. The object
was included in the exhibition "Masterpieces of Pre-Columbian
Art from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Peter G. Wray" in
1984 at the Andre Emmerich and Perls Galleries in New York. It
has an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. It sold for $36,000.
Rican curved stone tables with three legs are wonderful and Lot
133 is a good example. The zoomorphic metate from the Guanacaste-Nicoya
region is dated Late Period IV-V, circa A.D. 300-700. It is 26
1/2 inches long and has a modest estimate of $6,000 to $7,000. It
sold for $13,200.
is a superb Nayarit female and child, San Sebastian style,
circa 100 B.C.-A.D. 250. The 20-inch high statue has a modest
estimate of $4,500 to $6,500. It failed to sell.