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African and Oceanic Art
Sotheby's
10:15AM, May 12, 2005 (Lots 1-118)
Sale 8095

 

"Zoomorphic janiform power figure, Kongo/Vili

Lot 102, Zoomorphic janiform power figure, Kongo/Vili, 36 1/4 inches long

By Carter B. Horsley

Once again Sotheby's has put its Pre-Columbian Art auction into the same catalogue as its African and Oceanic Art auction. See the separate article on the Pre-Columbian Art auction that occurs at 2PM May 12, 2005.

This morning auction May 12, 2005 at Sotheby's of African and Oceanic Art is highlighted by a spectacular Kongo/Vili zoomorphic janiform power figure, and a fabulously abstract Dogon Tellum figure.

African Art

The power figure, Lot 102, is 36 1/4 inches long and has a modest estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It sold for $114,000 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

The figure is extensively imbedded with nails and blades and has a hollowed square at the center of its back for the insertion of magi materials, no longer extant. The piece was collected by Victor Ruffy, a Swiss forestry engineer working in the Congo circa 1923. Each nail, the catalogue entry for this lot noted, served as a contract to end disputes or as a cure for illness.

Tellum figure, Dogon

Lot 23, Tellum figure, Dogon, 17 1/4 inches high

Lot 23 is a "fine" Dogon Tellum figure with exceptionally fine millet-encrusted patina. It is 17 1/4 inches high. The piece was once with J. J. Klejman in new York. It has a modest estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. It sold for $84,000.

Dogon, N'Duleri male figure

Lot 31, male figure, Dogon, N'Duleri, 19 1/2 inches high

Lot 31 is a "superb" Dogon, N'Duleri male figure that is 19 1/2 inches high. it has a dramatic, helmet-shaped head, the face has sharp features and wears a korte necklace, It has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. It sold for $60,000.

Ijo headdress

Lot 75, headdress, Ijo, 17 inches high

Lot 75 is a very fine Ifo headdress with telescoped eyes and a box-like headdress decorated in a checkerboard pattern. The piece was collected by Commander JohnValentine, Royal Navy, who performed field work in Ghana, circa 1940s. The catalogue notes that the checkerboard motif "symbolizes Ikaki, the tortoise, who is revered as an oru, or village hero, and a trype of trickster figure in which people see their own human foibles." "Shaped like a canoe," the entry continued, "the mask has multi-valent meaning to the Ijo people who inhabit the Niger delta region and rely on th erivers for their well-being." The lot has an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000. It sold for $19,200.

Cameroon, Bamileke stool

Lot 77, stool, Cameroon, Bamileke, 22 1/2 inches high

Lot 77 is a fine Cameroon, Bamileke stool supported by a highly stylized leopard decorated with incised circles. The catalogue observed that "Across the Grasslands area, caryatid stools appear as royal supports," adding that "The animal figure support was symbolic of royalty, chosen from a pantheon of animals imbued with power. The lot has an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. It failed to sell.

Pende stool

Lot 81, stool, Pende, 10 1/2 inches high

Lot 81 is a rare Pende stool that is 10 1/2 inches high and has three nicely carved support figures with fine patina.It has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for $9,600.

Senufo male torso

Lot 58, male torso, Senufo, 35 inches high

Lot 58 is a fine and rare Senufo male torso that is 35 inches tall. The figure wears a tall single-crested coiffure with a pendant knob in the back and the piece has deep brown patina with some areas of kaolin. It was acquired by Vera G. List circa 1950s. It has an estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It failed to sell.

Bamana antelope headdress

Lot 41, antelope headdress, Bamana, 38 1/4 inches high

Lot 41 is a very nice Bamana antelope headdress that is 38 1/4 inches high. It has an estimate of $6,000 to $9,000. It sold for $10,800.

Oceanic Art

Maori lidded bowl

Lot 6, lidded bowl by Anaha Te Rahui, Ngati Tarawhai, Maori, 23 1/2 inches long

Lot 6 is a very impressive Maori lidded bowl by Anaha Te Rahui (1822-1912), Ngati Tarawhai. The bowl was once in the collection of Jay C. Leff of Uniontown, Pennsylvanoia. The bowl is 23 1/2 inches long. The lot has a very conservative estimate of $5,000 to $7,000. It sold for 45,000.

New Caledonian mask

Lot 22, mask, New Caledonian, 17 inches high

Lot 22 is a "rare and important New Caledonian mask that is 17 inches high that was acquired from J. J. Klejman in New York. The catalogue entry for this lot notes that Professor Jean Guiart, the director of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris, has examined this mask and compares it "most closely with another i theLinden Museum, Stuggart," adding that "Both masks date to the 18th Century." The entry also noted that "The classical coiffure of New Caledonian masks was made from the hair of the mourners" and that "the last recorded use of the maassks was inthe 19th Century." The lot has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It failed to sell.

Maori greenstone pendant

Lot 4, pendant, greenstone, Maori, 3 3/4 inches high

The auction has several fine Maori greenstone pendants, which are among the most desirable objects of Oceanic Art for their fine craftsmanship, high stylization and fine materials. Lot 3, for example, is a fine hei tiki, as the objects are known, that is 3 3/4 inches high. Of reptilian/avian form, it has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $3,300 while other examples in this auction sold for as much as $20,400.

Vanuatu fernwood figure

Lot 20, figure, fernwood, Vanuatu, 72 inches high

Fernwood has a marvelous granulated surface texture and Lot 20 is a fine and large Vanuatu fernwood figure that is 72 inches high. It has an estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It sold for $24,000.

Lot 15 is a fine and rare Hawaissan feather necklace, 16 1/8 inches long that was acquired by Captain George Murray (1741-1797). The red and yellow feather necklace has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for $72,000.

See The City Review article on the Fall 2004 African & Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2004 African & Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2003 Tribal Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Tribal Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2002 Tribal Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 Tribal Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2001 African & Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2000 African and Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 1999 African and Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1999 African and Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 1998 Sotheby's African and Oceanic Art auction

See The City Review article on the Spring 1998 Sotheby's African and Oceanic Art auction

See The City Review article on the Spring, 2000 Pre-Columbian Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1999 auction of Pre-Columbian Art at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the November 1998 Pre-Columbian auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1997 American Indian Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1998 American Indian art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1999 American Indian Art auction at Sotheby's

 

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