SALE END DATE AND TIME
July 31, 2016 : SALE CLOSED
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Thought to represent the "mother spirit" of the tribe, less than a handful of these masks have ever been documented in the West. It is complex, layered, detailed, and exceptionally rare. At one time, the helmet portion of the mask was covered with red abrus precatorious seeds, which also allude to the importance of this mask’s function and its supernatural power. Red abrus seeds are difficult to cultivate in West Africa, and are reserved for only the most important masks. Furthermore, in Burkina Faso, the seeds are believed to carry additional powers, as their properties are somewhat mystical and mysterious - they are poisonous raw, yet considered medicinal when cooked. "The Koro make these headdresses for themselves and for the Ham (Jaba), and probably also for the Kagoro, Kaje and Kamantam, as their religion and art are rather similar. The mask is the principal one in the dances held on the occasion of the spring sowing and the autumn harvest. An eyewitness account of the autumn celebration of 1949 at the Ham village of Nok (after which the ancient terracotta culture is named) follows.
"The ceremonies began with some fearsome, faceless bush spirits to frighten and warm up the populace, then the warriors danced with long obsolete shields and the hunters mimed a hunt (including a man wearing the burtu hornbill headdress and crouching on all fours); finally, a troupe of dancers representing the able-bodied young men of the tribe with abstract headpieces danced vigorously around two tall figures, the mother spirits with turreted headdresses and dressed in great tent-like painted fibre growns. They would twirl around so that the gowns filled out majestically, and every few minutes would envelop one of the young men in a motherly embrace. Thus was the benevolence of the ancestors sought for the work of the year."
Source: William Fagg in Christie’s, London, 8 November 1977. Lot 218; Rare photo source is Copyright William Fagg - RAI, London (021.WBF.188.8.131.52.0.12.4)
|Lot ID: 81|
|Low Estimate: $1,800|
|High Estimate: $3,500|
|Next Bid: $1,300|
|Sale ID: 6|
|Sale Date: July 28, 2016|
|Sale Location: Virtual Auction|
|Sale Sponsor: African Artworks from Berz Gallery of African Art|
|Sale Terms: View here|
|Live Bidding Link: SALE CLOSED|
|Location of Origin: Africa|
|Medium/Materials: wood, wax, textile tassle, polychrome paint, encrustation|
|Dimensions: 25" (63.5 cm) height x 10.5" (26.67 cm) width|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Country - Nigeria|
|Secondary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Object Type - Mask|
|William Fagg in Christie’s, London, 8 November 1977. Lot 218|
|Provenance: Ex. Private American Collection|
|Price:||Price on Request|
|Offered By:||CLOSED: African Artworks : 146 Lots : July 28-30|
|Contact:||The Curator's Eye|
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