SALE END DATE AND TIME
July 31, 2016 : SALE CLOSED
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|Chokwe Tribe, Angola, 1890-1920|
This rare, elegant piece is thought to have been used as a shrine figure. It may also have served a ceremonial use or possibly been employed as a prestige object for someone of high rank within the tribe. Carved from a single piece of wood, it is illustrative of the high quality, detailed carving for which the Chokwe Tribe are known. The coiffure is truly exceptional, cascading down in waterfall-like form, and the patina on the piece is rich and varied, the result of human handling over many decades. As scholars can attest, less than a handful of comparable pieces with this degree of age and fineness have ever been archived. As for the motif of the figure pounding a mortar, “mortars were commonly used by various peoples in the southern Congo to pound tobacco leaves.” (ref. Art and Power in the Central African Savanna, C. Petridis, Cleveland Museum of Art, 2008). Petridis later writes, “mortars depicting a squatting male figure, hands-to-knees-to elbows, usually represented a chief or a high ranking official. According to some sources, these objects were used to store magical ingredients for healing or protective purposes. As such, they were often worn around the neck as amulets” (p. 137). From our experience with objects from this region, it is most likely that this figure dates to the early 20th century, circa 1900 to 1910. The surface shows significant signs of handling, particularly the surface of the torso and the base of the figure, and the incised ridges of the coiffure, which also reflect an oily sheen from human handling. The softened edges of the piece are also reflective of handling and naturally occurring age.
|Lot ID: 1|
|Low Estimate: $3,500|
|High Estimate: $6,500|
|Next Bid: $1,750|
|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 (one piece), stain|
|Dimensions: 10.5'' (26.67 cm) height|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Country - Other|
|Secondary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Object Type - Statue|
|About the Chokwe: Ancestor veneration is an important part of Chokwe life, and many families still worship the original Chokwe ancestor who broke from the Luba tribe in the 15th century and founded the Chokwe. The Chokwe are governed by a king called Mwana Ngana, who distributes hunting grounds and cultivated areas; the male Mugonge and female Ukele societies regulate social life. The vast majority of Chokwe objects are decorated with figures and geometric scarification motifs, as seen on this piece, which the people employ for initiation and other tribal ritual use as they pass through various life stages and achievements. (Ref: Bacquart, “Tribal Arts of Africa”).|
Further Expertise: Art and Power in the Central African Savanna, C. Petridis, Cleveland Museum of Art, 2008; Bacquart, “Tribal Arts of Africa”, Visona, History of Art in Africa
|Provenance: Ex. Galeria Guilhem Montagut, Spain (original certificate of authenticity included with purchase), Ex. Private Spanish Collection, Exhibition History: Vetted by a committee of tribal art experts as authentic and pre-1940 and exhibited at Parcours des mondes, Paris, September 2015|
|Price:||Price on Request|
|Offered By:||CLOSED: African Artworks : 146 Lots : July 28-30|
|Contact:||The Curator's Eye|
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