Jasper52 auction Oct. 15 reveals many faces of tribal art

Lengola stool, Congo DRC, wood, about 7 x 9¼in. Estimate: $2,500-$3,000. Jasper52

NEW YORK – A tribal auction that features rare masks and figures from tribes across Africa will be conducted by Jasper52 on Tuesday, Oct. 15. This collection of 42 hand-picked artifacts exhibit significant use in tribal ceremonies and rituals. Bid absentee or live online exclusively through LiveAuctioneers.  

One of the more unusual forms in the sale is a carved wooden stool (above) from the Lengola, a Bantu forest people of Central Africa, installed in the east-central region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This small seat exhibits superb architecture with elegant interlacing (est. $2,500-$3,000).

A nearly 3-foot-high shield from the Songye people in the Congo DRC is adorned with a miniature representation of a kifwebe mask. Likely not intended for combat, the shield served rather as symbolic and emblematic of power. The small central mask, carved in very high relief and framed by two small colored circles, gives the object a remarkable dynamic (est. $2,000-$2,500).

Large Songye shield of carved softwood, Congo DRC, 34½ x 14¼ x 8¾in. Estimate: $2,000-$2,500. Jasper52

Masks make up the bulk of the auction, such as a large, old Songye male kifwebe. These masks are real modern sculptures with very audacious architecture, exuberant shapes and volumes. The Songye male kifwebe in the auction is from Patric Claes, a Belgian dealer of African art in Brussels and a specialist for the Congo traditional arts.

Songye mask, male kifwebe, Congo DRC, wood, 27½in. high. Estimate: $2,000-$2,500. Jasper52

Also from the Congo comes a superb Kongo Yombe mask made of wood, skin and upholstery nails. This mask measures 10¼ inches high and is estimated at $2,000-$2,500.

Kongo/Yombe mask, Congo DRC, wood, skin and upholstery nails, about 10¾in. high. Estimate: $2,000-$2,500. Jasper52

From the Ivory Coast is a classic Dan mask that has an original asymmetry, especially visible at the chin. The Dan or Yacouba, as they call themselves are a people settled mainly in Côte d’Ivoire, but some also live in Liberia. This 9¾-inch-tall mask is expected to sell for $3,500-$4,500.

Songye mask, male kifwebe, Congo DRC, wood, 27½in. high. Estimate: $2,000-$2,500. Jasper52

The Jasper52 online auction of African tribal art will be held Tuesday, 15, beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern time.