NEW YORK – Out of Africa comes this collection of masks and figures integral to traditional tribal ceremonies, which will be sold in a Jasper52 online auction Sunday, June 18. Imbued with stylized detail and tremendous depth of meaning, these handcrafted items enchant collectors worldwide. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
Carved out in this collection are masks and figures integral to traditional ceremonies from tribes around the world. Given their geometric designs, it is no wonder these artifacts are widely exhibited alongside modern sculptures.
The Dogon people, who dwell in the central plateau region of Mali, in western Africa, are known for their wooden sculpture and architecture. Two door locks in the sale represent a combination of the two. The more detailed of the two (below) is made of wood and metal and depicts a primordial couple. It was acquired in situ by Jerry Vogel of New York City, who was a longtime associate of the Museum for African Art.
More than a dozen masks are in the auction. One of the most dramatic is a polychrome mask (top) from the Igala people of Nigeria. Carved of medium-density wood, this mask shows much evidence of having years of use. A custom mount is included.
Just as visually arresting is an Atwonzen beaded head by the Bamileke people of Grassfields, Cameroon. This item made of fiber and glass beads is from the fabled Merton D. Simpson collection.
An unusual decoy used by hunters in the grasslands of northeast Nigeria and southwest Niger represents the often-encountered Abyssinian ground hornbill. Hunters wore such decoys on their heads to mask their approach to antelope, buffalo and other game.
An anthropomorphic pipe from the Mangbetu people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo represents a bearded man. From a New York City private collection, the 9 1/2-inch-long pipe was acquired in Belgium before 1974.
The highest estimate in the auction is $2,400-$2,600 for a Tampulma or Vagala mask (below) made of wood and decorated with indigenous pigments.
Additional items include knives, tribal currency and sculpture.
The auction will begin on Sunday, June 18, at 3:30 p.m.