NEW YORK – Tribal art from around the globe is presented in a Jasper52 online auction on Wednesday, May 30. Carved masks and figures imbued with stylized detail and potent symbolism – more than 100 items – are offered in the online auction catalog. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
The expected star of the auction is a carved wooden staff (above) used by the Yoruba people in Nigeria during processions and dances in honor of Shango, the thunder god. When not in use these objects are kept the deity’s shrines together with the thunderstones that Shango supposedly flings down from the sky. Made during the early 20th century, this staff is nearly 23 inches high. It has a $5,000-$7,000 estimate.
From Papua New Guinea, one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, is a splashboard and prow ornament from a sea-going canoe. These boats are central to the kula trading system if the Trobriand Islands. A finely decorated vessel enhanced the prestige of the members of a trading expedition and of their village. The top central protective figures or Bualai are symbols of protection. These pieces show the characteristic Trobriand decorative style.
Among the many masks offered in the Jasper52 auction are:
– Lega people’s maskette having a large fiber beard (below). This pre-1940 mask from the Congo region measures nearly 8½ inches long, not counting the beard.
– Fang people’s four-faced helmet mask representing Ngontanga, from Gabon, the second half of the 20th century.
– Bakongo people’s mask, Democratic Republic of Congo, the first half of the 20th century.
Also, the Jasper52 auction features a 1960s faced statue from southwest Malakula Island of Vanuatu. Decorated with natural fiber and pigments, the wooden figure is from an old Dutch private collection.
The auction will be held Wednesday, May 30, beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.