Monday, 16 February 2009

Anthropology worth having

LOT 170
BINI HORNED FACE MASK, NIGERIA Ekpo society carved wood mask with attached horns, its classicly rendered hair line and beard accented with indigo and white kaolin pigments, early 20th c. Reputed to cleanse the society of disease and protect the village from witchcraft. (Exhibited in ''Images of Authority: From Benin to Gabon,'' Lowe Art Museum, Miami, FL, 1973; ''African Art: Nature, Man, and Vital Force from the Collection of H.B. Greene and Family,'' Richard Madigan, Norton Gallery of Art, West Palm Beach, Fl., 1975. Provenance: Private collection, South Carolina). Some looseness to horns, erosion to back of mask, stress fractures, well handled and used.

Lot No 216
SONGYE KIFWEBE SOCIETY MASK, ZAIRE Boldly carved example with precise linear design, raised finial, protruding four-sided mouth, complete with nose hairs, early to mid-20th c. (Provenance: Jean-Pierre Hallet collection, Belgium. Lifelong collector Hallet [1927-2004] authored several books on African art, including, ''Congo Kitabu'' and ''Pygmy Kitabu,'' and created the Pygmy Fund). Very well-worn interior, light staining to kaolin, small chip to eye, all consistent with field use.

Lot No 200
IMPORTANT BLACK PUNU MASK, GABON Carved wood with classic coiffure complete with human hair, early to mid-20th c. These masks' dark color allude to their ominous nature in potentially condemning the living, and are much less common than their white counterparts. (Provenance: DeCredico family collection. A similar example can be seen in the Musee Dapper, Paris.) Overall fair condition with signs of heavy use. Includes metal display stand.

Lot No 12
IROQUOIS/SENECA FALSE FACE, NEW YORK Exceptional carved wood mask with strong downward mouth, bulging cylindrical eyes, bold red paint, and black horse hair, early 20th c. Worn in healing ceremonies. (Provenance: Private collection, New York). Interior shows wear and handling consistent with ritual use, several layers of paint evident.

All from the upcoming auction at Rago.

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mamacita said...

The Menil Collection has a fantastic collection of masks. They scared me half to death the first time I rounded the corner and saw them on the walls. You have to stop be there if you are ever in Houston.

Ms. Wis./Each Little World said...

Definitely worth having! Just went to the tribal catalog and looked at everything. I loved scrolling down your page from the Punu; I could just see the beginnings of the next mask and instantly knew where it was from having grown up with Iroquois and Seneca tribal masks at our local museum. What absolute beauties — as was no. 30 — the southwest clown mask!