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World Art

In the top ten of bids, the ethnic arts by no means drag their heels. These treasures of africa, america and oceania sold at auction have fascinated collectors from André Breton to Pablo Picasso and from Pierre Vérité to Jacques Kerchache.
In 2000, Kerchache was largely responsible for introducing works by these peoples considered "without writing or history" to the Louvre, foreshadowing the opening of the musée du Quai Branly in Paris.
"Masterpieces the world over are born free and equal," to quote the man who loved these magical objects from all over the globe: from Africa (Ivory Coast, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Angola, Burkina-Faso, Gabon, Madagascar, etc.), oceania (Papua New Guinea, the Marquesas Islands, the Cook Islands, the Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Polynesia, etc.), the americas (the Tainos of the caribbean islands, the Inuits from the gulf of Alaska) and insulindia (Borneo, Indonesia). While they acquired the rank of art works late on in their history, since 2000, the ethnic arts have certainly been adding fuel to the (sacred) fire in online auctions, with dogon masks, fang statues, kota mbulu-ngulu reliquary figures, maoris pendants and eskimo sculptures.


Recommended lots

Egyptian Granite Mask from a Sarcophagus. Late Period, 664-332 B.C. A carved black granite head, possibly once part of a stone sarcophagus, youthful face with idealised features, wearing a bag wig falling low on the brow and delineated from the forehead by a deeply incised line, rounded cheeks and almond-shaped eyes, the mouth set in a slight smile with the lips exhibiting a well-defined contour line around the edges, as is typical for high-quality workmanship; the head accompanied by four glazed composition mummiform funerary figurines; all mounted on a custom-made display stand. See Aldred, C., 'Statuaire (Chapitre II)' in Leclant, J. (ed.), L’Égypte du crépuscule. De Tanis à Méroé 1070 av. J.-C. - IVe siècle apr. J.-C., Paris: Gallimard, 1980; Bothmer, B. V. et al., Egyptian Sculpture of the Late Period 700 B.C. to A.D. 100, Brooklyn: The Brooklyn Museum, 1960; Buhl, M.-L., The late Egyptian anthropoid stone sarcophagi, København: Nationalmusee, 1959; D'Auria, S., Lacovara P. & Roehrig, C. H., Mummies & Magic, The Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt, Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1988. 5 kg total, 25 cm including stand (9 3/4 in.) Collection of Mr. Nahman, since 1950, thence by descent. In a French collection, acquired in 2012 for a New York, USA gallery. Private collection of a medical professional. Accompanied by a copy of a French cultural passport no.227349. Accompanied by a copy of an academic report by Dr Alberto Maria Pollastrini; Accompanied by scholarly note TL05402 by Dr Ronald Bonewitz. This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10900-180444. The so-called Archaic smile is an element that appeared early in the 26th Dynasty and became a regular feature of Late Period and Ptolemaic art.

Estim. 5,000 - 7,000 GBP

Egyptian Blue Glazed Faience Bastet-ir-dis Shabti Fragment Group. Late-Early Ptolemaic Period, c.6th-3rd century B.C. A group of light blue composition shabti fragments comprising three upper bodies, each mummified human figure wearing a tri-partite wig and false beard, holding a pick and hoe in crossed arms, semi-naturalistic detailing to the faces, the figure also has a rudimentary back pillar, perhaps it is because of the lack of distinction between the top of the pillar (usually the pillar alone bears the inscription) and base of the wig that the hieroglyphic inscription for the female owner Bastet-ir-dis has been extended over both. 40 grams total, 42-48 mm high (1 1/2 - 1 3/4 in.) North London gentleman, in storage since the 1970s. Property of a West London gentleman. Accompanied by a specialist report written by Egyptologist Paul Whelan. The inscription includes the name of the female owner Bastet-ir-dis (which can be translated as 'it was Bastet who gave it' i.e. the lady was the gift of the goddess Bastet), highlights the popularity of this feline deity during the Late Period and Ptolemaic/Roman times. Bastet was a protector of the sun god Re as well as being associated with motherhood and fertility. Bastet-ir-dis's name is preceded by 'the Osiris', a common appellation in shabti inscriptions of this and earlier periods, which associates the deceased with the preeminent ancient Egyptian god of the Underworld. The name is followed by the epithet 'true of voice' or 'justified', an attestation of the deceased's good character as judged by a divine tribunal that decided whether a person could enter the eternal Hereafter. Then follows the phrase 'born to' which would have been accompanied by the name of Bastet-ir-dis's mother on the now missing portion of these figures. [3, No Reserve]

Estim. 60 - 80 GBP