'Bateba phuwe' rare old African ancestor figure auctions in Berlin
This bateba phuwe, or carved wooden figure, of an ancient Africa ancestor is up for sale in Germany
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Thursday 12 January 2012
It was Jussi Pylkkanen, President of Christie's auction houses in Europe, who first coined the term "Medici collectors."
Named after Italy's elite dynasty of art patrons who, across centuries, employed only the era's most brilliant artists, Medici collectors could be a big force in the collectibles markets in 2012.
These buyers are targeting only the best-of-the-best artworks, be it art, sculpture or furniture.
"We're talking about the wealthiest and most influential philanthropists," said Pylkkanen.
While analysts in the mainstream financial markets worry about the effects of the recession on globalisation - particularly within Europe - the Medici buyers could help to make collectibles more globally liquid than ever.
One great example is a sale of "primitive" art from Africa and Oceania which is taking place in Berlin later this month, on January 28.
Among the sale's many highlights is this rare "bateba phuwe", which translates as wooden carved figure, of a standing ancestral figure. It measures 86cm tall.
The figure dates to the 19th century. With a slightly bowed head, the figure has suffered some erosion due to its old age. Its feet are missing, for example.
Nevertheless, its unique design remains undiminished. This includes long arms carved free of the body, a strongly bulged abdomen and slightly bent legs.
It is worth noting that this figure is being consigned from a private collection in Berlin, Germany. The sale itself is also happening in Berlin - yet will undoubtedly attract the attentions of Medici collectors all around the world.
Watch this space for news on more sales of extraordinarily old ancestor figures like this one.
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