Kota reliquary figures to star in November auction

A series of Kota reliquary figures from Gabon will headline Sotheby’s sale of the Edwin and Cherie Silver collection this November.

The Silvers were the curators of one of the most important collections of Mesoamerican and African art ever assembled.

Kota reliquary figures

The Kota are famed for their skill in working with copper

They began putting it together in the early 1950s.

Alexander Grogan, Sotheby’s head of African & Oceanic Art, said:  “The Silvers began their odyssey as collectors with Pre-Columbian Art, assembling an extraordinary group of terracotta couples from ancient Mesoamerica.

“Many of the African works in the collection are well-known to lovers of African Art, as the Silvers generously lent them to prominent museum exhibitions and kindly facilitated their publication in the scholarly literature.”

The extraordinary Kota figures are carved from wood and overlaid with brass and copper.

They were built to watch over the bones of departed members of the tribe, who were believed to maintain their roles after death.

Grogan said: “The striking silhouettes and abstract geometry of the famous Kota Reliquary Figures from Gabon were a sight to behold in the Silvers’ living room.”

In all, the collection is valued at around $10m.

The sale will also include Oceanic and Native American art consigned by other collectors and will take place in New York on November 4.

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