A circa 1890 Urhobo eshe shrine post, valued at $70,000-90,000, is to headline The Cobbs Auctioneers' sale of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian art in New Hampshire on November 2.
The post features a representation of a seated ancestral figure, known as an eshe, wearing a hat below an upper column depicting zoomorphic and human iconography.
The Urhobo live along the Niger Delta and have a long tradition of honouring ancestors. This particular example represents Ovwha - a local palm oil trader who brought great prosperity to his village.
A Limba or Loko shrine figure dating to the end of the 19th century is valued at $60,000-90,000.
The figure was probably carved by the Limba or Loko people in the area of Africa that is now Sierra Leone. It features a hollow chest and head to allow for the insertion of offerings.
A pair of rare Hemba figures from the Democratic Republic of Congo are offered as a single lot with an estimate of $50,000-70,000.
The male and female figures feature simple, archaic carved faces. The male carries a staff, while the female is adorned with a grass skirt and a heavy iron necklace.
Another Hemba figure, this time an ancestral figure known as a singiti, carries an estimate of $20,000-30,000.
The Hemba, like many tribal peoples, worshipped their ancestors - and this figure would have been used in ceremonies honouring past deeds.
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