A Dogon N’Duleri primordial maternity group is one of 12 important pieces of African art to feature in a sale at Christie’s.
It shows a mother with twins, in reference to the Dogon creation myth.
It’s near impossible to accurately date the sculpture, but it would have been carved between 1652 and 1822 – when the Dogon culture (based in modern-day Mali) was at its height.
The status illustrates the Dogon creation myth
The carver was clearly a master, demonstrating an extraordinary level of skill and control.
The work has been in a major US collection since the 1980s and has been loaned out several times to institutions including the Smithsonian and Cornell University.
It’s valued at $1.5m-2.5m.
There’s also a spectacular Baule mask from the Ivory Coast that carries an estimate of $500,000-800,000.
The piece once belonged to John Huston, director of The Maltese Falcon (1941) and The Misfits (1961).
Susan Kloman, Christie’s African and Oceanic art specialist, said: “Each work of art represented in this sale is powerfully resonant with subjects, which unite us as human - visions of prosperity, love, power, fear and order.
“From incarnations of gods, supreme beings and oracles to works of virtuosity and idealized beauty, this presentation is highly rich and was brought together not only to present top classical examples, in addition to the Dogon maternity, such as the Bédiat-Huston Baule mask and Matisse Fang Figure, but foremost works of innovation rarely seen on the market – such as the Grebo mask, the Pindi dancing figure, the Mfumte figure and the Tsonga female figure from South Africa.”
The auction will take place in New York on May 19.
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