Art from another world - fascinating tribal carvings are to sell

Art is one of the most popular areas of collectibles, but for many people the seven and eight-figure prices involved at the highest end are prohibitive. In a few weeks' time, however, a sale of early and tribal carved art will offer entry-level opportunities for collectors to get involved.

The sale in Würzberg, Germany is being held by auction house Zemanek-Münster, and comprises 508 lots from prices starting at a few hundred dollars for some exceptional pieces. Some of the highlights include:

Two pieces from the Bamana tribe of Malie: a Hyaena mask 'suruku' (estimated at €18,000) and an Antelope dance crest 'tjiwara'. Both are made from wood with a shiny dark brown patina. The former would have been used in a maturing ceremony for young men, whilst the latter would be used at the start and end of the agrarian cycle.

Wooden tribal sculpture
Wooden sculpture by the Metoko tribe of the DRC

Perhaps most exciting is a large male figure associated with the Metoko tribe of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The tribe used such figures for multiple purposes, including as temporary places for the souls of the dead to reside (they would then be broken and left in the forest following appropriate rituals).

The dark brown patinated wood figure, with traces of white and red paint and triangular face, stands nearly 1 metre tall and is expected to sell for €25,000. The auction will take place on Saturday September 4.


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