'Bateba phuwe' rare old African ancestor figure auctions in Berlin

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.


bateba phuwe410
This bateba phuwe, a wooden carved figure, is selling in Germany

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.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock