Join the collectors' tribe... '$28,813' Indonesian tribal art sells in Germany


Forget Andy Warhol and Qi Baishi, tribal art is the name of the game at Zemanek-Münster's upcoming sale in Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany on September 17.

Among the sale's anticipated top lots is this example of Indonesian primitive art, formerly held in a collection at the Barbier-Müller Museum in Geneva, Switzerland.

Zemanek-Münster's lot notes describe it as a "wood, dark brown patina, massive panel with a plug-like projection at the bottom, the front side covered with delicate incised ornaments."

The Indonesian panel, formerly held in the Barbier-Müller Museum of Geneva

These ornaments are crowned by a superstructure in shape of two birds, with each bird's body arranged to face in an opposite direction.

According to the auctioneer's lot notes this piece was formerly in a Dutch private collection since the 1960s.

There is some minor damage to the panel, missing parts and abrasion. Overall, the piece measures 182cm in height by 48cm.

This ancient mask was among
the highlights at Bonhams' $0.5m
tribal art auction, last year

Despite its inevitable imperfections, due to the history of this piece and fascination surrounding it, the panel is expected to bring €20,000 (just over $28,813) when it auctions next month.

Tribal art has proven itself to be increasingly popular with collectors over the past couple of years, as mysterious items like masks, tools, weapons, decorations and figures are sold and bought by the world's wealthiest private collectors.

As we reported in our February 2010 article, Tribal art: the new big deal for collectors, Bonhams & Butterfields' February 12 sale of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian art that year saw its sales total more than $500,000.

Zemanek-Münster will be hoping that its sale follows in this path of success, next month.

With its wealth of fascinating, mysterious and utterly unique items, tribal art will undoubtedly continue as one of the strongest collecting niches.

Watch this space for more news from the tribal art markets.


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