Songye community power figure auctions with 140% increase

An exceptional Songye community power figure, a masterpiece of African art, has sold at the top of Sotheby's sale of The Collection of Allan Stone: African, Oceanic and Indonesian Art.

Songye Community power Figure
This power figure has been widely exhibited and is one of the most celebrated from the Songye community


Allan Stone was a respected dealer in ethnographic art, and his collection is among the finest ever offered at auction.

The Songye "Four Horn" community figure is a celebrated work from the Democratic Republic of Congo, with competitive bids resulting in a final price of $2.1m at the November 15 auction in New York - up 140% on its $900,000 high estimate.

Widely published and exhibited, it was included in the landmark exhibition Africa: the Art of a Continent at New York's Guggenheim Museum in 1996.

The figure is one of two major works acquired in the sale by the Dallas Museum of Art, which houses an outstanding collection of African art numbering almost 2,000 works.

"The 'Four Horn' Power Figure and Headcrest are both remarkable examples of African art that will expand our audiences' understanding of the innovative art and material culture of the diverse peoples of Africa," commented museum director Maxwell L Anderson.

Ejagham headcrest
The newly-acquired pieces will form the highlight of the Dallas Museum of Art's African art collection

The second piece, an Ejagham headcrest from the Cross River region in Nigeria, sold for $305,000 - a 103.3% increase on its $150,000 high estimate.

With many of the lots seeing strong bids, a Kongo-Yombe nail power figure from the Congo saw the second highest price at $1.8m. Originally estimated at $400,000-600,000, it achieved a 200.8% increase.

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Images: Sotheby's

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