Sotheby’s African and Oceanic art sale coming to Paris

Sotheby’s will host a major auction of African & Oceanic art in Paris on June 21.

It will include an important Hemba ancestor statue.

The Hemba are a tribe originating from what is today the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Hemba statue ancestor

The Hemba originate from the Democratic Republic of Congo 

This statue was crafted by the Niembo, a northerly branch of the Hemba family.

The Niembo are celebrated for their skill in carving and have long operated workshops along the Luika River.

This example looks to date as far back as the 17th or 18th century, when the region was under the control of the precolonial Luba empire.

Sotheby’s comments: “This sculpture, making its debut at auction, has a patina which attests to its considerable age.

“The statue reflects the prestige of princely families at a time when the Luba kingdom was expanding and the culture of the Hemba traditions was developing.”

The piece is valued at $313,502-391,877.

The sale includes 12 pieces of Oceanic art from collection of Dutch artist Berend Hoekstra, including a spectacular Maori mask that is expected to sell for $201,537-279,912.

It displays the fearsome tattoos worn by Maori men, with eyes and teeth inlaid with crushed abalone shell.  

Hoekstra says: "Oceanic art fascinates me.

“The raw power of some of these objects comes so close to my concept of the fundamental meaning of art that I need them, so that I can explore them and understand their force."

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