Gods and Ancestors : this perfectly encapsulates what the magnificent sculptures in this December auction convey. Crafted by talented artists from Africa and Oceania, with a masterful hand and each using their own formal criteria, these pieces express the timeless beauty of the spirits that they embody.
Three exquisite masks in the auction – the Boa mask (lot 68), the black Punu mask (lot 56) and the Kwele mask (lot 55)) were never meant to be exposed to the public gaze; their beauty and strength were only devoted to the spirits and ancestors. These majestic representations of the male and female form, created by anonymous artists, are joined by a small sculpture of a head by the famed ‘Buli Master’ (lot 62), and by two shrine (couple) sculptures, extraordinary in their artistry and rarity, from a supremely talented Yoruba Nago artist (lots 35 and 36)). Both sculptures are devoted to Shango, the deified fourth king of Oyo-Ile, the city that was the centre of the Oyo Empire in the second half of the 18th century.
From Oceania, comes a rare Rarotonga Staff God, Cook Islands (lot 85). One of only sixteen complete Staff Gods documented in museum or private collections, this sculpture pays tribute to Tangaroa, the creator God.