118
118
Mambila Female Ancestor Figure, Cameroon
Estimation
400 000600 000
Lot. Vendu 485,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
118
Mambila Female Ancestor Figure, Cameroon
Estimation
400 000600 000
Lot. Vendu 485,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art

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New York

Mambila Female Ancestor Figure, Cameroon

Provenance

Harry A. Franklin, Los Angeles, ca. 1960s
Sotheby's New York, The Harry A. Franklin Family Collection of African Art, April 21, 1990, lot 140
Hans Schneckenburger, Munich, acquired at the above auction
Philippe Guimiot, Brussels, acquired from the above
Private European Collection, acquired from the above on November 6, 2000

Exposition

National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., The Art of Cameroon, February 1 - June 17, 1984; additional venues:
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, July 28 - September 9, 1984
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, October 6 - November 25, 1984
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, March 9 - June 16, 1985
American Museum of Natural History, New York, July 15 - October 15, 1985
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Los Angeles, Expressions of Cameroon Art: the Franklin Collection, February 1 - November 15, 1986; additional venues:
The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, June 1 - September 6, 1987
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, October 5, 1987 - January 3, 1988
Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, June 6 - September 4, 1988
Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, October 3, 1988 - January 8, 1989
Palo Alto Cultural Center, Palo Alto, October 7 - December 31, 1989

Bibliographie

Tamara Northern, The Art of Cameroon, Washington, 1984, p. 190, fig. 128
Tamara Northern, Expressions of Cameroon Art: the Franklin Collection, Los Angeles, 1986, p. 27, fig. 10
Jean-Baptiste Bacquart, The Tribal Arts of Africa, London, 1998, p. 104, fig. 3

Description

According to Kerchache (1990: 144), Mambila "religious life centres around ancestor worship.  Every village has an ancestor hut that is entrusted to the care of the elder.  It is built of stilts and has an image called 'Baltu' displayed on its front wall which shows a man and a woman holding a net which is used for catching birds or fish.  The ancestor figures of the Mambila are kept in such nets.  These figures are carved out of very soft wood and painted with red, white and black pigments.  They are called tadep or tadep dia (figures that measure 30 cm or more)."

Large scale Mambila ancestor statues of the quality of the Franklin Mambila are exceedingly rare.  See a female figure in the collection of Drs. Daniel and Marian Malcolm, New Jersey (Kerchache 1990: 145, pl. 52); a male figure previously in the collection of Mia and Loed Van Bussel, Amsterdam (Kerchache 1990: 147, pl. 57); and another male figure previously in the collection of the renowned art collector Rudolf Leopold, Vienna (Bastin 1984: 226, fig. 227).  The latter male figure, collected by Philippe Guimiot between 1968 and 1969, shares several unique features with the Franklin female figure, including the facial features, treatment of the ears and above all the cubistic rendering of the legs as spring-like zigzags.  Given that Mambila ancestor statues were conceived as male and female pairs, it seems reasonable to conclude that both are works by the same artist and originally formed a couple.

African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art

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New York