A FINE AKAN TERRACOTA FUNERARY HEAD, Ghana
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Both oral and written evidence suggest that ancient Akan funerary terracotta portraiture originated in a royal context. According to oral tradition, each time a chief died, "an elderly female artist with powers of clairvoyance would be commissioned to make a terracotta image of that individual. Akan royal portraits tended to be idealised; frequently, they embodied attributes of physical perfection - fleshy rings around the neck, big bulging eyes, and shapely noses and lips considered beautiful in Akan culture" (quoted after Musée Dapper 2003: 96). For a related example cf. loc. cit. (106).