63
63
Mumuye Male Figure, Nigeria
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 149,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
63
Mumuye Male Figure, Nigeria
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 149,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

In Pursuit of Beauty: The Myron Kunin Collection of African Art

|
New York

Mumuye Male Figure, Nigeria

Provenance

Samuel J. Wagstaff, Jr., Detroit
Robert Mapplethorpe, New York
Christie’s, New York, Collection of Robert Mapplethorpe, October 31, 1989, lot 420
Lance and Roberta Entwistle, London, acquired at the above auction
Myron Kunin, Minneapolis, acquired from the above on December 5, 1991

Catalogue Note

The art of the Mumuye has recently been highlighted in two important exhibitions. The first, Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley, originated in 2011 at the Fowler Museum at UCLA and continued to, among others, the National Museum of African Art - Smithsonian Institution in Washington and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris (for the accompanying catalog see Berns, Fardon and Kasfir 2011). The second was Visual Encounters: Africa, Oceania and Modern Art at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel (for the accompanying catalog see Wick and Denner 2009).

According to Stelzig (in Wick and Denner 2009: VIII): "The Mumuye live in a mountainous region in northeastern Nigeria, south of the Benue River.  Today, they number approximately half a million people, comprising, as far as one knows, several different populations.  The groups now subsumed under the ethnic denomination Mumuye retreated to the Shebshi Mouthains at the beginning of the 19th century under the growing pressure of invading groups such as the Chamba, Jukun, and Fulani.  In the course of British and French Colonial intrusion and the conquest of the region at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the Mumuye, located in the border area of Nigeria and Cameroon, gained the reputation of being tough and reclusive adversaries ready to fight for their lands.

"[...] these unique works, which are so admired today, did not reach Western museum and the international art market until the end of the 1960s, with the exception of two sculptures acquired by the British Museum in 1922.  As regards function, we only know that the figures were stored in special houses and were used by diviners, healers, judges, blacksmiths, and rainmakers in ceremonial contexts. Some of them also served as family guardian statues and as status symbols for powerful men."

In Pursuit of Beauty: The Myron Kunin Collection of African Art

|
New York