Lot 13
  • 13

Bidjogo Power Figure, Bissagos Islands, Guinea-Bissau

40,000 - 60,000 USD
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  • wood
  • Height: 15 1/2 in (39.4 cm)


Presumably collected in situ by Vittorio Mangiò
Vittorio and Marina Mangiò, Monza
Fredric Mueller (1935-1990), New York
Christie's, New York, Property from the Estate of Fredric Mueller, June 5, 1990, lot 116
John Giltsoff, London, acquired at the above auction
Allan Stone, New York, acquired from the above


S2 Gallery, Sotheby's New York, Hunters and Gatherers: The Art of Assemblage, November 18 - December 16, 2011


Lisa Dennison and Adam Gopnick (eds.), Hunters and Gatherers: The Art of Assemblage, New York, 2011, p. 112-113

Catalogue Note

The Bidjogo constitute a relatively small people living on the Bissagos islands of present-day Guinea Bissau, numbering less than 10,000 in pre-colonial times. The present lot belongs to an extremely small corpus of bottle-shaped Bidjogo power figures representing either the Supreme Being Orrebuco-Ocoto or another divinity of the name Eraminde who is best understood as one spirit in multiple manifestations which are all tied to divination and magic. See Helmholtz (1972: 52-57) for further discussion.

Only ten other figures of this exceedingly rare type are known: one in the Brooklyn Museum (inv. no. "71.176.4"); a second and a third in the Museu Nacional de Etnologia, Lisbon (formerly Museu d'Etnologia do Ultramar, inv. nos. "AK 937" and "AD 948); a fourth in the Robert T. Wall Family Collection, San Francisco; and several others published in the literature and offered at auction (Schädler 1973: 16, no. 1; Helmholtz 1972: 55; Ader-Picard-Tajan, Paris, December 18, 1990, lot 99; Sotheby's, New York, May 16, 1985, lot 109 - two figures; Zemanek-Münster, September 22, 2007, lot 179). Within this already extremely small corpus, three figures are stylistically so similar that they can be attributed to the same artist. These figures are the Brooklyn Museum figure, the Wall figure, and the present lot from the Allan Stone Collection.