3016
3016

PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

NKUTU CURRENCY
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Estimate
70,00090,000
LOT SOLD. 87,500 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
3016

PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

NKUTU CURRENCY
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Estimate
70,00090,000
LOT SOLD. 87,500 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Curiosity III

|
Hong Kong

NKUTU CURRENCY
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
the hand-forged iron currency cast in the shape of a throwing knife with a defined outline of three shapely blade-like flanges issuing from the central handle, each side of the largest 'blade' engraved with foliate motifs, the lower edge of the handle bound with snakeskin and fibre, metal stand
56.4 cm, 22 1/8  in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

An old colonial family collection, Belgium.
Bren Heymans, Antwerp.

Catalogue Note

This rare and beautiful Nkutu currency, or Oshele, of highly abstract from is similar to examples found in the in the Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin and the British Museum, London and another related currency sold in our New York rooms, 16th May 2013, lot 138. Made from hand-forged iron, in the shape of a throwing knife, this is a prestige object which holds great importance and significance for the Nkutu people.

In his discussion of another Oshele, Youmans notes (Ezio Bassani, The Power of Form, African Art from the Horstmann collection, Milan, 2002, p. 170), "The three triangular shapes on this piece appear to melt at the tips, drawing the eye around the work in a circular motion. The single extension at the bottom right of the object counterbalances the two at the top left, making this a successful abstract work of art. [...] A particularly beautiful blade might be worth many times more than an ordinary one. At mid-century it was said that a fine piece of currency like the present example, called [oshele], might be worth one hundred times the value of the iron from which it was made."

Curiosity III

|
Hong Kong