Ethnographica & Tribal Art

This category comprises artefacts and works of art made by indigenous peoples.

It began as a collecting area when anthropologists began acquiring and studying these items in the 19th century. Nowadays works are valued for their craftsmanship and decorative quality as well as for their historical and social interest.

The geographical spread in this sector ranges from Oceanic (Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand), African, Native American and South American art. Pre-Columbian works represent a sought-after sector – art from the Americas dating from before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492.

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Latest edition of Tribal Art London focuses on female representations in this field

19 August 2019

An example of a 'ngaady a mwaash' mask made by the Bushoong Kuba peoples is among the large offering of female-themed items at the next staging of 'Tribal Art London' (TAL).

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Aboriginal weapons saved from a skip now sell at auction

15 July 2019

Saved at the last minute from a skip, a collection of Aboriginal weapons drew worldwide interest at Martel Maides’ sale in St Peter Port, Guernsey.

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How Paris comes back to life after the long summer break

08 July 2019

'La Biennale Paris' and 'Parcours des Mondes' bring the dealing scene in the French capital back to life after summer slumbers, while auction houses also rise to the occasion. We take an early glimpse at what will be on offer for the visitor in September.

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Go fishing for tribal art in Landshut auction

01 July 2019

Numerous tribes inhabit the Cross River state of south-eastern Nigeria, close to the border with Cameroon. Animals of many kinds play a major part in the myths and religions of the area.

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Sale of dealer’s collection of African art led by rare mask at Sotheby’s

22 June 2019

Sotheby’s chalked up a premium-inclusive total of just under €11.5m (£10.25m) when it sold the Marceau Rivière collection of African art in Paris.

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Meet the ‘last living Surrealist’ – Desmond Morris on painting and collecting

10 June 2019

Desmond Morris on his many lives as a zoologist, painter, author and collector

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Raven rattle features in Heritage Auctions’ ethnographic art sale

10 June 2019

This 1880s Haida painted wood raven rattle, 12¾in (32cm) high, has a provenance to the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society and the collection of the late Johnson S Bogart, San Francisco.

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Well-known private collection of African art comes up in Sotheby’s Paris auction

27 May 2019

Tribal art makes regular saleroom appearances in Paris, which is one of the major commercial centres in this sector.

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Third slice of pre-Columbian works on offer at Drouot

27 May 2019

At the Drouot auction centre on June 6 the Paris firm of Binoche et Giquello will be selling a third instalment from a US collection of pre-Columbian works from Meso, Central and South America which is expected to realise in the region of €3m-4m.

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On the ball for tribal items coming up in west London sale

27 May 2019

Antiquities and tribal art will be on offer at Chiswick Auctions in west London on June 27.

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Tribal art market expands beyond its traditional selling boundaries

27 May 2019

The market for tribal art covering works from Africa, Oceania and the Americas has a global reach these days. While particular centres form cultural and commercial hubs (New York, Paris and Brussels in particular), you can find fairs and shows, shops and auctions around the world. Recent sale highlights and previews from some of the upcoming auctions and fairs are featured here.

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Illustrious former owners boost modern value at New York tribal art auctions

27 May 2019

Spring is a traditional point in the saleroom calendar for New York to mount its tribal art auctions.

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A selection of dates for your tribal diary: May-October 2019

27 May 2019

Tribal art is a sector with truly international appeal and fairs and shows go on throughout the year across various locations.

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Mexican anthropomorphic mask offered in Paris

04 March 2019

Paris is a centre for auctions of Pre-Columbian art. On March 18 Copages is offering an Italian collection of works that were sourced from major salerooms such as Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Loudmer as well as specialist dealers like Galerie Mermoz and the Emmeritz Gallery.

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Pre-Columbian sale at Christie’s Paris includes Aztec stone sculpture

04 March 2019

On April 9 Christie’s will be holding a Pre-Columbian sale featuring the 90-lot collection formed by Felix and Heidi Stoll from Basel as well as around 50 pieces from other vendors.

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Didier Claes at BRAFA 2019

21 January 2019

With so many tribal art galleries concentrated in Brussels it is no surprise to find 10 specialists in the field showing at BRAFA, six of them from the Belgian capital.

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Zulu War relics from extensive collection on offer at Kent auction along with tribal art

03 January 2019

Relics from the hard-fought defence of Rorke’s Drift in the Zulu War are among the lots for sale in a Kent auction as part of an extensive collection from the period.

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Inaugural Anthony Meyer Scholarship awarded for study of Oceanic skulls

01 December 2018

The inaugural Anthony JP Meyer Scholarship, for supporting research on the Oceanic collections in museums in France and overseas communities, has been awarded to Sophie Jacqueline.

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Rare Native American pipe offered in Boston

12 November 2018

A North-west Coast Tlingit pipe in the form of a bear will be offered at an upcoming auction in Boston.

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Sales in France: Paris – Binoche et Giquello

22 October 2018

Tribal art is very much a strength of the Paris art market, with sales taking place throughout the year.

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