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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Inuit amulet is the popular pup choice

17 January 2022

A 19th century sea otter amulet in walrus ivory and baleen fashioned as a mother and her pup sold for £24,000 at Woolley & Wallis (25% buyer’s premium).

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Tribal clubs worth £40,000 amused teenagers as playthings

10 January 2022

“The owner had no idea what they were or what they might be worth. Not a Scooby.”

'Collected Works/ Works Collected'

Exhibition showcases Julian Opie's historic collecting habit

04 January 2022

Curator Maya Binkin discovered Julian Opie’s collecting habit on a visit to his London studio.

 Silver and gilt stag’s head rhyton

New York collector given lifetime ban after four-year antiquities investigation

13 December 2021

One of New York’s most prolific antiquities collectors has surrendered 180 ‘looted’ items from his collection and been barred for life from acquiring antiquities again.

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Join the tribe

27 October 2021

Non-European ethnographic art is a one of the new categories at Fine Arts Paris, represented by Patrick and Ondine Mesdagh from Brussels who will be showing a selection of pieces from four continents.

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Maori pendant boosted by fine notable provenance

18 October 2021

A Maori hei-tiki pendant offered in Cheltenham on September 16 had an old paper label verso stating that it originally belonged to Makoare Te Taonui.

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Standing figure makes bidders sit up and take note

27 September 2021

A rare standing figure from the Yuat River area of Papua New Guinea was the star of the show at a Brussels auction.

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Two goes into one with fairs at Hilton Olympia in Kensington

13 September 2021

Always a bonus for buyers is two fairs in the same venue on the same day.

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5 Questions: Ethnographic art dealer Kenn Mackay

13 September 2021

Dealer and collector Kenn Mackay developed an interest in ethnographic art during his travels in the early 1980s.

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Sensational Tannoy speaker emerges in a sleeper trio in Dorset

30 August 2021

Only a handful of companies have created products with sufficient impact that their brand names become generic descriptions for objects of their type.

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Dealer Anthony Meyer celebrates stone fascination

23 August 2021

“I have always been interested in stone,” says dealer Anthony Meyer.

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Normandy dealer marks double anniversary at Paris Parcours

23 August 2021

Laurent Dodier is a longstanding exhibitor at Parcours des Mondes.

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Heads up for Timoto-Cuica at Parcours des mondes exhibition

23 August 2021

For its Parcours exhibition the Galerie Serge Schoffel from Brussels will be focusing on the Timoto-Cuica, a culture that flourished between 800-1200AD in the area that is now the Trujillo province in Venezuela.

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Distinctive figures from the Congo at Paris show

23 August 2021

Figures from the region that is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be the subject of the themed exhibition 'Kongo' that Galerie Lucas Ratton on the rue Bonaparte will be putting on for Parcours des Mondes.

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Tribal Art London fair will run as a virtual event

23 August 2021

Tribal Art London (TAL), the UK’s main fair dedicated to the collecting field, will be a virtual event this year.

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Worldwide works amassed by the Wrights for sale at Sotheby's

23 August 2021

Sotheby’s New York is holding an online auction from September 7-13 featuring 50 examples of sculpture from across the world’s continents selected from the longstanding collection of Martin and Faith-Dorian Wright.

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Go native the modern way at Bonhams

23 August 2021

Bonhams is holding a sale of Modern Native American Art in Los Angeles on August 30 that includes the collection of Canadian Inuit sculpture assembled by Wendy and Dr Les Fisher of Chicago.

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Tribal art: Bank accounts open in Paris

23 August 2021

The network of small streets in the left bank area of Saint Germain des Prés once again hosts a series of gallery exhibitions for the Parcours des Mondes.

Fang head

Paris auction sets record for a tribal art collection result

12 July 2021

The sale of Michel Périnet’s collection of tribal art at Christie’s in Paris on June 23 real ised a remarkable €66m/£57m (including buyer’s premium) and every one of the 61 lots were sold.

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Tribal highlights: mask and figure at Woolley & Wallis

28 June 2021

The best-performing lots in the tribal art sale at Woolley & Wallis (25% buyer’s premium) in Salisbury on June 8 were these two pieces: an Ibibio mask (idiok ekpo) sold at £30,000 and a Nicobar standing male figure (kareau) that brought £34,000.

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