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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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.

Ibibio mask (idiok ekpo)

Top-selling Nigerian mask stars in our pick of five auction highlights sold this week

11 June 2021

ATG’s weekly selection of items that caught bidders’ eyes includes a rare Ibibio mask from the Niger Delta that made over 35-times estimate in Salisbury.

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Fijian bowl with rare form brings fervent interest at Lyon & Turnbull

17 May 2021

This Fijian kava bowl, or daveniyaqona, carved in the form of a shallow figure, would have been used for both the consumption of kava (yaqona – the intoxicating liquor of the pepper plant) by priests during religious rites and to hold sacred oil.

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The head masters from Africa

17 May 2021

Exhibition at firm’s new premises focuses on headdress and headwear

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Benin plaque withdrawn from auction after curator raises provenance questions

03 May 2021

The increasingly contentious issue of selling Benin works of art at auction raised its head again last week after an ancestral plaque catalogued as 16th or 17th century was withdrawn from an East Sussex sale.

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5 Questions: African Arts dealer David Malík

19 April 2021

David Malík of David Malík African Arts has a primary interest in the field of Contemporary African art and the long-standing art traditions of western and central Africa.

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Amsterdam tribal fair online, take two

12 April 2021

This dance mask known as a takü, would have been used during rituals to mourn the dead by the Cubeo tribes of present-day Colombia and Brazil.

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5 Questions: tribal art dealer and fair organiser Finette Lemaire

12 April 2021

Finette Lemaire specialises in tribal art and owns Galerie Lemaire in Amsterdam.

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Ritual figure from Rapa Nui and sells in Germany

12 April 2021

Tribal art specialist Zemanek-Münster will be holding a spring auction on April 24 in Würzburg.

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Tribal Art London reports increased numbers of online visitors

08 February 2021

This Karamojong headrest from Uganda was one of more than 100 objects offered at Tribal Art London’s (TAL) online event, Spirit Animals. It was sold by tribal art specialist Kezhia Field for £450.

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Two 'exceptional' tribal vessels sold on the same day at different sales

18 January 2021

Two exceptional examples of ethnographic art – one from the north-west coast of America, the other for Polynesia – sold in the UK regions last month.

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Unesco ad campaign on looted art has ‘intention to mislead’

07 December 2020

A Unesco campaign aimed at increasing public awareness of looted art is threatening to backfire after it emerged the ‘stories’ told in its adverts were fabricated.

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Tribal show gets into the spirit

07 December 2020

Offered by Bryan Reeves of Tribal Gathering for £4200, this Luba baboon mask is one of more than 100 objects on offer at Tribal Art London’s third online event, Spirit Animals.

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