Lot 99A: Fine/Early 19th C. African Ibeji Wood Female Figure
27 October 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
West Africa, Yoruba culture, Ibeji, ca. 19th century CE. A very early carved ceremonial wooden figure depicting a nude female with breasts, gently protruding perhaps pregnant belly, and round buttocks, all indicative of her fertility. She stands on an integral base with arms at her sides and fingers pointing inward toward her womb. Notice the painstaking attention to details on this piece, from the elaborately carved coiffure painted with organic blue pigment to the expressive facial details comprised of almond-shaped eyes with lids and metal pupils, from the intricately incised scarification on her cheeks, to the nicely delineated slightly parted lips and perky nose, not to mention the stunning Yoruba glass beadwork adorning the figure's neck (large, cylindrical red and blue beads) and waist (three strands of black disk-shaped beads). Beads were a sign of status and wealth among the Yoruba. Additionally a strand of four cowrie shells adorn her left wrist. Quite rare to find an example with this much age as well as generous remains of red pigment on the body, cobalt blue pigment on the incised hair, and beautiful, lustrous patina. Size: 3" W x 7.25" H (7.6 cm x 18.4 cm)
Provenance: Ex - Adeon Gallery, Nick Poolos collection acquired before 1975
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Condition Report: Age cracks as shown. Nice patina from age and handling.