On The Square

Rich Artistic History in African Art at Leland Little

By Bidsquare

Aug 30,2016 | 17:00 EDT

Leland Little Auctions’ Fall sale is set down for Friday, September 9, and with nearly six hundred lots ready to go under the hammer, including jewelry, fine art, modernism, fine silver, Asian art, couture, Antique furniture and ceramics & pottery, demand is sure to be strong. Of special interest however, especially for collectors of indigenous art, are the 143 lots of African art sure to kick off the sale with a real bang.

On offer is a stunning range of pieces from countries across Africa. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or looking to get started, this is a gilt-edged opportunity to savor the rich artistic history of the planet’s oldest continent. Africa’s history is the history of civilization, be sure to take a look!

Lot 63 is comprised of two stunning bronze masks attributed to the Senufo people, a tribe of about one and a half million people spread across the Ivory Coast, Mali and Burkina Faso. The Senufo spirituality is based on the god and goddess principals, with their powerful god, Koulotiolo, and goddess mother, Katielo, regenerating the world through the rituals of the Poro society.

From Nigeria comes Lot 87 - two sets of Yoruba Ibedji twin figures. In Yoruba culture twins are believed to be magical, and are protected by a deity named Shango. If a twin should die, it represents bad fortune for the parents and the society to which they belong. The parents therefore commission a babalawo to carve an ibeji to represent the deceased twins, and the parents take care of the figure as if it were a real person.

Malis Bamana people credit the discovery of agriculture to the hero Chi-Wara, a half antelope, half human figure born from the union of the sky goddess Mousso Koroni and an earth spirit in the shape of a cobra. The Chi-Wara came to earth to teach humans to sow crops, and thus is honored at both sowing and harvest festivals. Lot 10, four Bamana Chi-Wara antelope and calf head pieces, was born of this legend.

Liberia became Africa’s first independent republic in 1847, with a constitution modelled after that of the United States. Lot 37 comprises of two masks by the Kran, one of the nations largest and most politically active tribes. Many Krahn believe that objects have spirits or souls. It is also believed that the natural world is made up of spirits, referred to as “bush spirits.” These spirits are part of the world untouched by man - keeping these spirits appeased is vital to the health of the tribe.

A large percentage of the African art in this sale emenates out of West Africa, and these three water vessels, selling as Lot 139, offer a fascinating insight into the daily lives of the people who have inhabited the region. The first is made of clay, with cowrie decoration, wooden lid and ladle; the second a basket encased in clay waterproofing, and the third a wooden pot within a leather wrap. 

Leland Little Auctions Fall sale is set down for Friday, September 9 and contains 575 expertly curated lots covering a host of fascinating categories.