African and Oceanic Art

Exceptional Jewellery


The sale of African and Oceanic art on 5 April at Lempertz Brussels includes an exceptionally large group of items from the Yoruba of Nigeria.

A group of six fine gelede masks (lots 99, 100, 101, € 4/6,000 each) were purchased in Nigeria close to the Benin border and were sold to enable the village to commission new masks. Amongst more than twenty lots of Yoruba twin figures are some rare and exceptional examples (lots 70– 94, up to € 3,000).

A fine Lega mask (lot 179, € 2,500 – 3,500) is one of a group of items from the collection of the artist Josef Herman, best known for his paintings of miners and also for his collection of miniature African carvings. Also from the Congo are three further highlights of the sale: two fine Luba stools (lot 161, € 10/15,000 and lot 168, € 15/20,000) and a Kusu female figure for € 18/22,000 (lot 174).

Of special interest is an exceptional group of ivory bracelets from the Congo, Cameroon and various other regions of Africa with beautiful golden or dark patinas from decades of use, which were acquired by the renowned English dealer, John Hewett (lots 190 – 204). Highlight of this group is a 19 cm large ivory bracelet from Sudan, probably Shilluk, estimated at 3/5,000 Euro (lot 193).
A further top piece of the sale is a 40.5 cm high Chokwe figure from Angola/Democratic Republic of the Congo for 15/20,000 Euro (lot 183). From the Congo also comes a Hemba figure estimated at 8/12,000 Euro (lot 162), which also is the estimate for a pair of Chamba figures (lot 123).

A group of rare Oceanic jewellery also once owned by John Hewett includes a Marshall Islands necklace (lot 241, € 1/1,500) formerly in the Museum für Völkerkunde in Hamburg and a chief’s necklace from Fiji with large Spondylus shell on finely woven human hair strung with coloured beads (lot 244, € 800/1,200).

John Hewett was also the source for a small group of objects, which were in the Pitt Rivers Museum in the nineteenth century; a coral and cornelian bead necklace from Benin City in Nigeria, said to have been worn by the Oba (king) of Benin (lot 97, € 1,3/1,500), and a small stone figure from Sierra Leone, which was buried in the fields to ensure crop fertility (lot 24, € 600/800).


Lega Mask
Wood, H 24,5 cm
Prov.: Galerie Menist Amsterdam; Josef Herman, London
: € 2.500 – 3.500,-

Yoruba, Female Twin Figure
Wood, H 27.5 cm
Prov.: Gerd Stoll, Munich; Prof. Heinrich Plester (1929 – 2006), Gladbach, Germany
: € 800 – 1.200,-




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