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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Collection of husband-and-wife artistic duo Stieglitz and O'Keeffe sells in New York

30 March 2020

Works by artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) and her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864- 1946), were the chief focus of a sale held by Sotheby’s (25/20/13.9% buyer’s premium) in New York.

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Only existing drawing of Benin from before 1890 in demand at auction

02 March 2020

Several surprises emerged in the tribal art sale held by Cologne auction house Lempertz (24% buyer’s premium) in a recent sale held in Brussels.

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Stieglitz’s African spoons emerge at Sotheby's

17 February 2020

In 1914 Western interest in African art was in its infancy. When these two wooden anthropomorphic spoons were shown as part of an exhibition of African wood statuary at the photographer Alfred Stieglitz’s New York gallery in that year it represented a key moment.

Grusenmeyer hippo

BRAFA 2020: Eight stands that caught our eye

30 January 2020

BRAFA art fair in Brussels opened to the public earlier this week following several private views that kicked-off the event.

Pacific North West chest

Lucie Rie bowl, LS Lowry lithograph and a Native American chest – six auction highlights that caught bidders’ eyes in the last week

24 January 2020

ATG’s selection of hammer highlights this week includes a Lucie Rie bowl that sold for over five times estimate and a rare Native American cedar chest that made over 35-times estimate.

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Luba staff brings New Year cheer at Gildings’ auction

13 January 2020

Catalogued simply as an ‘African ceremonial tribal spear’ and estimated at £200-300, a Luba staff of office sold for an unexpected £18,500 (plus 15% buyer’s premium) at Gildings’ first sale of the new year in Market Harborough.

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Australasian artefacts sell at Tennants

06 January 2020

Australasia provided the talking points and two main buyers at the recent Tennants (20% buyer’s premium) specialist sale in the Yorkshire Dales.

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Thirty dealers in attendance at London's specialist textiles and tribal art event

04 November 2019

Thirty of the top textiles and tribal art dealers will be exhibiting at the 'London Antique Textiles & Tribal Art Fair' at the Hilton Olympia in Kensington High Street on Sunday, November 10.

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Post rarity delivers a £24,000 result

28 October 2019

Having stood at Guernsey airport from 1946-81, the island post box shown below came out of storage in 1988 for presentation to the late politician and lawyer Roger Perrot who died earlier this year.

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Pick of the week: Polynesian war club is a big hit in Salisbury

30 September 2019

A tribal war club from the Marquesas Islands with textbook provenance has sold for £71,000 at Woolley & Wallis. The u’u (head club) came for sale at the Salisbury saleroom from the descendants of an early-19th century missionary.

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Eclectic sales at London’s 12th tribal gathering

16 September 2019

A Madonna and Child sculpture from 19th century Luba culture in the Democratic Republic of Congo was among the sales at Tribal Art London, where the theme was Mother, Muse and Maker.

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Social media storm stops Maori cloak auction

09 September 2019

Sussex auction house Burstow & Hewett has withdrawn a rare Maori cloak after its imminent sale was met by online threats and abuse.

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Latest sales at London’s tribal gathering

09 September 2019

Dealer Ian Shaw sold this Tutsi shield, made of lightweight wood with natural pigment and offered for £13,000, to an interior designer from Denmark at last week’s 'Tribal Art London' fair.

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PAD London: The prime design destination

09 September 2019

This Mayfair event provides an eclectic selection for professionals and public alike

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Latest edition of Tribal Art London focuses on female representations in this field

19 August 2019

An example of a 'ngaady a mwaash' mask made by the Bushoong Kuba peoples is among the large offering of female-themed items at the next staging of 'Tribal Art London' (TAL).

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Aboriginal weapons saved from a skip now sell at auction

15 July 2019

Saved at the last minute from a skip, a collection of Aboriginal weapons drew worldwide interest at Martel Maides’ sale in St Peter Port, Guernsey.

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How Paris comes back to life after the long summer break

08 July 2019

'La Biennale Paris' and 'Parcours des Mondes' bring the dealing scene in the French capital back to life after summer slumbers, while auction houses also rise to the occasion. We take an early glimpse at what will be on offer for the visitor in September.

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Go fishing for tribal art in Landshut auction

01 July 2019

Numerous tribes inhabit the Cross River state of south-eastern Nigeria, close to the border with Cameroon. Animals of many kinds play a major part in the myths and religions of the area.

Baule mask

Sale of dealer’s collection of African art led by rare mask at Sotheby’s

22 June 2019

Sotheby’s chalked up a premium-inclusive total of just under €11.5m (£10.25m) when it sold the Marceau Rivière collection of African art in Paris.

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Meet the ‘last living Surrealist’ – Desmond Morris on painting and collecting

10 June 2019

Desmond Morris on his many lives as a zoologist, painter, author and collector

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