Webb's has been appointed by a US museum to manage the return of a significant collection of Maori, Australian Aboriginal and Oceanic pieces to the South Pacific region. Exceptional examples of sculpture, traditional dress and adornment, weaponry, ceremonial clubs, and other forms of indigenous art from Aotearoa and the broader Oceania area will be offered. The event also gives collectors the opportunity to consider a selection of African art of exceptional provenance from private Australasian, European and North American collections.
The viewing will be from June 11 through June 16, 2010. The auction itself on Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 4PM.
Lot 344a from the Sale:
Important Pou-Tokomanawa – Ancestral Totem - Architectural Element
A highly prestigious form of ancestral carving, the pou-tokomanawa supported the central pole of the meeting house (pou-koukou-aro) at the base and signalled the delineation between entry and exit. As an ancestral totem, the pou-tokomanawa often represents celebrated traits of important leaders and thinkers. This pou-tokomanawa is carved with a firm muscular stance and an unflinching, confident, relaxed expression. Holding a patu in the right hand, denoting his knowledge of martial arts, and his left hand resting equally on the stomach. The torso is accentuated by its strong round shoulders and the simplicity of the form are both typical of the carving style of the North Island, east coast region. There is evidence of a piupiu having been previously attached. During the late 19th century, as Western sensibilities influenced concepts of social decorum and prestige, the addition of piupiu and cloaks to ancestral figures became increasingly common. The patina suggests significant age with remnants of early trade paint, heat damage and weather exposure evident. The base of the figure has deteriorated which is common given that this architectural form rested on the ground. The moko is prestigious with triple hae hae forms and complex rarua spirals evident on the upper and lower quarters of the nose and cheeks. The four extending forehead rays are also in triple haehae form. The stability of the wood is generally good, however the head, used to support the meeting house, carries a support cavity and is split. Later addition of mounting 19th century nails at the base still in place. Contemporary application of white paint to eyes. The Y registration form states that the object was found amongst the sand dunes of Gisborne during the 1950s and was then gifted to a member of the current owner’s family. H782mm W313mm. Y14046.
$40,000 - $80,000