Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sowei Mask: Spirit of Sierra Leone

Sowei masks – unique to the region around Sierra Leone – are worn by senior members of the all-female Sande society during rite-of-passage ceremonies that signify a girl’s transition to adulthood. They are carved expressions of local ideals of feminine beauty, health and serenity that vary widely in their detail. [i]Sowei Mask: Spirit of Sierra Leone[/i], on view now at the British Museum, honors these marvelous creations with a showcase exhibition that explores their history and the development of their forms.

Visit the exhibition's official website.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

PAD 2013 - Paris

The seventeenth Pavillon des Arts et du Design will take place from March 27-31 in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris. The event aims to present the best of international achievement in the fields of design, decorative arts, and modern art. It will also offer aficionados of tribal art an exhibition in which four galleries in their field are taking part: Galerie Afrique, Grégory Chesne, Galerie Flak and Galerie Mermoz. 

For more information, please visit the official PAD website.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Treasures of the World's Cultures

Entering its final weeks at the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Boon is an exhibition that brings together more than 250 unique objects from the world-famous collections of the British Museum. Treasures of the World's Cultures - The Great Collections: The British Museum presents masterpieces from every part of the world and from every epoch, opening a window onto two million years of human culture and history and on the extraordinary wealth of the collections of the British Museum, built over the last 250 years.

Mask with nose ornament  -  Calima, Colombia  -  600–1500 CE

Seated figure of a Buddha  -  Burma (Myanmar)  -  18th century

Wedjat-eye amulet  -  Egypt  -   ca. 664–525 BCE

Information and images courtesy of the Kunst- und Austellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Native American and Pre-Columbian Art Auction

On March 25, auctioneers EVE will present two sales of ancient American art at the Hôtel Drouot in Paris. The first, smaller group of lots will highlight the Hopi art collection of Yves Berger, including a compelling range of katsina. The second sale will focus on sculptural and ceramic pre-Columbian art from Mexico to South America.

Information and images courtesy of EVE

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Le rire, l'horreur et la mort

This spring the Musée du Quai Branly is presening Le rire, l'horreur et la mort, an exhibition that showcases a selection of posters painted for video clubs that have proliferated in Ghana since the 1980s. These posters illustrate the extraordinary development of film and especially video that accompany and portray the social, urban and technological transformation of the country, between Accra and Kumasi and into rural areas. Other Ghanaian images relating to death are also on view, including ancient Akan funerary heads and incredibly whimsical modern coffins.

View the exhibition's official website.

Information and images courtesy of the Musée du Quai Branly

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Barbier-Mueller Collection at Sotheby's

On March 22 & 23, selections from the exquisite Barbier-Mueller Collection of Pre-Columbian Art will be offered at Sotheby's Paris. Formerly held by the Museu Barbier-Mueller d'Art Precolombí in Barcelona, these masterpieces of ancient American art will now find new homes at auction. Featuring over 300 lots, the sale will offer an astonishing array of works in stone, metal, and ceramic from traditional cultures stretching from Mexico to Peru. A few highlights from the sale can be found below. For complete information on this momentous auction, view the official online catalogue at the Sotheby's website.

Figure of Chalchiuhtlicue, Goddess of Water  -  Aztec, Mexico  -  1300–1521 AD

Female figure with stepped-cross motifs  -  Chupicuaro, Mexico  -  ca. 400 BC

Seated figure  -  Olmec, Mexico  -  900–600 BC

Information and images courtesy of Sotheby's

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ethiopian Processional Cross

In Ethiopia, the cross as a Christian symbol has been developed with more variety of form than anywhere else in the world. The first crosses known in Ethiopia were probably imported from early Christian Egypt around 400 A.D., but the motif eventually took on aesthetics not found elsewhere in Christian culture. This was due to familiar symbols such as the triangle, circle, and also the cross already being in use in pagan belief systems, as well as the special way in which the Abyssinian church absorbed the influences of both its Judaic roots and artistic ideas from Persia, Armenia, and the Islamic world.

This beautiful medieval cross, which is of the processional type, was exquisitely cast with rounded, echoing forms, and would have been held aloft as the finial of a staff or pike. A native repair has been made with the application of metal wire.

For more information on this object and many, many more, please visit us at:

Metal, wire
13th–14th century
H: 8"
Collected by Joseph Knopfelmacher in Ethiopia in the 1970's

Friday, March 8, 2013

TEFAF Maastricht 2013

An event not to be missed by connoisseurs of art and antiques, The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), running March 15–24, will feature scores of international art dealers presenting an unimaginable range of works from all world regions and time periods. A strong presence from the world of tribal art will be provided at the venerable Maastricht fair by Anthony Meyer, Entwistle, Alain Schoffel, Bernard de Grunne, Galerie 1492, and Lucas Ratton. 

Visit the official TEFAF website.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sahara at the Museo delle Culture

In its final weeks at the Museo delle Culture in Lugano, Switzerland is an entrancing exhibition dedicated to the Swiss photographer Peter W. Häberlin (1912 - 1953) and is the seventh project of the “Esovisioni” exhibition cycle. This cycle is a long-term project of the Museo delle Culture with the objective to define a sort of “map” describing how the West has viewed (and judged) the Other. 
During their research, the museum staff unearthed the traces of Häberlin’s life through the diaries and accounts of his friends, travelling companions and remaining relatives. After two years of intense collaboration with the Swiss Foundation of Photography in Winterthur, the exhibition presents a rich selection of first prints, which were developed from the negatives conserved at the aforementioned Foundation.

Häberlin made his trans-Saharan reportage between 1949 and 1952: a vast series of photographs from four journeys, through which he followed the ancient caravan routes from Algiers, crossing the Saharan desert until he reached the North of Cameroon. Shortly after returning from his last trip, Häberlin died in a tragic accident in 1953, in the midst of his preparations for a new voyage to Mexico. 

Information and images courtesy of the Museo delle Culture, Lugano

Friday, March 1, 2013

Kastom: Art of Vanuatu

Vanuatu is very different from other Pacific nations. Traditional practices known as Kastom remain strong even after a century of dual colonial religious influences. Kastom: Art of Vanuatu presents for the first time the unique collection of arts from this area held by the National Gallery of Australia. In the early 1970s the Gallery contracted an agent to field collect in Vanuatu resulting in the acquisition of nearly two hundred works, a selection of which will be accompanied by other important works from the NGA's Vanuatu collection. 

Information and images courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia