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Friday 14 July 2017
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The Tribal Art of Conversation

By Sara Morel

West Sussex UK - Summers Place Auctions' June sale saw the beginning of a new series to appeal to the increasing taste for Tribal Art and Travel. The Billingshurst-based business has been leading the field of garden statuary and sculpture auctions for over a decade and established themselves in natural history in 2013 with their first Evolution Sale. Specialist Rupert van der Werff said the popularity of tribal art and travel-related pieces from both regular and first time buyers inspired the dedicated feature. Garden statuary such as an Italian carved marble shepherd girl circa 1900, signed A.Cipriani sold for 4000, while a Dayak tribe carved human skull surpassed the estimate of 2000-3000 and sold for 6200. Many more affordable tribal art lots also add to their appeal, such as the range of 56 lots from Papua New Guinea, collected by a missionary stationed there before and after the Second World War that sold for between 50 to 620. Amongst the lots of figures, carved wooden food hooks, instruments and masks, were two sets of painted terracotta Sago pots reminiscent of Picasso ceramics. A pair of rare Japanese bronze cranes from the Meiji Period (1868-1912) sold for 10000. Respected throughout the East as a symbol of peace, good fortune, longevity and fidelity. Unusually, this pair also stand on mythical turtles. A crane is also the emblem of the Salvo Code for good practice in stock purchasing to which Summers Place Auctions subscribe, and have been long term supporters with James Rylands being on the establishing committee in 1993 when he was working for Sotheby's. Highlights of tribal art from the Americas included a pair of beaded buckskin moccasins from the Sioux Tribe, South Dakota, circa 1870, which sold for 1400. Perhaps it helps to see a person's shoes to appreciate their travels? The Sioux used all parts of the animals they killed. Nothing was wasted. Perhaps popularity for pieces that portray traditional ways of life are inevitable as we seek escape through art, fashion and interiors, which have all found tribal motifs a source of inspiration. Investments in fashion, art and interiors, are often conversation pieces, so it is easy to understand a taste for history and personality with tribal and travelled pieces that do the talking for you.

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