Fine and Rare Kwele Mask, Gabon

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 9
Fine and Rare Kwele Mask, Gabon

Sold for US$ 100,000 inc. premium

African & Oceanic Art

2 Dec 2015, 10:00 PST

Los Angeles

Fine and Rare Kwele Mask, Gabon
booang
Wood, kaolin, pigments
height 20in (51cm)

PROVENANCE
Field collected ca. 1920 by a French railway engineer by the name of Mr. Courtois
Dr. Deak, a medical officer in Brazzaville, ca. 1920-25
George Oltay, South Africa, acquired from the above circa 1950
Henri Kamer, Paris and New York
Dolores Kamer Budd

PUBLISHED
Arts D'Afrique Noire, no. 18, 1976, cover

EXHIBITED
Institute for the Study of Man in Africa, Johannesburg, 1963
"Art of Africa", catalog no. 194, Pretoria Art Gallery, Arcadia, Pretoria, South Africa, March 1970

"The rare masks of the Kwele, a little-investigated ethnic group of northeast Gabon and the adjacent area of the Republic of Congo, are associated with the Bwete association, which maintains social order. The masks are also used in initiation rites and at the end of periods of mourning. Representing benevolent forest spirits, they have zoomorphic or anthropomorphic traits, or a combination of the two. The faces are usually painted in white kaolin earth, a pigment associated by the Kwele with light and clarity, the two essential factors in the fight against evil.

Only a few of these masks [such as the present one] have eye slits and are thus suitable for wearing as a face mask. As field research has shown, however, the masks used in ceremonies had no eye apertures and were merely shown to the onlookers rather than being worn.

The meaning of the masks with a human face and curved horns is not known. They have been interpreted as representing antelopes (by Louis Perrois) or rams (by Leon Siroto), but no explanation of the underlying belief system was given." (Hahner, Iris, et. al., African Masks; The Barbier-Mueller Collection, 2007: p.69)
Contacts
Fine and Rare Kwele Mask, Gabon
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins and Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, Wine & Whisky

27.5% on the first $3,000 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of $3,000 up to and including $400,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of $400,000 up to and including $4,000,000;
and 13.9% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of $4,000,000.

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.