A Navajo Man's Wearing Blanket could vie for top-lot honors in Heritage Auctions
' Ethnographic Art Auction Nov. 20, an event buoyed by two elite private collections.
"This is an exceptionally well-rounded sale," Heritage Auctions Ethnographic Art Director Delia Sullivan said. "We have a strong selection of Plains beadwork, Pueblo pottery, Pre-Columbian gold, jade and high-end textiles, many from an outstanding New York collection. There are numerous opportunities here for collectors of all levels and all tastes."
The Navajo Man's Wearing Blanket Second Phase Chief's Pattern (estimate: $30,000-50,000) is a Late-Classic weaving, circa 1870. Created with native handspun and raveled wool, indigo, aniline and cochineal dyes, the lot is accompanied by two dye tests.
The event includes more than 250 lots from the Collection of L.D. Bax, an avid collector of American Indian art whose passion grew when, as a boy in the early 20th century, he received a gift of a beaded watch fob from an Apache man. Bax was successful as a businessman, inventor and cattle rancher, but it was his collection of American Indian art, compiled from 1920-84, that brought his most significant notoriety. His was one of the largest and most exceptional private collections of American Indian art in the United States. Through his work, he visited reservations, where he particularly liked talking with the elders of various tribes.
His love of the artistry and his respect of Indian people and their culture spread to his family and generations of collectors, and objects from his collection were sought after and prized by art dealers, collectors and museums, and art he collected can be found in many museums across the United States. Some of the highlights from his collection in this auction include, but are not limited to:
A Crow or Nez Perce Beaded Hide Blanket Strip c. 1900 (estimate: $20,000-30,000)
A Plateau Beaded Hide Dress (estimate: $20,000-30,000)
A Nez Perce Beaded Hide Blanket Strip c. 1900 (estimate: $10,000-15,000)
A Blackfoot Beaded Buffalo Hide Knife Sheath and Knife c. 1880 (estimate: $10,000-15,000)
A Siguas Long Band or Sash (estimate: $35,000-45,000) is spectacular and largely intact, a wide sash with interlocking tapestry weave showing zig-zag step designs with multi-colored squares an Inca cross, human figures and animals with long tails. The sash is mounted to linen and enclosed in a Plexiglas box.
A Large Chancay Mantle (estimate: $25,000-30,000) is a Peruvian masterpiece dating to 1000-1460 A.D., a woven and embroidered camelid wool and cotton woven in two panels joined down the middle. The main body features intersecting diagonal lines of white and black squares, interrupted by red squares, creating a stepped diamond enclosing stepped cross in black and white, and the ends are trimmed in gold fringe. The fringed border at one end contains linear, abstract faces formed of interlocking triangles.
Other important weavings in the auction include but are not limited to a Large and Important Nazca/Wari Mantle (estimate: $22,000-28,000) with two fringed panels joined down the middle and adorned with a repeated pattern of stepped zig-zags in crimson, maroon and white; a Large and Spectacular Chimu Panel (estimate: $20,000-30,000) with 16 characteristic Chimu frontal personages, each with three fingers and toes and beautifully constructed from cubistic shapes in different colors and a monkey on each side of each figure; and a Nazca Tie Dyed Mantle (estimate: $15,000-20,000), with 16 joined panels of woven camelid fibers carefully tie-dyed in variegated reds, greens and one in dark brown.
Ernest Spybuck's Grass Dance (estimate: $25,000-35,000) is a beautiful watercolor on paper by the self-taught early 20th-century Shawnee artist whose work was received positively in and out of the Native American artistic community. His style has been called "Plains Flatstyle Representative" and often features local scenes of ceremonies, games, social gatherings and the home life with which he was familiar. Several of his works are in the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.
Other top lots include, but are not limited to:
A Post-Classic Maya Marble Vessel (estimate: $18,000-22,000)
A Shoshone Indian Painted Buffalo Hide by Cadzi Codi (estimate: $18,000-22,000) depicting a buffalo hunt