19th-century Murik mask among highlights in Heritage Ethnographic Art Auction
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19th-century Murik mask among highlights in Heritage Ethnographic Art Auction
An Exceptional Murik Mask, brag sebug. Murik Lagoon, Coastal Sepik River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, c. mid-19th century.



DALLAS, TX.- An exceptional Murik mask from Papua New Guinea and a magnificent Taino Cohoba Stand from the Dominican Republic each could bring $80,000 or more when they are sold in Heritage Auctions’ Ethnographic Art: American Indian, Pre-Columbian and Tribal Art Signature® Auction July 8.

The sale includes exceptional offerings from a number of categories, including beautiful Navajo weavings, eye-catching jewelry, Anasazi pottery and pre-Columbian gold and jade.

“This is a fantastic auction, with more than 600 lots, enough to appeal to a wide array of collectors,” says Delia Sullivan, Ethnographic Art Director and American Indian Specialist at Heritage Auctions. “The popularity of Ethnographic Art has grown steadily, and we are extremely excited to have been selected to help some magnificent items find new homes.”

The mid-19th-century Murik Mask, brag sebug (estimate: $60,000-80,000) is from the Murik Lagoon of the Coastal Sepik River, and is as impressive in size – it measures just under 23 inches high – as it is in aesthetic appearance. The warrior spirit mask has a rich history of owners, coming to Heritage from an important private New York Collection, and once a part of the collection of Dr. Edmund Muller of Bromunster, Switzerland, who collected art brought back from expeditions in the 19th century. Muller was known for his eye for quality and authenticity during the early years of collecting tribal art in Europe.

The Dominican Taino Cohoba Stand (estimate: $60,000-80,000) has been dated to the mid-15th century through radiocarbon testing at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign – the results of which are included with this lot. The stellar preservation of this stand suggests that it has been carefully housed for centuries. Many Taino sculptures have been recovered from caves, and the absence of burial evidence suggests this magnificent stand also ended up in a cave. This stand originally was collected by Wilfred Belmar in the 1930s, until he moved with his collection to Tobago. After his death in 1980, this stand was among the items from his collection passed down through his family.

Also among the highlights in the sale is a stunning Cree Quilled Hide Pouch, c. 1800-1850 (estimate: 40,000-60,000), made with blue and black wool trade cloth, natural and dyed porcupine quills, glass seed beads and cotton cloth. The pouch is accompanied by an old paper tag with a pencil inscription that reads, “This Indian bag was made by the squaws and used by Titian R. Peale during Longs 1st Rocky Mountain Expedition in 1819 & 20.” Peale was a scientific illustrator, naturalist and explorer from Philadelphia whose scientific surveys included the 1817 expedition of the Academy of Natural Sciences to Florida and Georgia, as well as the 1819-20 Yellowstone Expedition.

Pre-Columbian gold is well-represented with 15 lots, including a rare set of Twelve Rare Tolima Gold Pendants (estimate: $30,000-50,000). Graduated from large to small, these “jumping jack” pendants were made from gold alloy by both the Calima and Tolima cultures of ancient Colombia; the Tolima examples tend to be more naturalistic. There is one related, larger jumping jack pendant in the Museo de Oro in Bogota.

Also offered is a Rare Peruvian Recuay Gold Headdress, c. 100 BC-500 AD (estimate: $20,000-30,000). These 16 sheet gold figures likely were made during the Recuay culture, between the ancient Chavin and later Moche of coastal Peru. The figures likely were tied together through small holes at the bottom to create a crown or headdress.

Other Pre-Columbian Gold in the auction includes, but is not limited to:

· A Superb Darien Gold Pendant from Northern Colombia/Panama, c. 700-1400 AD (estimate: 18,000-22,000)

· A Diquis Gold Necklace with Bird Pendant and Smaller Pendant from Costa Rica, c. 700-1400 AD (estimate: $8,000-12,000)




The auction includes jade items, including an Olmec Jade Figure (estimate: $50,000-70,000) that comes from a private collection in Los Angeles and previously was displayed in the William Siegel Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With arms crossed over its chest, this figure is drilled through the ears and under the arms for suspension. The opaque speckled light blue-green jade also features drilled indentations by the corners of the mouth for inlay.

All told, the auction includes 22 jade lots. Other highlights include, but are not limited to:

· A Superb Olmec Jade Maskette, Mexico, c. 1000 BC-500 AD (estimate: $20,000-30,000)
· A Maya Ornament, Mesoamerica, Late Classic Period, 600 - 900 AD (estimate: $12,000-14,000)
· An Olmec/Maya Jade Bead Necklace, Mesoamerica, c. 500 BC-300 AD (estimate: $8,000-12,000)

The sale includes an exceptional selection of 69 Navajo weavings, including an extraordinary Navajo Late Classic Man’s Serape, c. 1875 (estimate: $18,000-22,000). This magnificent example, with color that has remained vibrant for nearly a century and a half, measures 71-3/4 by 50-1/2 inches. Originally from Colorado, it comes from a private New York collection.

Other Navajo weavings in the auction include, but are not limited to:

· A Navajo Late Classic Child's Blanket, c. 1875 (estimate: $8,000-12,000)
· A Navajo Regional Rug, c. 1960 (estimate: $8,000-12,000)
· A Navajo Germantown Serape, c. 1880 (estimate: $7,000-10,000)

“The weavings in this auction are exceptional, from mantas to serapes to samplers,” says Sullivan. “Many of them are done in Germantown wool, tightly woven and bright in color, even after all these years.”

Pottery collectors have a wide variety from which to choose amid 82 lots offered in the event, including but not limited to:

· A Socorro Black-on-White Storage Jar, c. 950-1400 AD (estimate: $15,000-25,000)
· A Sikyatki Polychrome Bowl, c. 1300-1400 AD (estimate: $10,000-15,000)
· An Anasazi (McElmo) Black-on-White Storage Jar, c. 1075-1275 AD (estimate: $8,000-12,000)

Textile collectors also will be in the right place July 8, when they have a chance to acquire a Huari Textile from the Sihuas Valley in the Southern Mid-Highlands of the Peruvian Andes, c. 600-900 AD (estimate: $8,000-12,000). From a private New York collection, it measures 53-1/4 by 66-3/4 inches. The Nazca created the first examples of tie-dyed woven fabrics in the ancient Americas, using techniques later adopted by the Huari, who invaded the Nazca region and presumably had contact with the local weavers. In addition to their incredible beauty of color and design, Huari tie-dye fabrics are fascinating because of their complex method of construction, which involved weaving a pattern in sections, disassembly into individual parts for dying, and then re-assembly to produce the final color patterns.

Other Peruvian textiles featured in the sale include, but are not limited to:

· A Large Nazca Textile Panel, c. 200-400 AD (estimate: $5,000-7,000)
· A Huari Textile of Stylized Houses, c. 600-900 AD (estimate: $4,000-6,000)










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