African Art: a prestigious Swiss collection

Milan, Wednesday 14 October 2020


Ogoni, region near the Niger delta (Nigeria)

Wood painted in black and white
H 18.5 cm
Mask with a moveable jaw.
Place of collection: district of Bonny, eastern end of the river delta. In this sculpture, a cord still holds the two parts together. In the internal part of the jaw, there is a long wire of thin vegetable plates, measuring 5cm long, fixed into the wood like teeth. Vertical square scarification, painted in black, is also visible on the temples.


€ 5.000 - 6.000

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- Former Serge Brignoni collection (Chiasso 1903 - Bern 2002) see lot 43;
- Former private collection (Lugano);


- Lugano 2002, Palazzo Riva, Banca Svizzera Italiana (BSI);


Reproduced in:
- VENTURI LUCA M. “Anime antiche, arte negra, da una raccolta di sculture dell’Africa occidentale” BSI Bank, Lugano 2002, fig. 74a;

- EYO EKPO “Two thousand years Nigerian Arts”, Lagos 1977, pages 196 and 212;
- FAGG WILLIAM “Masques d’Afrique dans les Collections du Musée Barbier-Mueller”, Geneva 1980, pag. 88;

The Ogoni are a small ethnic group that lives on the delta of the river Niger, east of Port Harcout in Rivers State. They call themselves the Kana. They are culturally linked to the great Ibibio group, with whom they share the same language and many indigenous traditions.This group’s masks, which are normally small, are characterised by the moveable jaw. They are used during commemoration ceremonies for ancestors and were worn on the head of the dancer, hidden from the sight of those present under a cloak made of fibres.


African Art

Via Paolo Sarpi, 6 - milano
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