The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Nouméa, 7 August 2013
Jean-Marc Ayrault is to restore Atai’s skull to New Caledonia, according to an article published in Journal des Arts. The decision was announced during the French Priminster’s recent 3-day visit to New Caledonia. The skull is a symbol of the Kanak Revolution of 1878, during which Atai was decpatitated by French colonisers. The skulls was then taken to Paris, where it was exhibited in Trocadero’s ‘Musée d’Ethnographie’, before joining the collections at the Musée de l’Homme.
Thought to have been stolen until 2011, the skull was rediscovered- at which point it was reclaimed by Atai représentatives. Commenting on the matter, Jean-Marc Ayrault stated “The position of the state is clear: yes this relic should be returned to New Caledonia, and it will be returned”. The promise comes 25 years after the Matignon agreements, with the restitution expected to take place in September 2014.
The event recalls a prior case which took place in France in 2011, regarding the restitution of a skull [.../...]See more
Paris, 19 July 2013
Survival International, an organisation that works to protect tribal peoples, has returned a mask taken from Arizona’s Hopi people, after it was controversially sold at Parisian auction house Drouot in 2013.
Lawyer Pierre Servan-Schreiber who acquired the piece via Drouot with the intention of returning it to the Hopi people, considers the restitution of the work as a small success in a much larger fight: “It is my way of telling the Hopi that we only lost a battle and not the war. I am convinced that in the future, those who believe that not everything should be up for sale will prevail. In the meantime, the Hopi will not have lost everything since two of these sacred objects have been saved from being sold.”
For the Hopi people, the commercialisation of these sacred works, and their presentation in public, is hugely offensive. Survival International requested that the sale be suspended, though the demand was repeatedly denied by the Parisian crown court, and a sale of the works was [.../...]See more
Dallas, 11 June 2013
The Dallas Museum of Art has announced the publication of a catalogue dedicated entirely to its collection of art from Southeast Asian islands, along with a celebratory week beginning on 11 June 2013.
The publication features works from Indonesia, Eastern Malaysia and Eastern Timor. Entitled ‘Eyes of the Ancestors: The Arts of Island Southeast Asia at the Dallas Museum of Art’, it is the third in a series of shows which aim to inform a the public about this section of the museum’s permanent collection.
The catalogue follows a 2009 edition entitled ‘The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art’, and an exhibition which took place earlier this year entitled ‘The Arts of India, Southeast Asia and the Himalayas at the Dallas Museum of Art’.
The catalogue has 336 illustrated pages highlighting around 105 artworks issued from the DMA collection, and will be on sale from July 2013. It is edited by anthropologist Reimar Schefold in collaboration with writer and consultant Steven [.../...]See more
Amsterdam, 5 April 2013
After a decade of works, the National Museum in Holland is to reopen on 13 April 2013. On the occasion, Indians ask for one space devoted exclusively to Indian art.
Raja Zed, an Indian politician and President of the Universal Society of Hinduism stated that “it would be a step in the good direction. Starting a dialogue in the common effort to bring peace, confidence and coherence in the global community would help to fight misunderstandings.” He explained that Hinduism has a long and rich tradition and Sanskrit literature is full of paintings, engravings and other forms of art. He added that Indian heritage should be shared with the rest of the world. The Rijksmuseum should also organise more often exhibitions encompassing Indian art. The museum owns a vast collection of Indian artifacts, including sculptures, paintings and photographs of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, Rama, Ganesha, Lakshmi, Durga, Hanuman, Indra, Yama; some of these depictions date from the 21st century BC.
In the heart of the museum, there is a [.../...]See more
New York, 12 March 2013
The family of tribal art dealer Merton D. Simpson (American, 1928-2013) has released a statement confirming that Mr. Simpson passed away on March 9 in New York City. He was 84.
With an acclaimed "eye" for spotting exceptional art and a career as an art dealer that spanned more than 50 years, Merton D. Simpson was one of the world's most respected African and tribal art dealers.
He was instrumental in helping individuals and institutions build comprehensive, culturally significant collections around the globe.
The family of Merton D. Simpson will issue a formal announcement soon with details about a memorial celebration to honor Merton Simpson.
Tombouctou, 30 January 2013
The Guardian reports on 28 January 2013 Islamic rebels, who fled before the French troops in Tombouctou, might have destroyed another thousands historical manuscripts.
According to the Mayor of Tombouctou, they burnt down last Sunday several buildings, including the City Hall and two libraries housing exceptional cylinders, some dating from the 13th century. One of the two buildings might be the Ahmad Babu Institute, a new research centre dedicated to Saharian studies, equipped since 2009 for the study and conservation of fragile manuscripts.
These manuscripts had been conserved, hidden by families, for centuries. During the 1960s, between 60 and 80 private libraries had thus been established by the citizens of Tombouctou. These cylinders, written in Arabic and in African dialects, covered subjects as varied as poetry, medicine and music. They are a cornerstone of the Saharian cultural heritage.
Devon, 16 January 2013
A rare Buddhist carved stone temple step from the Anuradhapura Period, since it resembles those found in the city of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, was found by Bonhams in a garden of a Devon bungalow and will be sold in the Indian and Islamic sale in London on 23 April.
This magnificent work of art featuring a cow and other animals is estimated to attract bids in excess of €36,000. The beautiful 1,000 year old pre-Hindu stone step is one of only six examples known to date from this period, making this discovery the seventh. It features a curved procession of animals including lions, horses, elephants, birds and Brahim cows.
Sam Tuke of Bonhams in Exeter, England, said of the discovery that he had met the client and that she mentioned she had a large slab of carved granite coming form her mothers house, She said she “loved running her fingers around the animals carved into the stone.” Since the 1950’s the [.../...]See more
Geneva, 15 january 2013
Art Media Agency met with Dr Kilian Anhauser, who gracefully answered our questions about conservation and restoration problems.
Art Media Agency: Could you tell us of your career so far? What led you to study the ageing processes of artworks?
Dr Kilian Anhauser: As a Chemistry student, I was already interested in art history and the materiality of the works. As a consequence, I chose to study gilding and silvering on metal techniques for my dissertation. In this work, I combined historical study of ancient techniques and scientific analysis of archaeological and historical items, along with an actual work of recreation of ancient gilding and silvering. After a post-doctorate at the Berlin Museums’ scientific laboratory, I was appointed lecturer in Conservation Science at the Cardiff University in 1998. I taught the variety of materials present in cultural objects, and the physical and chemical mechanisms responsible for their deterioration. This course was intended for students in conservation/restoration and archaeology. In 2003 I [.../...]See more
Chicago, 19 December 2012
Popol Vuh is a sacred book written by the Mayas. Both spiritual and psychological, it explains how gods brought life on Earth and how they later destroyed the humans they had made of wood and clay to praise them — since they weren’t able to procreate.
“Before the creation of the Earth, there was only silence and darkness, only the sky and the sea until the Tepeu and Gucumatz gods created trees, animals and man” says Popol Vuh, also called “Book of Advice” or “Book of Community”. Its origin remains a mystery and its existence was not known until 1701. Historians do not know the author of the original version, but it is thought to have been first written in Quiche language by Christianised Indians, in the middle of the 16th Century. Later on, Spanish priest Francisco Ximenez translated it into Spanish in 1701. The manuscript is currently exhibited at the Newberry Library in Chicago.
Popol Vuh is considered a source of Maya identity, through the themes of religion, mythology, history, astrology, customs and legends. Because [.../...]See more
Paris, 10 December 2012
Kichizo Inagaki was a Japanese cabinetmaker who rubbed shoulders with famous artists and collectors of his time, yet he remained unknown to his descendants. He was renowned for his sophisticated stands for African and Oceanian art and was very popular during the 20th Century in Paris.
Kichizo Inagaki was born in 1876, in the village of Murakami (Niigata prefecture, Honshu island, Japan). His father was an artisan and carpenter at the Royal Palace, known for his sculptures and fluency with lacquer art as well as ikebana. Kichizo went to study in Tokyo but after the death of his father he returned to his village. Soon he proved artistic abilities and mastery in traditional arts. He participated in numerous contests: in 1894 he took the second place at a sculpture contest and in 1899 he obtained third prize at the National Contest for lacquer masters.
Kichizo was more and more tempted to return to Tokyo in order to finish his studies. Become the head of the family at the death of his father, his [.../...]See more