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Exhibitors Bryan Reeves - UK Cordelia Donohoe - UK David MalĂ­k - UK Emmanuel Ameloot - Belgium Frans Faber - Netherlands Ian Shaw - UK Jeremy Sabine - South Africa Kenn MacKay - UK Kezhia Orege - UK Mark Eglinton - USA

Rob Temple - Belgium Sam Handbury Madin - UK Tom Hurst - UK

Introduction Many indigenous communities across the globe have strikingly similar social structures whether monarchical, patriarchal or matriarchal in nature. Appointed leaders of the community are marked out to show their status and importance. It is the imaginative and unique artistic approach which each community and individual artist takes to convey this status that makes for the sensational range of objects in Tribal Capital.

The head, hands and torso are all a canvas for adornment; prized materials such as precious metals, shells, feathers and beads aggrandise the wearer. Ritual sculptures and masks are placed in sacred areas and the homes of high-ranking members of the community. Emblems and iconography carved or woven into prestige objects express birth right and the stretch of territory ownership.

Objects in this catalogue come with exemplary provenances and some have returned to the market for the first time having been in private collections for many years. This exhibition brings together the most valued possessions of high ranking members of indigenous societies and tells the story of their lives.


Fine 'deangle' mask. Dan people. Ivory Coast. Field collected in 1968 and circa 1950's or before. Ex private collection Germany. Hermann Sommerhage.Germany. H - 26 cm ÂŁ3800


www.tribalgatheringlondon.com art@tribalgatheringlondon.com

A group of six finely woven prestige baskets Barotose or Lozi people.Zambia Ranging in size from 14 cm - 30 cm in height All mid 20th century or before and in good condition and contrasting designs Ex private collection .UK ÂŁ1650 group


Large Ewe textile (section shown) Ghana or Togo C 1920-50. Worn by a high status man or chief POA

UNITED KINGDOM azulcord@gmail.com www.azultribe.com

Ashante, Kente Cloth (Section shown). Ghana C 1930 -50 208x308cm £750

D A V I D M A L Ă? K

Luba female pendant D.R. Congo 19th C. 8.5 cm Provenance: - ex Private collection, UK ÂŁ3500

UNITED KINGDOM david@davidmalikarts.com www.davidmalikarts.com

Luba power figure 'Kakuji' D.R. Congo Wood, beads, textile Early 20th C. 28cm Provenance: - Lucas Ratton, France POA


Ghana,Fanti (kanon,17.5cm high),Ashanti(palm blossom,14cm) hairpin high nobility (princess or queen) 22 carat gold 19th century POA.

BELGIUM emmanuel.ameloot@gmail.com

Buyu,Congo Shaba region chiefs throne 23.5cm high, Early 20th century POA


Winnowing tray Saramaka, Maroons, Suriname Wood, brass tacks Diameter: 62 cm, height: 8 cm First quarter 20th century £3000

NETHERLANDS fj.faber@planet.nl www.fransfaber.com

Tribal currency New Britain, Arawe Region, P.N.G. Mother of pearl, nassa shell, natural fiber, metal thread, wool Height: 20 cm, width: 15 cm 20th century Collected in situ by a Dutch family ÂŁ400


Ashante Kudo. Bronze 19th century. Excellent condition lid and handles intact. Height 17 cm x 11cm diameter Price ÂŁ780

UNITED KINGDOM i.shaw42@yahoo.com www.tribalartsandtextiles.com

A fine Royal Ashante food tasters spoon. 19th century Food tasters ladel. In perfect condition. 38 cm in length. Price ÂŁ980.00


Brass collar (lepetu) South sotho Mid-C19th A most rare example having four engravings of South Sotho (Basotho) battle shields POA

SOUTH AFRICA jeremysabine@gmail.com

Brass armband (ingxotha) Zulu C19th The most prestigious award given by the Zulu monarch to favoured members of his inner circle. POA


Recuay small spotted deer vessel, Pre-Columbian, northern highlands Peru, Recuay culture, ca. 200 to 600 CE. H16 xW10 cm Provence: Ex col Richard Darwin Keynes POA

UNITED KINGDOM info@tribalartantiques.com www.tribalartantiques.com

Ashanti Maternity figure Ghana A very finely carved seated maternity figure Ex French collection POA


Ewe men’s Cloth from Ghana.

19th century Measurements 262 cm x 162 cm POA

UNITED KINGDOM kezfields@gmail.com www.kezhiafields.com

Lozi Anthropomorphic Spoon- Lozi People, Zimbabwe 19th-20th Century Wood 25cm High Ex Philip Keith, UK £340


Luba-Shankad Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo Kinshasa) Southeastern Congo Stool, caryatid kiona/kihona Anthropomorphic female 42 (cm) Wood Private collection Schleswig-Holstein, Germany (1973) POA



Fang Gabon Wood, metal and brass 51cm Ex Jeff Hobbs, Wellington, NZ Ex Robert Bourden collection, Sheridan, WY Ex Merton Simpson, NYC, inv#. 6969 Ex Marceau Riviera, Paris POA


Chokwe prestige axe Inlaid the full length with studs and further embellished with wire decoration Angola 43.5cms long POA

BELGIUM info@robtemple.com www.robtemple.com

Luba prestige axe Head finial stylised coiffure and stud detail D.R. Congo 37.5cms long POA


Woven shell currency (wafu) Lumi highlands, Papua New Guinea Date: Mid 20th Century Condition: In good condition with a few shells missing in places Dimensions: 68 cm long x 18.5 cm wide Provenance: Ex private UK collection Price: £450.00

UNITED KINGDOM handburytribalart@gmail.com www.handburytribalart.com

Clam shell currency ring from The Solomon Islands Date: Late 19th / early 20th Century Condition: In good condition with some chips in places Dimensions: 10 cm diameter x 1.6 cm thickness Provenance: Ex private UK collection Price: ÂŁ350.00


A Rurutu Island spear club (Tao) Austral Islands Carved from ra'au (hardwood) 18th C Ex Captain Robert E Donneley collection 277.5cm long £7500

UNITED KINGDOM tomhurstantiques@gmail.com www.totallyoriginalmerchandise.com

A Senufo champion cultivator staff Ivory Coast First half of 20th Century Ex Michel Koenig, Brussels Pendarell (Pen) Kent 142.5cm long ÂŁ1750

Prestigious Alloy – the use of brass in South Africa. A brief introduction. by Jeremy Sabine

In Southern Africa objects of prestige included several items from the natural world. The skins of rare or dangerous animals, such as the leopard, feathers of ostrich, blue crane and lourie, among other rare or beautiful birds, tusks from elephant and hippo, and rhinoceros horn, the latter embodying the power of the animal in the object. Certain metals, especially copper and its alloy, brass, bore similar, or even greater prestige. Whilst deposits of copper are found in South Africa, brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, was imported in large quantities.

Figure 1

The Ndebele are a Nguni speaking group who from the seventeenth century, settled in an area occupied by Sotho groups and it is possible that they acquired the tradition of wearing metal ornaments from their neighbours. The Sotho wore single brass or copper neck rings, sometimes of considerable weight. These neck rings were worn by both men and women (Figure 2). The Southern Sotho, or Basotho, developed wider, flatter neck rings, called ‘lepetu’ which were worn by women, again denoting wealth and prestige. Figure 2

Today little copper or brass is worn except in the form of wire, usually wound round a core of animal tail hair and fashioned into armbands, leg bands and necklaces. However, elderly Ndebele women may still be seen wearing their ‘idzila’ – thin rings of copper or brass which have been affixed around neck, arms and legs at the time of their marriage. These rings are gifts from the husband which may be supplemented by further rings over time. They are never normally removed. The greater the They are wide, plain discs, very rarely number of rings the greater the husband’s decorated, sometimes with a slight downward wealth and the greater her prestige! (Figure 1) curve to rest on the shoulder, with a narrow

opening which will allow the neck to be removed if pulled apart by two strong men (Figure 3). This was rarely done, however as the prestige earned by the wearer far outweighed any discomfort. Brass ornaments were worn solely by the elite, but Moshoeshoe I, founder of the Basotho nation would award his finest warriors with the ‘khau’, a V-shaped brass breastplate which hung from the neck and was worn in battle and on ceremonial occasions.

Charles Rawden Maclean, who was among the first Europeans to encounter Shaka, noted that Zulus “were frequently seen adorned with brass balls of native manufacture”. These balls, called izindondo (sing: indondo) were large brass beads which could be worn singly or in multiples around the neck or sewn onto skin garments (Figure4). Like other brass ornaments, they were created in shallow moulds which had been hollowed in soft sandstone and into which the molten brass was poured. The other metal ornaments observed by early travellers were arm rings, worn above and below the elbow, and neck rings, sometimes in multiples of up to four.

Figure 4

It seems that it was in the reign of Dingane that that the final and most exclusive of the brass ornaments was introduced. This was the ingxotha – a wide flat plate of brass, shaped to encircle the right forearm and Figure 3 usually decorated with flutes (Figure 5) and, latterly amasumpa, or ‘warts’. Whereas Although the wearing of brass ornaments was brass neck rings could be, and were always a status symbol in South Africa, in the awarded to many servants of the king and Zulu kingdom under Shaka it signified royal indeed complete regiments for notable approval and favour. All trade in and out of the service, the ingxotha was only given to kingdom was controlled by the king (inkosi), those closest the king, members of his inner though with diminishing success by Shaka’s circle or, occasionally, the greatest warriors. successors, Dingane (1828-40), Mpande They were worn during the time of (1840-72) and Chetswayo (1872-84). Brass was celebration which lasted about three or four imported, mainly through Portuguese traders, in months from about December, the hottest crude bars or rings (umdaka). Expert smiths then time of year. Like other brass ornaments, transformed them into the required ornaments in a the wearer could suffer extreme discomfort, specific area attached to the royal kraals. so much so that young boys carried gourds

of water to pour over the blisters. To remove the ingxotha at the end of each season required the use of the “native pick” to force the sides apart, and the resulting bending and stretching accounts for the damage usually found on pieces in collections. There has been interest in the origin of the ingxotha as there appears to be no precursor. Archery was not practised by the Zulu and none of the neighbouring tribes seems to have worn anything like it. Perhaps it was developed from the multiple rings worn previously on the forearm. When Shaka sent his last envoys hoping to meet representatives of King George III, he requested various ‘presents’, among which was a request for “a brass plate to wear on his arm to extend from the wrist to the elbow …” Perhaps it was Shaka’s idea which was developed by his successor and assassin. Ingxotha ceased to be made after the defeat of the Zulus by the British in 1879 and by the end of the century brass smithing in Zululand was dead. Figure 5

References: Backhouse, J.: “Narrative of a Visit to the Mauritius and South Africa.” 1844. Reprint, Cambridge Library Collection. Gibson, J.: “The Story of the Zulus”. Longmans. London. 1911 Gray, S. (Ed).: “The Natal Papers of John Ross”. University of Natal. 1992 Kennedy, C.: “Prestige Ornaments: The use of Brass in the Zulu Kingdom”. African Arts24(3). 1991 Kirby, P. (Ed).: “John Burrow’s ‘Travels in the Wilds of Africa’”. 1834-6. Balkema. Cape Town 1971 Laband, J.: “The Assassination of King Shaka”. Jonathan Ball. Cape Town. 2017 Roodt, F.: “ ‘n Rekonstruksie van Geelkoperbewerking by Mgungundlovu”. MA thesis. University of Pretoria.1993 - “Zulu Metalworking” in “Zulu Treasures: Of Kings and Commoners”. KwaZulu Cultural Museum. 1996 Stuart, J & Malcolm, D (Eds) : “The Diary of Henry Francis Fynn”. Shuter & Shooter. 1969.

Crowning Glory: An

exploration of African hats and hair adornment

by Victoria Rogers Across the world the head is used as an area for adornment. With a rich history, headgear has taken many guises including: crown, wimple, turban, hairpins or braiding. These embellishments have all been used as ways to indicate not only an individual’s heritage but also their occupation, social standing, religious affiliations and accomplishments. Depictions of headwear have been seen through human history. One of the earliest examples comes from a tomb painting found in Thebes, Egypt. The image dating from around 3200BC portrays a man wearing a conical hat, a style associated with upper class individuals. Later depictions show Egyptians adorning their heads and hair with a range of finery as fashions progressed. Hairstyles were also used in ancient Egypt as an indicator of an individual’s standing in a community cut short, dyed or braided into complex forms. Head coverings can also be used to indicate2 emotions. In North Africa, Tuareg men wear turbans which conceals their heads and faces providing much needed protection from the sun. A Tuareg man will adjust and rewrap his turban throughout the day, these intentional

1 Figure 1

movements are indicators to his changing moods. The word ‘head’ in many indigenous languages, as it does in English, not only defines an area of the body but also describes a prestigious position within a community; chief or king. The physical motion of placing a hat (crown) on the head of an appointed individual is itself an act of prestigious anointment. Furthermore, additions of high value objects; feathers, shells, precious metals and parts of animals are all used to transform the hat into an object of prestige and power. The Yoruba beaded conical crowns can only be worn by a select few Oba’s (of which there are hundreds) from a particular line of descent. The crowns are covered in prestigious beads and significant images. A beaded curtain hangs from the main body of the crown obscuring the face of the Oba thus removing the individual character of the Oba and transforming him into a divine entity who is the physical embodiment of his kingdom and people at large. Bameleke culture uses headwear to indicate liberty. Hats are of such importance in their society that it can only be worn by the free, slaves being

forbidden to wear them. Figure 1, is an image of these hats that, with the addition of, porcupine quills are reserved for royals and those that represent them. The addition of such animals’ parts represents the Fon’s (Kings) connection with nature and his ability to mould and control the natural forces around him.

Initially the hats are simple but as an individual becomes more successful, they can add indicators of prestige; shells, beads and buttons. Eventually a transcending member may exchange their hat for a more prestigious one. Such importance is placed on the hat in Bwami society that when a member dies, he is buried with his hat.

Hats are also used as a part of complex rites and rituals. The Lega people are united by intricate and Animals play an important part in Bwami lifelong rites of passage associated with the Bwami society both in spiritual representation and society. The society open to both men and women also physically as part of rituals. The pangolin is a sacred animal in Bwawi culture is not based on hereditary structure but instead and cannot be hunted. If a pangolin is members must move through the ranks by successfully completing a series of rituals and tasks. accidently trapped or found dead the hunter They must contribute positively to their community at must take the animal to a member of the Bwami community or face potential expulsion large and in turn will receive the support of members of their family and the society. Hats worn from the community. The use of the pangolin by the Bwami members indicate their status within in the creation of a hat, shown in Figure 2, indicates respect and high religious status. the society. Additionally, it connects the wearer and community to important ancestors.

Figure 2

Figure 3, Combs are seen in every culture in the world, they served not only a functional purpose but were used to decorate the hair of high standing members of the community. Carved into beautiful shapes and adorned with precious materials such as gold and ivory, combs and hair pins were symbols of prestige and wealth. In some cultures, it was thought that the insertion of a hairpin or comb into an ornate hairstyle secured the spiritual power of its wearer. Mangbetu women pre 1950s would elongate their heads using binding techniques making for a distinctively shaped cranium, additionally they would use an ivory hairpin to decorate their hair. These pins were carved by skilled craftsmen who often used an entire elephant’s tusk to create one hairpin.

There is a plethora of styles in ritual head wear dictated by surrounding materials as well as ancestral tales and history. The beaded Yaka hat, seen in Figure 2, from the Congo Bandundu region is the headdress of political leader, Misango Mayaka. This hat was originally part of the regalia worn by a Yaka or a Suku regional chief who is the second highest-ranking political leader. The unusual structure may represent the horns of the Buffalo and the hat is topped with a crown like structure. This chiefly adornment is not however native to the Yaka but originates from the neighbouring Pende people and was bought in by the Yaka. The Pende in turn borrowed the style of their regal head wear from the Lunda. The Lunda reigned over a vast kingdom in the 17th Century, which covered what is now modern day Congo, Angola and Zambia.

Figure 3

Many of these ceremonial rituals continue to be performed with hats evolving in style with the impact of modernity. It is not unusual to see modern-day high-ranking politicians or members of the royal court attend international functions in western garb while still wearing the traditional hat of their ancestors. Proving that there is nothing â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;old hatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; about these wonderful objects of regalia. References: Arnoldi, M. and Mullen Kreamer, C., 1995. Crowning Achievements: African Arts Of Dressing The Head. California: Regents of the University of California. Egypt Exploration Society. 2020. The Royal Crowns Of Egypt. [online] Available at: <https:// www.ees.ac.uk/the-royal-crowns-of-egypt> [Accessed 16 September 2020]. Infant, M., 2020. MANGBETU PEOPLE: THE FAMOUS FASHIONABLE HAIR-STYLISH CONGOLESE (AFRICAN) TRIBE THAT PRACTICED LIPOMBO (HEAD ELONGATION) CUSTOMS.. [online] Kwekudeetripdownmemorylane.blogspot.com. Available at: <https://kwekudeetripdownmemorylane.blogspot.com/2012/12/mangbetu-people-famous-fashionable-hair.html> [Accessed 24 August 2020].



Tribal Capital: Objects of Wealth and Prestige  

Presented for sale in this exhibition are the most valued possessions of high-ranking members of indigenous societies, each object telling t...

Tribal Capital: Objects of Wealth and Prestige  

Presented for sale in this exhibition are the most valued possessions of high-ranking members of indigenous societies, each object telling t...


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