Ethnographica & Tribal Art

This category comprises artefacts and works of art made by indigenous peoples.

It began as a collecting area when anthropologists began acquiring and studying these items in the 19th century. Nowadays works are valued for their craftsmanship and decorative quality as well as for their historical and social interest.

The geographical spread in this sector ranges from Oceanic (Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand), African, Native American and South American art. Pre-Columbian works represent a sought-after sector – art from the Americas dating from before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492.

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When the tribal art world comes to Brussels

22 May 2017

'Cultures – The World Arts Fair' is a gallery-based event staged every June in the antique-dealing district of Brussels known as The Sablon.

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Interview with dealer Gordon Reece on the tribal art market

22 May 2017

The Fine Art Society’s exhibition Gordon Reece: The Art of Collecting runs from May 23-June 16. It has been curated by Reece and presents African sculpture and artefacts from the former dealer’s collection alongside the FAS’s own 20th century art and design.

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Introduction to a summer of tribal shows

22 May 2017

Tribal, non-European or ethnographic art has experienced a huge growth in both general and financial appreciation this century. This boost is partly due to the connections made between indigenous art and its influence on modern and contemporary artists.

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Second slice of The Bourgogne Tribal Show

22 May 2017

While most tribal art events take place in major cities, the Bourgogne Tribal Show makes the most of its rural location.

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Tribal tempters in new Sussex sale

22 May 2017

Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst is well known for its Garden Statuary and Natural History sales. Now it is adding a new category to the portfolio.

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Tribal art gathering pace in regions

18 April 2017

Auctioneers and vendors are quickly discovering that Europe’s country houses, furnished with the routine period objects that no longer generate great excitement, can occasionally yield valuable souvenirs of a colonial past.

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International previews: Paris

01 April 2017

Any item of African tribal art dating before the 19th century counts as a rarity, but the sculpture to be offered by Christie’s in Paris on April 4 is remarkable not only for its age but also its quality and prestigious provenance.

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‘Tribal material is seen as modern art’

01 April 2017

Why, aided by the search engine, ethnographica is assuming greater importance for regional rooms...

Moai kavakava figure at auction

Tourist souvenir or tribal art rarity? Swiss art dealer’s Easter Island figure sells for £95,000 at Berkshire auction

09 March 2017

There was some good old fashioned saleroom drama at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions in Newbury yesterday when a moai kavakava style figure, estimated to bring just £400-600, sold at £95,000. The buyer in Berkshire was from Australia.

Maori flute

Sleeping bugle awakens at £140,000

04 March 2017

Estimated at £50-100, this Maori flute sold for £140,000 (plus 24% buyer’s premium) at John Nicholson’s of Haslemere on February 23.

Benin bronze

Benin bronze helps Woolley & Wallis retain lead in regional sales league

20 January 2017

A private treaty sale of a Benin bronze head helped Woolley & Wallis retain its status as the UK’s leading regional saleroom in 2016.

tribal necklace

Total sleeper: Tribal necklace sells for £99,000 at Ewbank’s instead of £15 at flea market

05 December 2016

Some good old-fashioned saleroom drama ensued at Ewbank’s of Send in Surrey on December 1 when a tribal art necklace estimated at £60-100 sold to a buyer from Continental Europe at £99,000 (plus 22.5% premium).

Leakey collection

Out of Africa to Cotswolds sale – Leakey collection heads to auction

11 October 2016

African artefacts, jewellery and fossils from a family collection linked to the celebrated palaeoanthropologists, the late Louis and Mary Leakey, are to be sold later this month at The Cotswold Auction Company.

Fijian fork

Cannibal fork from Fiji gobbled up at auction

19 September 2016

A Fijian cannibal fork was sold at Duke’s in Dorchester for £7500 on September 16.

Haida hat

Hold on to your hat: Paris' annual Parcours des Mondes gets off to a good start

09 September 2016

The Parcours des Mondes, Paris' annual tribal trail and one of the biggest commercial gatherings in this collecting area, opened on September 6.

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Peter Wilson tribal art auctions show African influence on Pablo Picasso and Cubism

29 July 2016

Pablo Picasso is revered as a key pioneer of Cubism, the radical approach to representing reality that he spearheaded with Georges Braque in the early 1900s. As with so many art movements, its roots extend further back, however.

Utap, Dayak shield from Borneo, Indonesia from Patrick and Ondine Mestdagh

Belgian trade unite for 'Cultures'

02 June 2016

Tribal art will be making a splash in Brussels around the city’s Sablon area, as it is does every summer, but this year it will be as part of a new cross-cultural promotion.

wooden statue from the Ivory Coast

Paris museum secures rare piece of Akyè art

31 May 2016

The Musée du Quai Branly, the dedicated museum for tribal art which opened in Paris in 2006, has been a key factor in boosting the French capital as a world centre for ethnography in both scholarly and commercial terms.

Tribal art comes to Burgundy

25 February 2016

The countryside of southern Burgundy, with its vineyards and Romanesque churches, might not be the first location that comes to mind for a tribal art fair.

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South Pacific clubs hit the heights at auction

26 August 2015

South Pacific war clubs continue to strike high prices at auctions, as this Tongan example sold in Stafford this month shows.

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