It features on the virtual stand of Galerie Dogon of Berlin, one of around 20 dealers participating in the event from April 26-May 1.
Measuring 13½in (34cm) in diameter, ankle bracelets such as this were made as status symbols for women of high-ranking families of the Igbo people in Nigeria. Their shape represented the sun.
To wear them required serious commitment. A blacksmith would cold hammer the anklets, usually made in matching pairs, around the woman’s leg. They were sometimes worn into middle age or replaced with larger versions.
Heavy and cumbersome, they signified that the wearer had no need to undertake everyday domestic duties, and by wearing them she increased not just her own social status but that of the men in her family. The example in question, which is adorned with geometric patterns, dates from the early 20th century. It is offered for €2000.
Other objects relating to women’s roles or appearance are included in the fair.
From Tribal Gathering London comes a wooden doll made near Mombasa in the mid-20th century Kenya. Made of dark wood with a mop of red and white beads at the top, it would have been cared for by a young girl to introduce her to the duties of motherhood.
The glossy patina suggests it was handled extensively over time. It is priced at €1350.
Adam Prout Ethnographic Art brings a Senufo Kpelie mask from the Ivory Coast representing feminine beauty, which is offered for €1200.
Many of the other online fairs or viewing rooms that sprang up during the pandemic have fallen by the wayside. However, this event, which is linked to an in-person staging that takes place in Amsterdam in October, continues to draw a wide selection of international dealers. The virtual edition is now in its fourth year.
Across the fair, dealers offer items from Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas. Over the years the event has attracted anyone from museum curators to interior designers to dedicated collectors. It is free to view after 3pm local time on the opening day.
Among the exhibitors are Frans Faber – Tribal Arts from The Netherlands, Christophe Rolley of France, Kenn Mackay – Tribal Art Antiques from the UK and Michael Woerner Oriental Art of Thailand and Hong Kong.
Each shows up to 50 recent acquisitions. As items sell, up to 10 can be added per day.
As well as the commercial event, there is a series of online lectures.
This year’s selection includes extile specialist Thomas Murray speaking on Iban textiles from Sarawak and Bruce Goodall presenting his recent book Headrests from Southern Africa – The Architecture of Sleep.