Cyclopes in African art

Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

On 4 & 6 March 2014, Sotheby’s London will auction the private collection of the late Stanley J. Seeger. The sale is called “1000 ways of seeing“, so the cyclops illustrated above fits wel in (info). It’s attributed to the Fon, which is of course quite a stretch since cyclopes belong to ancient Greek mythology.

UPDATE: A reader informed me this figure might also have been inspired by a deformed one-eyed baby.

On a serious note, there do are some interesting objects in this ecclectic 1000-piece sale. A rare Punu blacksmith’s bellows (info) is estimated at only £ 800-1,200,- while the same Sotheby’s London sold the same bellows almost 30 years ago for £ 1,430,- (3 December 1984. Lot 155). Also underestimated is a nkasopi Attié figure. Appraised at £ 5000-7000,- it was made by the same artist that carved an almost identical figure sold by Sotheby’s Paris last year. Estimated at € 12,000-18,000,-, that figure made € 35,000,- (info). The most important African object in the sale is a Kota figure. Acquired at Sotheby’s London in the same 1984 sale (lot 156) for £ 2,200,- it is now estimated at £ 10,000-15,000,- and should be able to sell for much more. Probably it’s not Kota, but Sango (Sungu).

For a nice article about Stanley Seeger click here.

Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.