Lot: 20993rd Tribal Art Auction
Rare ancestor figure "ekpu"
Nigeria, Lower Cross River, Calabar Province, Oron
|Provenance||Size||Starting price / estimated price|
|Merton Simpson, New York, USA||H: 28.7 inch||
plus 23 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance
wood, encrustations with clay, strong traces of weathering, base Ancestral figures created by Oron carvers from southeastern Nigeria's Cross River estuary are considered to be among the oldest surviving wood sculptures from sub-Saharan Africa. The tradition to carve those figures probably lasted only until the turn of the 20th century. When Kenneth C. Murray discovered them in 1938, the cult has become already obsolete, the shrines were on decay. Although 600 statues were still counted in 1959, when a museum has been installed for the then still existing sculptures, only about a hundred were left, after the raging of the Biafra war. The rest has been destroyed or looted by the conquerors.