MÉROUÉE
Curating Beautiful Interiors


Tribal Art and Ethnographic Objects


Sogenannte Tribal Art - also Objekte von indigenen Volksgruppen - haben schon vor hunderten von Jahren Eingang in Kuriositätenkabinette und Wunderkammern gefunden. Entdecker und Abenteurer haben Dinge ins Abendland mitgebracht, die bald hochbegehrt und gesammelt wurden.

Mit dem Anbruch des 20. Jahrhunderts haben sich Künstler in einem Masse für Masken und Kultgegenstände aus Afrika, Asien und den beiden Amerikas faszinieren lassen, dass daraus Bewegungen in der Kunst entstanden sind, die bis heute prägend wirken.

Ganz selbstverständlich wird heute Kunst mit Tribal Art kombiniert, um Parallelen und Brüche zu zelebrieren.

Objekte, welche in bedeutenden Sammlungen waren und an wichtigen Ausstellungen gezeigt wurden, erreichen in Auktionen und im Handel astronomische Summen.

Tribal Art fasziniert aber Betrachter auch jenseits von Provenienzen. Es geht um die Geschichte im Kontext eines Rituals und einer Gemeinschaft, um die Bedeutung eines Stückes in seiner Ursprünglichkeit.

Afrikanische Schnitzer wollten nicht Kunst kreieren, sondern ein Objekt mit einem rituellen Zweck erschaffen. Die Begrifflichkeit der Kunst ist eine westliche Erfindung, die aber durchaus Berechtigung hat. Wenn Masken und Statuen ganz einfach bewegen und mit dem Betrachter "sprechen", dann hat der Schöpfer dieser Objekte ein Kunstwerk geschaffen.

Nicht jedes dieser faszinierenden Werke hat es in bedeutende Sammlungen geschafft, und nicht jedes Objekt aus einer bedeutenden Sammlung ist wirklich ein Meisterwerk.



So called Tribal Art is a description of ritual or everyday objects of indigenous peoples from Africa, Asia and both Americas. Pieces have been collected over centuries and become part of cabinets of curiosity and "Wunderkammern" in Europe and later on around the world in more or less prestigious collections.

With the turn to the 20th Century a growing number of artists were inspired by these artefacts and very often started to collect pieces passionately as did the rich and wealthy all over Europe and the US.

Objects which have a rich provenance of famous owners and a great history of exhibitons reach record sums at aution.

But these objects are far more than a long list of owners. And so they should be. They were part of a community and played a vitally important role in the lives of these people. Their carvers did not mean to create art but objects of ritual importance. Art is an expression very much in the minds of western society. But still - there are artefacts which are so unbelievably expressive, so perfectly balanced and proportioned, and so full of "life" that one has to see them as pieces of art.

Not every great piece has ever been part of an important collection - or these traces have been lost - and not every important collection consists of masterpieces only. Though provenance is important it should not be the only criterion if acquiring a piece of Tribal Art.


Tablescape with KWELE maskTablescape with KWELE mask


Tablescape with objects from Japan, China, Papua New Guinea, Central Asia, Africa, Europe and the United StatesTablescape with objects from Japan, China, Papua New Guinea, Central Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States

 

Japanese Imari plate and silver bowl from BurmaJapanese Imari plate and silver bowl from Burma


Tablescape with exceptional Fang maskTablescape with exceptional Fang mask

 

Tablescape with antique Djenné terracotta from MaliTablescape with antique Djenné terracotta from Mali

 

exceptional Makonde body mask of outstanding qualityexceptional Makonde body mask of outstanding quality

 

Chinese treasure box with semi-precious stone flowersChinese treasure box with semi-precious stone flowers

 

Maprik mask from Papua-New GuineaMaprik mask from Papua-New Guinea


Tablescape with beautiful Fang reliquary figure and a West-Mexican Nayarit terracotta figureTablescape with beautiful Fang reliquary figure and a West-Mexican Nayarit terracotta figure

 

Huge FANG maskHuge FANG mask


Black lacquered Southeast Asian duck with Lapislazuli and Cornelian beadsBlack lacquered Southeast Asian duck with Lapislazuli and Cornelian beads


FANG head, French Tea Caddy 18th century, Chinese brush potFANG head, French Tea Caddy 18th century, Chinese brush pot


Pair of silver-cuffs Tekke-Turkmenistan (Central Asia) of superb qualityPair of silver-cuffs Tekke-Turkmenistan (Central Asia) of superb quality

 

beautiful FANG head from Gabon/Africabeautiful FANG head from Gabon/Africa


Punu mask, Malachite bowl, Man Ray printPunu mask, Malachite bowl, Man Ray print


Persian and Chinese pots on an antique French consolePersian and Chinese pots on an antique French console