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    Songe (Democratic Republic of Congo)
    Ceremonial Axe (kilonda)
    Steel, copper, wood
    Height: 13 inches Length: 22 inches

    This prestige axe is certainly one of the most extraordinary published examples of the metalsmith's art in virtuoso forging technique. Crowning the effect of the exceptional number of finely wrought heads and one complete frontal figure which line the supporting spokes is an attached full length standing male figure with outstretched hands. In a written analysis done for James Willis by Jean-Willy Mestach, he states (in a translation provided with the original in French): "This beautiful Kilonga of blended style (Beneki-Sanga?) comes from the Kananga-Kabinda-Lusambo triangle. It is composed of two figures: one enclosed in the axial spokes, the other, (on the back of the central spoke), of the purest Beneki's style, is forged in the core of the central axis. In our opinion, the very rare figures enclosed in that type of axes (sic) do not come necessarily from the same forges." The attached six-inch high in-the-round standing male figure, his long torso slightly bowed and his legs flexed, has been adorned with coils of copper wire around the neck, left wrist, and waist. In the opening across the central axial spoke corresponding to the one in which he stands, a vertically-oriented copper wire has been coiled and looped to fill the space visually.
    Other than slight rust in a few areas, the condition is excellent.
    This piece is sold with the expertise by Jean-Willy Mestach, Brussels

    Published:Frank Herreman, ed. Material Differences, Art and Identity in Africa. New York and Gent: Museum of African Art/Snoeck-Ducaju & Zoon, 2003, cat. 60, ill. (there given to the Nsapo peoples).
    Fran├žois Neyt. Songye. Brussels: Fonds Mercator, p. 370, upper right ill. (given there to the Nsapo).

    Exhibited:New York, Museum of African Art: Material Differences, Art and Identity in Africa, 2003.
    Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada: Material Differences, Art and Identity in Africa, September 17, 2004 - January 2, 2005.
    Sacramento, Crocker Art Museum: Material Differences, Art and Identity in Africa, April 2 - June 19, 2005.

    Provenance: James Willis, San Francisco

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2007
    7th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 7,298

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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