American Indian & Ethnographic art at Skinner’s Jan. 24 semi-annual auction

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Rare Pair of Northeast Beaded Hide and Cloth Moccasins, Penobscot, circa second quarter 19th century, the soft hide forms with puckered vamps, the vamps and cuffs covered with red and blue trade cloth and silk applique work, with white bead edging and double C-scroll pattern on the vamps, silk edging on the cuffs, 10 inches long. Note: Includes a discussion on this lot by Ted Brasser. Estimate: $8,000-$12,000. Courtesy Skinner Inc.

Skinner, Inc. will host an auction of American Indian and Ethnographic Art on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 10 a.m. in its Boston gallery.  More than 400 lots of tribal art will be offered from North America, South America and Africa.

African & Pre-Columbian
A nice selection of Pre-Columbian and African material leads the sale with the first 100 lots.  Of note are two Mayan pottery figures, both circa 550-950 A.D., (lot 21, estimate $4,000-$6,000 and lot 22, estimate $1,000-$1,500); a South American stone mask from Northern Argentina (lot 58, estimate $12,000-$16,000); a rare African wooden king’s figure (lot 91, estimate $6,000-$8,000); a wood and brass reliquary figure (lot 92, estimate $16,000-$20,000); and an African prestige axe (lot 100, estimate $35,000-$45,000).

American Indian
Kicking off the American Indian portion of the sale is an extensive offering of moccasins (lots 101 to 124, estimates from $400 at the low end to $12,000 at the high).

Featured from the Plains is a very rare pony beaded hide pouch from the mid-19th century (lot 132, estimate $6,000-$8,000); two very nice beaded pipe bags from the second half of the 19th century (lot 138 and 139, both estimated at $15,000-$20,000); a geometrically designed beaded cradle (lot 153, estimate $8,000-$12,000); a very rare wood snake effigy pipe stem (lot 160, estimate $4,000-$6,000); and an Eastern Plains pipe (lot 162, estimate $5,000-$7,000). 

Also of note from the region are two polychrome pictograph drawings from the second half of the 19th century: one untitled, the other “Cheyenne Squaw and young Man Courting” (lot 165, estimate $8,000-$12,000); a Northern Plains beaded hide knife sheath, previously illustrated in The Native American Heritage (lot 173, estimate $5,000-$7,000); an Eastern Plains beaded buffalo hide knife sheath (lot 175, estimate $12,000-$16,000); and a Cree pad saddle (lot 167, estimate $4,000-$6,000). 

Rounding out the Plains offerings are two blanket strips, both from the second half of the 19th century (lots 184 and 186, both estimated at $15,000-$20,000); a Central Plains bow case and quiver (lot 182, estimate $15,000-$20,000); a pair of Blackfeet man’s beaded hide leggings (lot 190, estimate $6,000-$8,000); and a Northern Plains beaded hide shirt (lot 193, estimate $40,000-$60,000).

From the Great Lakes region is a pair of finger-woven wool sashes (lot 204, estimate $3,000-$5,000); a finger-woven beaded strip (lot 205, estimate $1,200-$1,600); a pair of prehistoric carved stone ear spools, which have been on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution and National Museum of Natural History (lot 207, estimate $5,000-$7,000); and an early Great Lakes quilled pipe (lot 212, estimate $4,000-$6,000).  Also expected to draw interest is a pewter pipe bowl (lot 215, estimate $3,000-$5,000); two Northeast pipes from the first half of the 19th century (lot 216, estimate $5,000-$7,000); a Northeast doll (lot 217, estimate $6,000-$8,000); a rare pair of Northeast moccasins (lot 218, estimate $8,000-$12,000); and a Northwest quilled pouch (lot 219, estimate $6,000-$8,000).

Exceptional and extensive material from the Northwest Coast includes four carved argillite pipes – highly unusual for so many to be up for bid during a single sale – all from the Paul Rabut collection (lots 240 to 243, estimates from $3,000 at the low end to $6,000 at the high); an engraved silver bracelet by Charles Edenshaw
(lot 244, estimate $4,000-$6,000); a Chilkat dance blanket currently the property of a New England historical society (lot 252, estimate $20,000-$30,000); a prehistoric Northwest carved stone head (lot 226, estimate $4,000-$6,000); and several impressive carved wooden bowls (lots of note: 257, 258, 259 and 260, estimates ranging from $3,000 on the low end to $7,000 on the high).

Also highlighted from the Northwest Coast are two remarkable ladles: one wooden (lot 263, estimate $6,000-$8,000) and the other made of mountain sheep horn and copper – the cover lot – (lot 269, estimate $30,000-$50,000); a carved bone shaman’s implement (lot 272, estimate $8,000-$12,000); and a rare Kwakwaka’wakw carved figure (lot 273, estimate $10,000-$15,000).

For collectors of Katsina dolls, the sale is rich with offerings.  Of particular interest is a Southwest polychrome carved Katsina from the Hopi tribe (lot 296, estimate $7,000-$9,000); two others of cottonwood form (lot 294 and 295, each estimate $4,000-$6,000); and several desirable Katsinas from maker Wilson Tawaquaptewa (lots 289, 292, 293, 294, estimates ranging from $1,500 at the low end to $6,000 at the high).

Other featured items in the sale include fine examples of Navaho silver such as a first phase concha belt (lot 304, estimate $10,000-$15,000) and a silver and leather bridle (lot 309, estimate $6,000-$8,000); a Saltillo serape (lot 318, estimate $2,000-$2,500) and a Navaho late classic serape (lot 324, estimate $4,000-$6,000); a Southwest pictorial weaving (lot 326, estimate $6,000-$8,000); two very nice transitional weavings (lots 328 and 330, estimate $10,000-$15,000 and $8,000-$12,000, respectively); and several ollas, including an early 20th century from the Acomas (lot 350, estimate $4,000-$6,000) and two from the Zuni tribe (lot 359 and 360, estimate $6,000-$8,000 and $4,000-$6,000, respectively).  Finally, rounding out the offerings up for bid are two cabinet cards by C.S. Fly, the first of a captive white boy in Geronimo’s camp, the second of members of Gerinomo’s band (lots 397 and 398, both estimated at $2,000-$3,000) and a highly desirable Curtis Orotone – Prayer to the Stars – in the original batwing frame (lot 403, estimate $4,000-$6,000).

Previews for the auction will be held from 12-5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, 12-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, and 8- 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 24.

For more information, visit www.skinnerinc.com.  Skinner’s site also allows users to view all lots in the auctions, leave bids, and order catalogs online.

Live Bidding at skinnerinc.com
In January, Skinner will be launching a new live bidding applet on skinnerinc.com.  This applet will provide Skinner’s clients with a whole new bidding experience:  the ability to bid live in real-time on the Skinner website from the convenience of home or work.  For more information on all the ways to bid in a Skinner auction, or to register to be one of the first to live bid users at Skinner, log onto the Skinner site, and click on the Skinner-Live! page under How to Buy & Sell.  It can be found at  http://www.skinnerinc.com/buy-sell/skinner-live.php.

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More Images:

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South American Pre-Columbian Stone Mask, northern Argentina, circa 1000-1500 A.D., the ovoid form with concave back, with prominent nose and brow, the round eyes and mouth perforated at center, with four holes for attachment, slightly polished surface, 7 ¼ inches high by 4 1/8 inches wide. Estimate: $12,000-$16,000. Courtesy Skinner Inc.
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Northwest Coast Copper and Mountain Sheep Horn Ladle, Haida, circa second half 19th century, a deep horn ladle with copper handle made from four pieces riveted together; with flat back, the repousse worked front with composite animal form and projecting bird head, incised detail, abalone inlaid eyes and mouth, dark patina, 22 1/2 inches high. Provenance: The Paul Rabut collection. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000. Courtesy Skinner Inc.
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Two Large Skookum Dolls, circa first half 20th century, the man, woman, and papoose made of wood, cloth, and composition (?) faces, (damage), height to 36 inches. Estimate $600-$800. Courtesy Skinner Inc.
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Southwest Polychrome Carved Wood Katsina, Hopi, circa late 19th century, the cottonwood form with arms carved away from the torso, elaborate bearded case mask with crescent moon and stepped design, the crosspiece with a sun symbol, red horsehair attachments, painted detail, 9 inches high. Estimate $7,000-$9,000. Courtesy Skinner Inc.

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