A Chamba double figure

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Lot 693
An exceptional and rare Chamba double figure
height 33in

US$ 85,000 - 120,000
£ 69,000 - 97,000
Property of a gentleman
An exceptional and rare Chamba double figure
Nigeria, the large 'Y' shaped post with eroded bottom portion, rising with the natural forked shape of the wood to two well-carved classical Chamba figures, one male, one female. The figures with high crested coifs and simple cubistically rendered faces; the bodies of classical form for the type, with simple ribbon-like arms descending from stylized shoulders and meeting the respective torsos below the waist with enlarged spatulate hands. Exceptional variegated surface with areas of highlights.
height 33in

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Collected in the field in 1969 by Louis de Vriese, this lot is accompanied by an original letter from Monsieur de Vriese.

    Until the recent publication of Fardon & Stelzig’s Column to Volume, very little if any formal study had been done on Chamba statuary. The Chamba are known for making double figures; often in the form of two upper torsos over a single pair of legs. An even more simplified form of this motif is based upon two columnar figures rising from a single carved conical stake. However, an extremely rare class of double figure among the Chamba are those made from a naturally occurring 'Y-shaped' branch. In this context, rather than the figures being carved on a large block that has been reduced to a conical form, each figure “grows” from a single plinth. This is indeed the case with the example illustrated on p. 33 of Fardon & Stelzig, (fig.2), and in the present example.

    One difference between the example illustrated in Fardon & Stelzig, and this example are the surface of the plinth; the Leloup example having a smooth surface, possibly cut down from an originally eroded trunk-like plinth, and this example, with significant erosion to the surface of the rising post. Another difference concerns the genitalia; this example not displaying prominent sexual organs.

    The blocking, stylization, overall structure of the geometricized faces, and indeed the surface patina are so close between these two examples it is entirely possible, due to the early date of collection of this example by de Vriese himself, that both figures may well have come from the same village, shrine, or even atelier.
A Chamba double figure
A Chamba double figure
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