Lot: 188

85th Tribal Art Auction

Rare female figure "tale ko"

Côte d'Ivoire, Dida

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Emil Storrer, Zurich, Switzerland
Edith Hafter, Solothurn, Switzerland (1971)
Christie's, 11 June 2012, lot 38
H: 37.4 inch 15000 EUR
plus 21 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, partly encrusted blackish brown patina, red paint, striking small head, distinctive bow-shaped scarification marks and notched tattoos on the neck, elaborate coiffure, breasts and navel especially accentuated, ears with drilled holes, old collection number "54" at left heel and base, slightly dam., missing parts (fingers of both hands, right foot, left foot tip), rep. (both arms in shoulder area, left breast, left shank, right forearm?), base; a stylistically comparable object was published by B. Holas in 1966 (ill. 58) and was exhibited in Paris, Galerie Nationales du Grand Palais in 1989. Wood sculpture of the Dida is rare and little known. Dida sculptors, of whom there were few, are known as "si senyo". Their statues are known by the generic name "tale ko", but each statue also had its own individual name. Larger statues, like the present one, were owned by a few heads of families and rich men, and they were said to represent spirits of the forest or of water. They received offerings of food, principally eggs, and are said to have served to protect the owner's property, and in particular to prevent evil-minded persons from stealing crops from his fields. Due to the accentuation of breasts and navel an usage in connection with fertility is conceivable. The Dida are an ethnic group in southern Côte d'Ivoire and belong to the so-called "Lagoon Peoples".

Holas, B., Arts de la Cote d`Ivoire, Paris 1966 Holas, Bohumil, Craft and Culture in the Ivory Coast, Paris 1968, pl. 29 Barbier, Jean Paul (ed.), Art of Côte d' Ivoire, Vol II, Genève 1993, p. 88, ill. 143
Leuzinger, Elsy, Afrikanische Kunstwerke, Kulturen am Niger II, Zürich 1971, p. 99, ill. F 3; Leuzinger, Elsy, Die Kunst von Schwarz-Afrika, Recklinghausen 1972, p. 99, ill. F3