Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Dan Chief’s Robe at Sotheby’s 13 May 2011

Dan robe Sothebys

Lot 283A at Sotheby’s upcoming auction of African, Oceanic and pre-Columbian Art in New York on 13 May is this interesting robe, collected in Liberia between 1926 and 1930. The simple tailoring of the robe with the cut and folded pocket below the neck and the absence of distinct sleeves is characteristic of the area from Cote D’Ivoire through Liberia into Sierra Leone while the weaving is typical of Mande/Dioula cloth in some northern areas of these countries. Although there is some description of Dan weaving there is very little documentation of the patterns and styles they produced, so I am not clear whether the cloth used for this robe is the work of a Dan weaver or imported by a Dioula trader.

Dan robe Sothebys2

The estimate of USD 6000-9000 seems rather high for a robe that, however unusual in collections, is neither particularly early, nor in my view, of outstanding visual appeal.

1 comment:

  1. And not surprisingly in view of the high estimate, this piece was unsold.