Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Hawaiian statue of the god of war Ku-ka’ili-moku - $7.5m

Sold in the 'Collection Vérité' on 21 November 2017 at Christie’s in Paris.

Hawaiian figurative sculptures are incredibly rare. Kamehameha I associated himself with the war god Ku-ka’ili-moku — the ‘land snatcher’ or ‘island eater’. This example was made circa 1780-1820 from the Metrosideros, a tree found in the high mountains of Hawaii. The figures that are known are all in museums. Statue made $ 7.5m blowing well past it's $3.5m estimate.

Also being auctioned is a Uli figure, which is a type of wooden statue carved only in the villages of New Ireland in Papua New Guinea.

Tribal art is rising in value and has been for many years. The reason is extreme rarity, there are more and more museums, but fewer and fewer pieces.