Tuesday, 14 April 2020

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

Offered 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. The statue made a whooping $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. $ 3.4m

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