After the record sale result of a Sapi-Portuguese salt-cellar in 2008, it is very interesting to see two others pieces showing up on the market.

Important Sapi-Portuguese ivory saltcellar, 15th-16th century, sold for 1,296,750 euros, (Sotheby’s Paris, June 11, 2008, lot 120)

A couple of weeks ago in Paris, Sotheby’s’ Arts de Afrique et d’Oceanie sale in Paris had on offer a rare cup with four caryatid-like figures. It sold for 168,750 euros.

The major authority in this field – Ezio Bassani – wrote the catalogue note:

“Although it is part of the previously mentioned corpus [of Afro-Portuguese ivories], it is however to my knowledge, a unicum within the world of Sapi-Portuguese artwork. (…)  In fine, the variety of Sapi-Portuguese ivories never ceases to surprise us. When we came to believe that we have seen every possible solution that was ever invented by Sapi sculptors, a new piece emerges, which broadens an already very rich panorama and makes it even more stimulating.”

A rare Sapi-Portuguese ivory cup, Sierra Leone, 15th-16th century (Sotheby’s Paris, 12 June 2012, lot 45)

The other was advertised at the Apollo Magazine by the dealers Entwistle. Unrecorded at the Bassani/Fagg catalogue raisonne of 1988, it has its finial missing – it seems – but it is a magnificent, extraordinary example. We will not see the likes of it on the market for a long time.

A rare Sapi-Portuguese ivory saltcellar, 15th-16th century (Entwistle, Paris and London)




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