A Plains Quilled Hide War Shirt is expected to bring $40,000 at Heritage Auctions‘ American Indian and Tribal Art Signature sale, scheduled for May 16 in Dallas. The shirt once belonged to Sioux Chief Runs-The-Enemy, whose band of 132 warriors battled Custer’s men at the Battle of Little Big Horn. “I was very encouraged by our last auction which realized more than $1 million,” said Delia E. Sullivan, Senior Specialist of American Indian Art at Heritage. “The results prove that material fresh to the market sells well and this auction offers hundreds of pieces that have not been available to collectors for decades.”
The auction brings together 500 lots dedicated to early American Indian pottery and weavings and an impressive selection of African art accompanied by impressive provenance. Some of the other notable pieces to be offered at auction include a Laguna Polychrome Storage Jar, circa 1895. The fetching deep red paint is highlighted by the signature hatched ground by known “two-spirit or berdache” Laguna potter Arroh-ah-och (est. $5,000). Two early Zuni creations include a stunning Polychrome Owl Effigy Canteen, circa 1880, is painted a deep red, orange, and dark brown (est. $3,000), and a Polychrome Frog Effigy Jar, circa 1890, featuring a series of four butterflies alternating with spotted frogs modeled in relief (est. $4,000).
Important textiles include a Navajo Germantown Moki Weaving, circa 1890, spans 76″ x 57″ (est. $8,000) and a Sioux Beaded Hide Dress, circa 1900, decorated with green pigment, sinew sewn and lane-stitched in red, white and blue beads (est. $6,000).
An impressive collection of more than 75 lots of African American tribal art come from a top New England collector and includes rarities that haven’t been on the market for 30 years. The rarities include a Senufo Hornbill Headdress, standing an impressive 60 inches tall, (est. $30,000).
Another Senufo piece in the collection is a rare Maternity figure of a Seated Mother and Child, accompanied by a letter from Michael Kan, former curator of the African collection of the Detroit Museum of Art (est. $8,000). A Bete West African Female Figure, a scarce carving with its original blackened surface, is accompanied by a letter by William Fagg, the authoritative African art expert who called this piece “the finest Bete sculpture that I have seen” (est. $20,000).