An early example of tourist art created by Africans in the 19th century for sale to Europeans. These beautifully arranged, spiraling processions of humans, and sometimes animals, were made by professional ivory carvers whose artistic roots were in the traditional themes and forms of their culture. The figures portrayed here show both men and women wearing native and western outfits and "reflect the artist's efforts to come to terms with the cultural changes of his time." (Kecskesi, African Masterpieces and Selected Works from Munich: The Staatliches Museum fur Volkerkunde, The Center for African Art, New York, 1987, page 281). This object is attributed to the Loango, Cabinda province, an exclave of Angola, Central Africa. It dates to the mid to last quarter of the 19th century. Dimensions are 9"L x 2" W, maximum.
Condition is fine, but there is possibly some old damage at the bottom edge. Provenance: Collection of Bernd Ratz, Pforzheim and Maulbronn, Germany, since the 1960's.