• Short Summary

    A unique collection of primitive art is on show at London's Royal Academy prior to being auctioned at Sotheby's later this month.

  • Description

    CU PAN INTERIOR: Jorge Ortiz looking at Maori canoe prow (3 shots)

    CU: small tiki

    LV AND CU: wooden club with cluster of pigeon feathers (2 shots)

    CU: nose flute made from whale tooth.

    SV: door lintel on wall. (2 shots)

    CU: five carved panels from New Zealand (3 shots)

    CU: African wood carving.

    CU: African plaque showing warrior in full regalia.

    The sale of the Ortiz collection of African and Oceanic art is to take place in London, on 29 June. Mr Ortiz started collecting Pacific and African art 30 years ago. His first piece was bought in Paris when he was a student.

    Initials RH/1745

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: A unique collection of primitive art is on show at London's Royal Academy prior to being auctioned at Sotheby's later this month. The collection belongs to Jorge Ortiz, a member of the wealthy Bolivian tin family. He has put the collection up for sale so he can get back some of the two million U.S. dollars ransom he paid for the release of his kidnapped five year-old daughter Graziella, last October. She was released unharmed in Switzerland. Among the works of art up for auction are 14 Maori items, which Sotheby's say are among the finest in the world outside New Zealand.

    SYNOPSIS: Mr Ortiz will not elaborate on his reasons for the sale and Sotheby's are not putting a price on some items because they are so rare. In the collection is a tauihu (pronounced toweehu), a canoe prow from craft used by Maoris for everyday activities. Although it is damaged, it is still considered a fine example.

    This item is called a tiki. It is just four and a half inches high, (3.8 centimetres) and was probably part of a utensil. This club still has its cluster of pigeon feathers attached. It has also got a tiki on the haft, which has particularly fine scrolls and decorations.

    Also for sale is this nose flute, made from a whale tooth. Sotheby's say it is extremely rare and it has been well used, with the carving almost worn away.

    This door lintel is from New Zealand's east coast, and is more than three feet (0.9 metres) across. It is ornately carved, with a full face tiki and at each side a contorted, stylised human figure. Sotheby's will not put a price on it, nor will they say how much they think the star attraction of the sale is worth -- these five carved panels which together once formed the front of a pataka of foodhouse. It is said to be one of the finest examples outside New Zealand and dates from pre-colonial times.

    The collection also includes some outstanding examples of African art -- like this wood carving of a male fetish figure. The face is entirely covered with round-headed brass studs. The necklace is partially covered with fragmented lion-skin and there is also a woven fibre skirt covering the lower part of the carving. The horn on the top of the head contains the fetish material.

    This bronze plaque of a warrior in full regalia comes from Benin and is said to be an example of the finest art of the Royal Court of Benin from about the year 1600.

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