All of them respond to a single global geometric model. The head surmounts through a cylindrical neck the body limited to the perimeter of a losange. These polychrome figures are made of wood entirely covered on the front face of pressed and carved plates in copper, brass and iron held by pins.
Despite the global similarity, there are considerable aesthetic differences due to the traditions of the villages and to the inspiration of the artists. The best sculpted specimens are masterpieces of African sculpture.
The DeMiré-Rubin specimen, 66 cm high, sold for € 5.5M including premium by Christie's on June 23, 2015, displays a concave face whose extreme stylization is famous for its influence on Western modern art. Its tribal origin is probably Kota-Ndumu in Gabon.
Three figures from the Kota-Ndassa group, in current day Congo in the region of the Gabonese border, were probably made by one artist towards the 19th century of our calendar.
In full contrast to the Ndumu figure, the face is convex in an attempt at naturalism. Large radiating scarifications give an illusion of tears which is wrong by the fact of the very use of the object. If these figures were to represent weepers, such an ornament would be frequent.
The Kota-Ndassa from the Pinto and Arman collections, 69.5 cm high, was sold for $ 1.08M including premium by Sotheby's on May 11, 2012. Its nearest twin, 69 cm high, is estimated $ 1M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on November 13, lot 24.
SOLD for $ 975K including premium