Ife Head & Mimbres Bowl
Appraised Value: $20,200 - $30,300
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:57)
Antiques Appraiser and Consultant
GUEST: I inherited a private collection from a friend of mine. I've owned them for about three years.
APPRAISER: Has anyone told you anything about them or...?
GUEST: No. I know a little bit, but not a lot I have no idea about this piece. I know how excited he was when he obtained this piece.
APPRAISER: I'm really excited that you brought both of these in because it allows us to talk about how we, as appraisers and authenticators, look at objects. The first one-- this is supposedly from the Kingdom of Ife in Nigeria. First of all, it's terra-cotta, and it's supposed to be from the tenth to the 13th century. We want to know if it's really that old. We need to test these things to find out if they're authentic. Secondly, we look at this thing stylistically. We look at the eyes, we look at the nose and the mouth, and it's not quite right. The striations are not quite right. And also, as an authenticator, I know there's an awful lot of these that have come on the market that have been made in a contemporary time. This piece, unfortunately, is not correct. As a decorative piece, it's $200 to $300. If it were real, there have been several that have sold in the seven figures. Now, these Mimbres bowls come from southwestern New Mexico, in the Mimbres Valley. There are plain geometric bowls, and then there are these picture bowls. So what we have to worry about with the picture bowl is, was the picture painted in antiquity, or was it painted in a contemporary time? So we need to have the paint tested. Now, I'm going to turn the bowl around, and you can see where it's broken. And, if you look at the other side, the crack goes right through the figure. It's very, very difficult to see, but these cracks are visible on this side on the front--and you can see a line passing through here right through the hand up here in this section. Now, because the figures are whole here that represents in painting-- painting that's been added after the pot was put back together.
APPRAISER: And that can devalue the bowl, so we need to find out the extent of the in-painting. Now, I believe it to be right. This should be 1000 to 1300 a.d.
APPRAISER: And these bowls were actually placed over the head of the deceased in the grave. The Mimbres picture bowls are the most sought-after types of bowls. They're much more sought-after--they bring much higher prices-- than the geometrics. In a gallery, if everything turns out to be correct on this bowl, you'd expect it to sell between $20,000 and $30,000.
GUEST: That's good.
APPRAISER: Now, if we find out that this piece is absolutely correct, you might want to have it re-restored by a professional, because you can see, in the interior of the bowl, the restorations are pretty obvious.
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