TREASURES OF OCEANIC ART - RAINER WERNER BOCK COLLECTION WITH FISH HOOKS AT $6,000
20th March 2017 for release
TREASURES OF OCEANIC ART - RAINER WERNER BOCK COLLECTION - WITH FISH HOOKS AT $6,000
For the average fisherman the idea of paying $6,000 for a fish hook is inconceivable. Yet in a breathtaking collection of Pacific Oceanic Tribal art for sale at French auction house Aguttes on April 5th,6th and 7th there are a number of fish hooks estimated to sell at that price. They form part of the 1,100 items of the Rainer Werner Bock Collection to be sold over three days.
Rainer Werner Bock, one of the world’s leading dealers in Pre-Columbian art compiled this unique collection of Hawaiian tribal art over a period of 20 years.
Never before have so many Hawaiian objects been brought together outside of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. The Collection includes 18th century bowls, regalia, drums, fishing equipment, necklaces in feathers or hair, spears, lances, pestles and many other fascinating objects. Some 500 items speak to us of the daily lives of the people of this archipelago of 137 islands inhabited for centuries by the Polynesian peoples, unknown to the European world until the arrival in 1778 of Captain James Cook.
As to R.W. Bock’s selection of fishing hooks, it perfectly captures the art of halieutics, with each piece having been carefully chosen for its shining, polished mother-of-pearl, which bears great significance in Oceanian fishing traditions. Were one to just consider the delicate polishing, which ensures that the nacre does not desquamate, one can already appreciate the elaborate means with which these hooks were made, and the care that Bock took in the selection and safekeeping of these precious artefacts.
Oceania comprises the civilizations that, over the centuries, developed the most brilliant mother-of-pearl techniques. Today we benefit from in-depth knowledge concerning the making of these fishing objects thanks to the numerous archeological excavations that took place throughout the 19th century, as well as to the beautiful array of shapes and materials of the hooks in the collection of Rainer Werner Bock.
Kenneth Emory, William Bonk, and Yoshito Sinoko already wrote in a volume of the Hawaiian Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum regarding the discovery of a hook workshop in a Hawaiian fishing village in the 11th to 14th centuries AD, with illustrations of many types. As to Aguttes (Paris-Lyon-Neuilly-Deauville), the auction house will allow you to explore an astonishing assortment of Hawaiian hooks that is exceptionally well-preserved and which brings together the rarest, most singular and sought-after types.
Most hooks are made from the nacre of pearl oysters obtained with diverse tools made from materials such as coral. These were used to create the initial designs of hooks and to cut shapes, while sea-urchin acid was used for finishing and polishing (see tools presented at auction). In Hawaii, similar files were made from the basalt extracted from massive blocks of magma. Craftsmen gave a general, overall shape to the mother-of-pearl, given that they pierced the center and enlarged the hole until obtaining the precise, desired shape. As is the case with the hooks in Rainer Werner Bock’s collection, these small, refined objects are the result of laborious, delicate efforts.
The Rainer Werner Bock collection consists of more than 1,100 items including boat models, axes, fishhooks, tapa cloths, mortars, spears, darts, swords, bowls, threshers, idols, baits, canoes, paddles, pestles, ornaments, masks, drums, flasks, skulls, domestic items, and more.
The collection is a fantastic voyage from island to island, and it also represents the formidable eye of a dealer known by all and who made a difference both through his choices and involvement in the art world.
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For more information please contact Julian Roup of Bendigo Communication acting for Aguttes at firstname.lastname@example.org or call
0044 (0)7970 563958 or 0044 (0)1892 669200
Shark hook, Polynesia, 19th century Fiber, wood, $ 4 000 – 4,500
Fish hook, Tahiti Island, Polynesia : 19th century,Pearl oyster shell, Pinctada margaritifera (Linnaeus, 1758) $ 2 000 / 2 200