Saffronart Announces its First Auction of Indian Folk and Tribal Art and Objects August 21-22

Saffronart, India’s leading online auction house, will be hosting its first auction of Indian Folk and Tribal Art and Objects on August 21-22, 2012. This auction, the latest in Saffronart’s series of 24-hour sales, will showcase a selection of unique artworks and artefacts representative of the contemporary visual culture and artistic practices of the country’s many folk and tribal groups. With a total of 75 lots, the auction includes paintings, sculptures, masks, jewelry and functional objects from around the country. The auction will take place online at

The auction catalogue brings together an extensive and attractively priced range of Indian folk and tribal art, with great aesthetic value and timeless appeal, providing an opportunity for avid collectors and first-time buyers to acquire pieces that showcase India’s rich artistic heritage and diverse cultural identity.

The auction features several exceptional works by Gond artists like the celebrated Jangarh Singh Shyam, Nankusia Shyam, Shanti Bai and Ram Singh Urveti, as well as works by renowned Warli artist Jivya Soma Mashe and other tribal artists like Bhuri Bai and Pushpa Kumari. The auction also includes traditional wooden masks from Kerala and Karnataka, tribal jewelry including a pair of gilded silver Akota earrings from Gujarat and silver anklets from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, and a selection of functional objects like a toddy vessel and a bell-metal paan box.

One of the significant works featured in this auction is a wooden Theyyam Dancer’s Headgear from Kerala. Theyyam is a socio-religious performance and form of ritual worship practiced for several centuries in Northern Kerala to propitiate the gods, ancestral spirits and heroes. Theyyam is said to have more than 400 forms, each with a unique name and story to tell.

Performers wear oversized headgear, masks, breast plates, skirts and arm ornaments, and spend hours preparing themselves for the ritual. Worn by the ‘theyya’ or oracle, this elaborate headgear comprises several elaborately carved wooden sections, loosely joined by cord to give an illusion of movement when worn. The piece bears the figures of Goddess Laxmi and her two attendants at its apex, along with several inscriptions in the Tullu language.

Speaking about the auction, Dinesh Vazirani, CEO and Co-founder of Saffronart said, “One of our objectives has always been to promote Indian art and culture, and to build awareness and appreciation for India’s artistic heritage and traditions. The art market for contemporary Indian tribal and folk arts is still nascent, and with this sale we hope to develop it by offering collectors an opportunity to acquire original works of art by some of India’s most talented folk and tribal artists and craftspeople, and tapping the interest of collectors.”

The total lower and higher estimates for Saffronart’s Auction of Indian Folk and Tribal Art and Objects are Rs. 53.36 lakhs (US$ 99,060) and Rs. 67.59 lakhs (US$ 125,395) respectively. The sale will be accompanied by a printed catalogue of highlights, a complete online catalogue and a talk and Day-One event on August 21, 2012 in Mumbai. The sale will take place online on August 21-22, 2012. Collectors may place bids at Saffronart’s website, or via Saffronart’s proprietary iPad application, or iPhone and Blackberry mobile applications.