Photos of the mask that Bernardo is asking about can be seen in the link below for those of you who do not receive direct emails:Message 1 of 3 , Sep 29, 2006View SourcePhotos of the mask that Bernardo is asking about can be seen in the link below for those of you who do not receive direct emails:Welcome to the group Bernardo. I correspond with a few people in Brazil who also collect African art and a few of them are also members of this group.Doug gave an excellent response, and Lee's message about Yaure masks is worth a read if you haven't read it already.I don't have much to add, but I do have a recommendation. If you don't already have one, I would purchase a good general reference book on African art and familiarize yourself with the traditional art forms from various cultures. The book that I bought when I first started collecting was The Tribal Arts of Africa by Jean-Babtiste Bacquart. It is an excellent resource on a wide range of objects from a wide range of cultures. It's great for any range of collector, I find myself using this book first when I am trying to look something up and then moving to a more specialized book.The book is inexpensive, but as time goes on it will become invaluable to you. It's not an exhaustive resource on the objects from the cultures contained in the book, but it will be a good reference place when you are looking to purchase a mask or object and you want to see (and learn about) other objects from that culture, and see traditional styles of their objects.Many workshops in Africa have produced for many years, and currently produce masks/objects that are simply artistic creations of the artist. The artist may draw upon features found in masks/objects from various cultures and incorporate those features into his creation. At the same time these workshops, as well as others, will produce objects that are based solely on "traditional" forms of objects from specific cultures. These culturally specific "traditional" objects may be produced in the countries by the people who would normally use these types of objects, or these objects may be produced by people in cultures in other countries in Africa that would not normally produce these masks/objects.I won't do a very good job of describing this, so for a better and more comprehensive explanation of this I would highly recommend the article linked below:Hybridization occurred in older and traditional objects as well because of cultural proximity, migrations of cultures and often times different cultures would commission ritual objects to be carved from neighboring people and often times they would incorporate stylistic traits from those objects into the traditional objects they produced themselves.I do agree with you when you stated "...and have started a small collection of African art myself. Once you start, it's hard to stop".Once you start it is hard to stop, as you learn more and start to refine your tastes and build your collection it becomes even harder to stop. At least 2 times during this past year I have come to a decision that I need to stop collecting and sell everything. Sometimes it gets frustrating, but in the end the joy that I get from it all overcomes the frustration and I move on.I hope your question to the group doesn't frustrate you, it's all a learning process and we all go through it. It's important to set some goals for your collecting early on in my opinion. I didn't set any goals or rules until I had amassed a small bedroom sized room full of African art during my first year of collecting that I didn't know what to do with. Most of it was things I didn't have room to display, but a lot of it was things that I bought early on that as I learned more I didn't like as much as I did when I first bought them. That is when I made a decision that I needed to set some rules and goals for my collecting. We all start out collecting things that we like for the pure visual appeal of them and sometimes we learn that those objects were not based on traditional form or used for traditional purposes by the cultures... when we originally thought they were. I have objects in my house that aren't on my website that are not based on traditional forms, but I love them purely for their artistic merit. I try and collect objects that were traditionally used or objects that closely conform to traditional styles, everyone will develop their own criteria to collect from.The most important thing (at least to me) is to keep seeking information and opinions from others, just like you are doing. Some of it may not be things you want to hear, but through it you'll learn and grow as a collector and in the end you'll enjoy and love the things you collect even more.Cheers!RAND----- Original Message ----
From: drohrman <drohrman@...>
Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 9:05:15 AM
Subject: [African_Arts] Re: can you help me with this photograph
Very interesting hybrid mask.
(see Lee Rubenstein's excellent post dated September 22 on Yaure hybrids). http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/message/ 1475
This piece seems to adopt several disparate characteristics and elements of types found in traditional African art groups:
1.open eye holes more associated with Dan gle masks--but too almond-shaped to be Dan, except some "racing" masks-- or masks of the Wee and Guere;
2. arched eyebrows quite typical of Baule kpan and Yaure;
3. a rather healthy hornbill, found in many groups from Baga, Senufu to Baule/Yaure/ Guro---in Baule masks the hornbill is a common finial, but is usually diminuative;
4. colored triangle pattern associated with Nafana and Bwa plank masks, and, to confuse matters further, a common motif found in Yaure/Guro mask decoration-- although not so bold as this.
The lack of perfect symmetry in the ears is interesting as well. I think symmetry simply didn't matter to the artist, indeed, e.g., eyebrow arch lines in Baule masks pieces of the highest quality seldom have exact symmetry--clearly part of their characteristic charm. The pursed/pouting lips are intriguing, and a mystery to me. It is not quite the Akan pursed lips that sometimes seems to be drawn into a small pucker similar to this piece.
I will be very interested in what the others in this group say about
this piece. Can you share with us where you purchased the mask and
what the seller said about it?
--- In African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com, "Bernardo Figueiredo"
<bernardo@.. .> wrote:
> I am a new member to the group and up to now I have been following
> emails and trying to watch the pace of the group.myself.
> I live in Brazil and have started a small collection of African art
> Once you start it, it is hard to stop.origin.
> Well, I have this piece that I would like to know its ethinical
> Could anyone tell me where it is from and in which ocasions it isused?
> Thank you very much.
> Bernardo Figueiredo
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