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I hope this will be fun...

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  • William Klebous
    I hope this will be fun, because it definitely is relevant to this discussion of aesthetics, age, and authenticity... I ve uploaded three pics of an object I
    Message 1 of 20 , Oct 9, 2006
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      I hope this will be fun, because it definitely
      is relevant to this discussion of aesthetics, age,
      and authenticity...

      I've uploaded three pics of an object I bought
      about fifteen years ago, at an antique shop
      I frequented in NYC. The owner, although
      not super-knowledgable, did have a good eye
      for picking out old tribal things at the NYC
      estate sales he frequented, and it was not
      unusual for up-market dealers to be in his
      shop for the same reason I was, to get lucky
      and get something good and relatively inexpensive...

      While I did get lucky there a few times, much
      more often there would be anomalous objects
      which nobody was quite sure about, and sometimes,
      if it was cheap enough, I'd roll the dice and buy
      one of these anomalies...

      This object is one of those. It is 16 inches tall.
      My guess was that it was from the South Pacific, and
      over time I thought my research was doing a pretty
      good job of narrowing it down to probably Fiji...

      But one day while paging through an African art
      book, oh my God! There it was: three undeniably
      super-similar documented examples from a
      specific African tribe/nation from a specific
      time period. There was no doubt about it...

      I've since looked in dozens more reference books
      covering this region and have yet to find any
      other example, although I do not spend as much
      time in libraries as I used to. So its possible in
      the last five years more has been published, in which
      case this guessing game will probably not be any
      fun at all...

      http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/41bd?c=

      Anyway, if you do know what this object is because
      you have the right book in front of you, for the
      time being please just let others guess, and when
      people are done guessing I will scan in the book
      pages for everyone to see...

      Cheers!








      ____________________________________________________
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    • asiantrekker
      Hello all, Thank you, William, for a most interesting post. I think your statue is very unique and intriguing. I hope one day to know enough to be able to
      Message 2 of 20 , Oct 10, 2006
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        Hello all,

        Thank you, William, for a most interesting post. I think your statue is
        very unique and intriguing. I hope one day to know enough to be able to
        identify something like this on my own, but for now I will have to ask for
        helps from the expertise of other members.

        However, in the spirit of this thread, I would like to add another object
        to the exercise. I'm sure this is going to be much easier than William's
        object, but I thought it might be fun for other beginners like me in the
        group.

        The object can be seen in the Photo folder labeled 'Paisarn' or by
        clicking the link below.

        http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/a2b4

        I ordered this stool two weeks ago, despite its uncertain tribal
        attribution, just because I love the figure's bold gesture and presence.

        While it was in the mail, I accidentally discovered in one of my books a
        picture of a similar stool from a small tribe/culture. (which added the
        pleasure of 'discovery' to the whole thing when it was actually delivered
        today.)

        Although the stool in the book looks very very similar to mine, I'm not
        100% sure of this attribution -- because all I have is one published
        example to compare with.

        So I invite all group members to voice your opinions about this stool's
        source, age, authenticity, anything etc. It would be nice if someone will
        confirm the tribe/culture I have in mind and can point me to more
        examples.

        But I wouldn't be surprised either if my initial thought is wrong. With the
        high level of collective expertise in this group, your answers will be
        educational for me nonetheless.

        By the way, thank you, Lee, for additional information on the Tropical
        Museum. I ended up having no time to visit it while in Amsterdam, so
        for now the online collection will have to suffice.

        All the best, Paisarn


        --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, William Klebous <klebous@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > I hope this will be fun, because it definitely
        > is relevant to this discussion of aesthetics, age,
        > and authenticity...
        >
        > I've uploaded three pics of an object I bought
        > about fifteen years ago, at an antique shop
        > I frequented in NYC. The owner, although
        > not super-knowledgable, did have a good eye
        > for picking out old tribal things at the NYC
        > estate sales he frequented, and it was not
        > unusual for up-market dealers to be in his
        > shop for the same reason I was, to get lucky
        > and get something good and relatively inexpensive...
        >
        > While I did get lucky there a few times, much
        > more often there would be anomalous objects
        > which nobody was quite sure about, and sometimes,
        > if it was cheap enough, I'd roll the dice and buy
        > one of these anomalies...
        >
        > This object is one of those. It is 16 inches tall.
        > My guess was that it was from the South Pacific, and
        > over time I thought my research was doing a pretty
        > good job of narrowing it down to probably Fiji...
        >
        > But one day while paging through an African art
        > book, oh my God! There it was: three undeniably
        > super-similar documented examples from a
        > specific African tribe/nation from a specific
        > time period. There was no doubt about it...
        >
        > I've since looked in dozens more reference books
        > covering this region and have yet to find any
        > other example, although I do not spend as much
        > time in libraries as I used to. So its possible in
        > the last five years more has been published, in which
        > case this guessing game will probably not be any
        > fun at all...
        >
        > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/41bd?
        c=
        >
        > Anyway, if you do know what this object is because
        > you have the right book in front of you, for the
        > time being please just let others guess, and when
        > people are done guessing I will scan in the book
        > pages for everyone to see...
        >
        > Cheers!
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ____________________________________________________
        > On Yahoo!7
        > Messenger: Plug-in the fun with handy plug-ins
        > http://au.messenger.yahoo.com
        >
      • drohrman
        Hi William: A good one, William. I am betting it is an Asante Akua ba from Ghana. The flatness of the figure from the side, and the headdress seem to comport
        Message 3 of 20 , Oct 10, 2006
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          Hi William:

          A good one, William. I am betting it is an Asante Akua'ba from Ghana.
          The flatness of the figure from the side, and the headdress seem to
          comport with larger Akua'bas, related to the famous moon-faced
          fertility dolls and the flat rectangular two legged variety. These
          dolls/figures are, as you likely know, given in celebration to women
          who have had trouble in childbirth or who have been previously
          infertile (Akua) and finally become pregnant/deliver a baby ('ba).
          Also, there are a number of well-done modern Akan pieces on the
          market with the curious upslanting eyes...but I think that is not
          where I would go on this one.

          Here is a recent Ebay auction sale photo:

          http://cgi.liveauctions.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?
          ViewItem&category=28221&item=6632718344#la-image-1

          http://cgi.liveauctions.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?
          ViewItem&category=28221&item=6632718344#la-image-2

          That is my best guess. Others?

          Regards,

          Doug

          --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, William Klebous <klebous@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > I hope this will be fun, because it definitely
          > is relevant to this discussion of aesthetics, age,
          > and authenticity...
          >
          > I've uploaded three pics of an object I bought
          > about fifteen years ago, at an antique shop
          > I frequented in NYC. The owner, although
          > not super-knowledgable, did have a good eye
          > for picking out old tribal things at the NYC
          > estate sales he frequented, and it was not
          > unusual for up-market dealers to be in his
          > shop for the same reason I was, to get lucky
          > and get something good and relatively inexpensive...
          >
          > While I did get lucky there a few times, much
          > more often there would be anomalous objects
          > which nobody was quite sure about, and sometimes,
          > if it was cheap enough, I'd roll the dice and buy
          > one of these anomalies...
          >
          > This object is one of those. It is 16 inches tall.
          > My guess was that it was from the South Pacific, and
          > over time I thought my research was doing a pretty
          > good job of narrowing it down to probably Fiji...
          >
          > But one day while paging through an African art
          > book, oh my God! There it was: three undeniably
          > super-similar documented examples from a
          > specific African tribe/nation from a specific
          > time period. There was no doubt about it...
          >
          > I've since looked in dozens more reference books
          > covering this region and have yet to find any
          > other example, although I do not spend as much
          > time in libraries as I used to. So its possible in
          > the last five years more has been published, in which
          > case this guessing game will probably not be any
          > fun at all...
          >
          > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/41bd?c=
          >
          > Anyway, if you do know what this object is because
          > you have the right book in front of you, for the
          > time being please just let others guess, and when
          > people are done guessing I will scan in the book
          > pages for everyone to see...
          >
          > Cheers!
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > ____________________________________________________
          > On Yahoo!7
          > Messenger: Plug-in the fun with handy plug-ins
          > http://au.messenger.yahoo.com
          >
        • William Klebous
          Doug, there is absolutely no doubt that those ebay figures match both mine and the ones in the book I have here. However according to this book (done in
          Message 4 of 20 , Oct 10, 2006
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            Doug, there is absolutely no doubt that those
            ebay figures match both mine and the ones in
            the book I have here. However according to
            this book (done in association with the Metropolitan
            Museum of Art) these figures are neither Asante nor
            Akan nor any group from that geographical area
            (though I agree this is a very reasonable guess).

            The book backs up its identification with some
            fairly strong documentation, so at this point I
            definitely still have to go with what the book says.

            But what a great catch on your part to have
            discovered (remembered?) those figures on ebay,
            since they are apparently rare.

            WK


            --- drohrman <drohrman@...> wrote:

            > Hi William:
            >
            > A good one, William. I am betting it is an Asante
            > Akua'ba from Ghana.
            > The flatness of the figure from the side, and the
            > headdress seem to
            > comport with larger Akua'bas, related to the famous
            > moon-faced
            > fertility dolls and the flat rectangular two legged
            > variety. These
            > dolls/figures are, as you likely know, given in
            > celebration to women
            > who have had trouble in childbirth or who have been
            > previously
            > infertile (Akua) and finally become pregnant/deliver
            > a baby ('ba).
            > Also, there are a number of well-done modern Akan
            > pieces on the
            > market with the curious upslanting eyes...but I
            > think that is not
            > where I would go on this one.
            >
            > Here is a recent Ebay auction sale photo:
            >
            > http://cgi.liveauctions.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?
            > ViewItem&category=28221&item=6632718344#la-image-1
            >
            > http://cgi.liveauctions.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?
            > ViewItem&category=28221&item=6632718344#la-image-2
            >
            > That is my best guess. Others?
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Doug
            >
            > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, William Klebous
            > <klebous@...>
            > wrote:
            > >
            > > I hope this will be fun, because it definitely
            > > is relevant to this discussion of aesthetics, age,
            >
            > > and authenticity...
            > >
            > > I've uploaded three pics of an object I bought
            > > about fifteen years ago, at an antique shop
            > > I frequented in NYC. The owner, although
            > > not super-knowledgable, did have a good eye
            > > for picking out old tribal things at the NYC
            > > estate sales he frequented, and it was not
            > > unusual for up-market dealers to be in his
            > > shop for the same reason I was, to get lucky
            > > and get something good and relatively
            > inexpensive...
            > >
            > > While I did get lucky there a few times, much
            > > more often there would be anomalous objects
            > > which nobody was quite sure about, and sometimes,
            > > if it was cheap enough, I'd roll the dice and buy
            > > one of these anomalies...
            > >
            > > This object is one of those. It is 16 inches
            > tall.
            > > My guess was that it was from the South Pacific,
            > and
            > > over time I thought my research was doing a pretty
            >
            > > good job of narrowing it down to probably Fiji...
            > >
            > > But one day while paging through an African art
            > > book, oh my God! There it was: three undeniably
            > > super-similar documented examples from a
            > > specific African tribe/nation from a specific
            > > time period. There was no doubt about it...
            > >
            > > I've since looked in dozens more reference books
            > > covering this region and have yet to find any
            > > other example, although I do not spend as much
            > > time in libraries as I used to. So its possible in
            >
            > > the last five years more has been published, in
            > which
            > > case this guessing game will probably not be any
            > > fun at all...
            > >
            > >
            >
            http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/41bd?c=
            > >
            > > Anyway, if you do know what this object is because
            >
            > > you have the right book in front of you, for the
            > > time being please just let others guess, and when
            > > people are done guessing I will scan in the book
            > > pages for everyone to see...
            > >
            > > Cheers!
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > ____________________________________________________
            >
            > > On Yahoo!7
            > > Messenger: Plug-in the fun with handy plug-ins
            > > http://au.messenger.yahoo.com
            > >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > African Arts and Culture Discussion Group
            >
            > *Website for the group:
            > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/
            >
            > *Photos folder for the group:
            > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos
            >
            >
            > *Message archives for the group:
            > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/messages
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >




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          • drohrman
            Hi Paisarn: Based on the subject matter (stool), the almond eyes, the kneeling caryatid, and explicit rendering of genitals, my guess on the style would be the
            Message 5 of 20 , Oct 10, 2006
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              Hi Paisarn:

              Based on the subject matter (stool), the almond eyes, the kneeling
              caryatid, and explicit rendering of genitals, my guess on the style
              would be the obvious: Tabwa, because of the hair---although the hair
              isn't quite right; not wrong, but the pigtail isn't classically
              Tabwa/Luba--; and of course, possibly Luba, because that culture made
              a lot of these sorts of items. However, in general, Luba headdress is
              more pronounced, with the cruciform backside. The brass tacks that
              are more Songye in nature, throw me somewhat. The Luba/Hemba/Tabwa
              cultures were interwoven in the S.E. DRC, but the Tabwa have their
              own very rich, if somewhat subsidiary, culture to the Luba. My gut
              reaction is that this is 2d 1/2 of 20th century. It is a nicely done
              piece.

              I defer to others for more explicit analysis.

              Kind regards,

              Doug

              --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "asiantrekker"
              <asiantrekker@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hello all,
              >
              > Thank you, William, for a most interesting post. I think your
              statue is
              > very unique and intriguing. I hope one day to know enough to be
              able to
              > identify something like this on my own, but for now I will have to
              ask for
              > helps from the expertise of other members.
              >
              > However, in the spirit of this thread, I would like to add another
              object
              > to the exercise. I'm sure this is going to be much easier than
              William's
              > object, but I thought it might be fun for other beginners like me
              in the
              > group.
              >
              > The object can be seen in the Photo folder labeled 'Paisarn' or by
              > clicking the link below.
              >
              > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/a2b4
              >
              > I ordered this stool two weeks ago, despite its uncertain tribal
              > attribution, just because I love the figure's bold gesture and
              presence.
              >
              > While it was in the mail, I accidentally discovered in one of my
              books a
              > picture of a similar stool from a small tribe/culture. (which added
              the
              > pleasure of 'discovery' to the whole thing when it was actually
              delivered
              > today.)
              >
              > Although the stool in the book looks very very similar to mine, I'm
              not
              > 100% sure of this attribution -- because all I have is one
              published
              > example to compare with.
              >
              > So I invite all group members to voice your opinions about this
              stool's
              > source, age, authenticity, anything etc. It would be nice if
              someone will
              > confirm the tribe/culture I have in mind and can point me to more
              > examples.
              >
              > But I wouldn't be surprised either if my initial thought is wrong.
              With the
              > high level of collective expertise in this group, your answers will
              be
              > educational for me nonetheless.
              >
              > By the way, thank you, Lee, for additional information on the
              Tropical
              > Museum. I ended up having no time to visit it while in Amsterdam,
              so
              > for now the online collection will have to suffice.
              >
              > All the best, Paisarn
              >
              >
              > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, William Klebous <klebous@>
              > wrote:
              > >
              > > I hope this will be fun, because it definitely
              > > is relevant to this discussion of aesthetics, age,
              > > and authenticity...
              > >
              > > I've uploaded three pics of an object I bought
              > > about fifteen years ago, at an antique shop
              > > I frequented in NYC. The owner, although
              > > not super-knowledgable, did have a good eye
              > > for picking out old tribal things at the NYC
              > > estate sales he frequented, and it was not
              > > unusual for up-market dealers to be in his
              > > shop for the same reason I was, to get lucky
              > > and get something good and relatively inexpensive...
              > >
              > > While I did get lucky there a few times, much
              > > more often there would be anomalous objects
              > > which nobody was quite sure about, and sometimes,
              > > if it was cheap enough, I'd roll the dice and buy
              > > one of these anomalies...
              > >
              > > This object is one of those. It is 16 inches tall.
              > > My guess was that it was from the South Pacific, and
              > > over time I thought my research was doing a pretty
              > > good job of narrowing it down to probably Fiji...
              > >
              > > But one day while paging through an African art
              > > book, oh my God! There it was: three undeniably
              > > super-similar documented examples from a
              > > specific African tribe/nation from a specific
              > > time period. There was no doubt about it...
              > >
              > > I've since looked in dozens more reference books
              > > covering this region and have yet to find any
              > > other example, although I do not spend as much
              > > time in libraries as I used to. So its possible in
              > > the last five years more has been published, in which
              > > case this guessing game will probably not be any
              > > fun at all...
              > >
              > > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/41bd?
              > c=
              > >
              > > Anyway, if you do know what this object is because
              > > you have the right book in front of you, for the
              > > time being please just let others guess, and when
              > > people are done guessing I will scan in the book
              > > pages for everyone to see...
              > >
              > > Cheers!
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > ____________________________________________________
              > > On Yahoo!7
              > > Messenger: Plug-in the fun with handy plug-ins
              > > http://au.messenger.yahoo.com
              > >
              >
            • Rohrman, Douglass
              William: Ok, I give up! ; ) I can in no way dispute the Met s experts. Lee and Rand will undoubtedly help here. What book identifies this piece? I remembered
              Message 6 of 20 , Oct 10, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                William:

                Ok, I give up! ;>)

                I can in no way dispute the Met's experts. Lee and Rand will undoubtedly
                help here. What book identifies this piece?

                I remembered the piece from Ebay and Cowan's auction, and it being
                deaccessed from some museum in Cincinnati.

                What are its dimensions? Weight? It seems polished. Very, very unusual.
                There are those hands again...Luba...Buli master-like splayed fingers.

                We all wait with baited breath for resolution of this item.

                Best,

                Doug


                Douglass F. Rohrman
                Lord, Bissell & Brook, LLP
                111 South Wacker Drive
                Chicago, Illinois 60606-4410 USA
                drohrman@...
                312-443-0531
                FAX 312-896-6531


                -----Original Message-----
                From: William Klebous [mailto:klebous@...]
                Sent: Tuesday, October 10, 2006 9:34 AM
                To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
                Cc: Rohrman, Douglass
                Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: I hope this will be fun...

                Doug, there is absolutely no doubt that those ebay figures match both
                mine and the ones in the book I have here. However according to this
                book (done in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art) these
                figures are neither Asante nor Akan nor any group from that geographical
                area (though I agree this is a very reasonable guess).

                The book backs up its identification with some fairly strong
                documentation, so at this point I definitely still have to go with what
                the book says.

                But what a great catch on your part to have discovered (remembered?)
                those figures on ebay, since they are apparently rare.

                WK


                --- drohrman <drohrman@...> wrote:

                > Hi William:
                >
                > A good one, William. I am betting it is an Asante Akua'ba from Ghana.
                > The flatness of the figure from the side, and the headdress seem to
                > comport with larger Akua'bas, related to the famous moon-faced
                > fertility dolls and the flat rectangular two legged variety. These
                > dolls/figures are, as you likely know, given in celebration to women
                > who have had trouble in childbirth or who have been previously
                > infertile (Akua) and finally become pregnant/deliver a baby ('ba).
                > Also, there are a number of well-done modern Akan pieces on the market

                > with the curious upslanting eyes...but I think that is not where I
                > would go on this one.
                >
                > Here is a recent Ebay auction sale photo:
                >
                > http://cgi.liveauctions.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?
                > ViewItem&category=28221&item=6632718344#la-image-1
                >
                > http://cgi.liveauctions.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?
                > ViewItem&category=28221&item=6632718344#la-image-2
                >
                > That is my best guess. Others?
                >
                > Regards,
                >
                > Doug
                >
                > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, William Klebous <klebous@...>
                > wrote:
                > >
                > > I hope this will be fun, because it definitely is relevant to this
                > > discussion of aesthetics, age,
                >
                > > and authenticity...
                > >
                > > I've uploaded three pics of an object I bought about fifteen years
                > > ago, at an antique shop I frequented in NYC. The owner, although
                > > not super-knowledgable, did have a good eye for picking out old
                > > tribal things at the NYC estate sales he frequented, and it was not
                > > unusual for up-market dealers to be in his shop for the same reason
                > > I was, to get lucky and get something good and relatively
                > inexpensive...
                > >
                > > While I did get lucky there a few times, much more often there would

                > > be anomalous objects which nobody was quite sure about, and
                > > sometimes, if it was cheap enough, I'd roll the dice and buy one of
                > > these anomalies...
                > >
                > > This object is one of those. It is 16 inches
                > tall.
                > > My guess was that it was from the South Pacific,
                > and
                > > over time I thought my research was doing a pretty
                >
                > > good job of narrowing it down to probably Fiji...
                > >
                > > But one day while paging through an African art book, oh my God!
                > > There it was: three undeniably super-similar documented examples
                > > from a specific African tribe/nation from a specific time period.
                > > There was no doubt about it...
                > >
                > > I've since looked in dozens more reference books covering this
                > > region and have yet to find any other example, although I do not
                > > spend as much time in libraries as I used to. So its possible in
                >
                > > the last five years more has been published, in
                > which
                > > case this guessing game will probably not be any fun at all...
                > >
                > >
                >
                http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/41bd?c=
                > >
                > > Anyway, if you do know what this object is because
                >
                > > you have the right book in front of you, for the time being please
                > > just let others guess, and when people are done guessing I will scan

                > > in the book pages for everyone to see...
                > >
                > > Cheers!
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
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              • William Klebous
                Paisarn, I definitely am no expert (after all I thought my figure was from Fiji!) but I will give you my best guess on yours. I think it is from the
                Message 7 of 20 , Oct 10, 2006
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                  Paisarn, I definitely am no expert (after all
                  I thought my figure was from Fiji!) but I will
                  give you my best guess on yours. I think it is
                  from the Luba-Hemba complex, but exactly where
                  I have no idea. Because of the muddy artifical-
                  looking patina to the base and an exagerated, almost
                  pop-art quality to the face, I think it is almost
                  certainly post-1950 and possibly considerably
                  more recent. Nonetheless I think overall it is
                  aesthetically strong, the work of a talented
                  native carver who was not simply copying well-known
                  historical examples of such stools, but rather doing
                  his own thing, doing his best to make a beautiful
                  object that someone would want to buy. Even if this
                  example is not tribally used, I think it is quite
                  likely that a carver this skillful was also making
                  objects for indigenous use. Although there might
                  be a tendency these days to label such an object
                  "non-authentic", I think it is at least a very
                  sincere piece of folk art that will be appreciated
                  on its own terms more and more as time goes by. WK

                  --- asiantrekker <asiantrekker@...> wrote:

                  > Hello all,
                  >
                  > Thank you, William, for a most interesting post. I
                  > think your statue is
                  > very unique and intriguing. I hope one day to know
                  > enough to be able to
                  > identify something like this on my own, but for now
                  > I will have to ask for
                  > helps from the expertise of other members.
                  >
                  > However, in the spirit of this thread, I would like
                  > to add another object
                  > to the exercise. I'm sure this is going to be much
                  > easier than William's
                  > object, but I thought it might be fun for other
                  > beginners like me in the
                  > group.
                  >
                  > The object can be seen in the Photo folder labeled
                  > 'Paisarn' or by
                  > clicking the link below.
                  >
                  >
                  http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/a2b4
                  >
                  > I ordered this stool two weeks ago, despite its
                  > uncertain tribal
                  > attribution, just because I love the figure's bold
                  > gesture and presence.
                  >
                  > While it was in the mail, I accidentally discovered
                  > in one of my books a
                  > picture of a similar stool from a small
                  > tribe/culture. (which added the
                  > pleasure of 'discovery' to the whole thing when it
                  > was actually delivered
                  > today.)
                  >
                  > Although the stool in the book looks very very
                  > similar to mine, I'm not
                  > 100% sure of this attribution -- because all I have
                  > is one published
                  > example to compare with.
                  >
                  > So I invite all group members to voice your opinions
                  > about this stool's
                  > source, age, authenticity, anything etc. It would be
                  > nice if someone will
                  > confirm the tribe/culture I have in mind and can
                  > point me to more
                  > examples.
                  >
                  > But I wouldn't be surprised either if my initial
                  > thought is wrong. With the
                  > high level of collective expertise in this group,
                  > your answers will be
                  > educational for me nonetheless.
                  >
                  > By the way, thank you, Lee, for additional
                  > information on the Tropical
                  > Museum. I ended up having no time to visit it while
                  > in Amsterdam, so
                  > for now the online collection will have to suffice.
                  >
                  > All the best, Paisarn
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, William Klebous
                  > <klebous@...>
                  > wrote:
                  > >
                  > > I hope this will be fun, because it definitely
                  > > is relevant to this discussion of aesthetics, age,
                  >
                  > > and authenticity...
                  > >
                  > > I've uploaded three pics of an object I bought
                  > > about fifteen years ago, at an antique shop
                  > > I frequented in NYC. The owner, although
                  > > not super-knowledgable, did have a good eye
                  > > for picking out old tribal things at the NYC
                  > > estate sales he frequented, and it was not
                  > > unusual for up-market dealers to be in his
                  > > shop for the same reason I was, to get lucky
                  > > and get something good and relatively
                  > inexpensive...
                  > >
                  > > While I did get lucky there a few times, much
                  > > more often there would be anomalous objects
                  > > which nobody was quite sure about, and sometimes,
                  > > if it was cheap enough, I'd roll the dice and buy
                  > > one of these anomalies...
                  > >
                  > > This object is one of those. It is 16 inches
                  > tall.
                  > > My guess was that it was from the South Pacific,
                  > and
                  > > over time I thought my research was doing a pretty
                  >
                  > > good job of narrowing it down to probably Fiji...
                  > >
                  > > But one day while paging through an African art
                  > > book, oh my God! There it was: three undeniably
                  > > super-similar documented examples from a
                  > > specific African tribe/nation from a specific
                  > > time period. There was no doubt about it...
                  > >
                  > > I've since looked in dozens more reference books
                  > > covering this region and have yet to find any
                  > > other example, although I do not spend as much
                  > > time in libraries as I used to. So its possible in
                  >
                  > > the last five years more has been published, in
                  > which
                  > > case this guessing game will probably not be any
                  > > fun at all...
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/41bd?
                  > c=
                  > >
                  > > Anyway, if you do know what this object is because
                  >
                  > > you have the right book in front of you, for the
                  > > time being please just let others guess, and when
                  > > people are done guessing I will scan in the book
                  > > pages for everyone to see...
                  > >
                  > > Cheers!
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > ____________________________________________________
                  >
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                  > > Messenger: Plug-in the fun with handy plug-ins
                  > > http://au.messenger.yahoo.com
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > African Arts and Culture Discussion Group
                  >
                  > *Website for the group:
                  > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/
                  >
                  > *Photos folder for the group:
                  > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos
                  >
                  >
                  > *Message archives for the group:
                  > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/messages
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
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                  >
                  >
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                • P L
                  William and Doug, Thank you for your opinions so far. Of course, for a stool Luba complex is always a good place to start! Now I thought I might just add the
                  Message 8 of 20 , Oct 10, 2006
                  • 0 Attachment
                    William and Doug,
                     
                    Thank you for your opinions so far. Of course, for a stool Luba complex is always a good place to start! Now I thought I might just add the picture of a published example that I mentioned earlier.
                     
                     
                    Unfortunately, there's only the front view and I can't magnify it much further, but I hope you can see the obvious similarities from the figural posture to the face and scarification. (This is from a book that I believe most members of this group have in their libraries.)
                     
                    Now have I made it all too easy?
                     
                    All the best, Paisarn

                    William Klebous <klebous@...> wrote:
                    Paisarn, I definitely am no expert (after all
                    I thought my figure was from Fiji!) but I will
                    give you my best guess on yours. I think it is
                    from the Luba-Hemba complex, but exactly where
                    I have no idea. Because of the muddy artifical-
                    looking patina to the base and an exagerated, almost
                    pop-art quality to the face, I think it is almost
                    certainly post-1950 and possibly considerably
                    more recent. Nonetheless I think overall it is
                    aesthetically strong, the work of a talented
                    native carver who was not simply copying well-known
                    historical examples of such stools, but rather doing
                    his own thing, doing his best to make a beautiful
                    object that someone would want to buy. Even if this
                    example is not tribally used, I think it is quite
                    likely that a carver this skillful was also making
                    objects for indigenous use. Although there might
                    be a tendency these days to label such an object
                    "non-authentic" , I think it is at least a very
                    sincere piece of folk art that will be appreciated
                    on its own terms more and more as time goes by. WK

                    --- asiantrekker <asiantrekker@ yahoo.com> wrote:

                    > Hello all,
                    >
                    > Thank you, William, for a most interesting post. I
                    > think your statue is
                    > very unique and intriguing. I hope one day to know
                    > enough to be able to
                    > identify something like this on my own, but for now
                    > I will have to ask for
                    > helps from the expertise of other members.
                    >
                    > However, in the spirit of this thread, I would like
                    > to add another object
                    > to the exercise. I'm sure this is going to be much
                    > easier than William's
                    > object, but I thought it might be fun for other
                    > beginners like me in the
                    > group.
                    >
                    > The object can be seen in the Photo folder labeled
                    > 'Paisarn' or by
                    > clicking the link below.
                    >
                    >
                    http://ph.groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/photos/ browse/a2b4
                    >
                    > I ordered this stool two weeks ago, despite its
                    > uncertain tribal
                    > attribution, just because I love the figure's bold
                    > gesture and presence.
                    >
                    > While it was in the mail, I accidentally discovered
                    > in one of my books a
                    > picture of a similar stool from a small
                    > tribe/culture. (which added the
                    > pleasure of 'discovery' to the whole thing when it
                    > was actually delivered
                    > today.)
                    >
                    > Although the stool in the book looks very very
                    > similar to mine, I'm not
                    > 100% sure of this attribution -- because all I have
                    > is one published
                    > example to compare with.
                    >
                    > So I invite all group members to voice your opinions
                    > about this stool's
                    > source, age, authenticity, anything etc. It would be
                    > nice if someone will
                    > confirm the tribe/culture I have in mind and can
                    > point me to more
                    > examples.
                    >
                    > But I wouldn't be surprised either if my initial
                    > thought is wrong. With the
                    > high level of collective expertise in this group,
                    > your answers will be
                    > educational for me nonetheless.
                    >
                    > By the way, thank you, Lee, for additional
                    > information on the Tropical
                    > Museum. I ended up having no time to visit it while
                    > in Amsterdam, so
                    > for now the online collection will have to suffice.
                    >
                    > All the best, Paisarn
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com, William Klebous
                    > <klebous@... >
                    > wrote:
                    > >
                    > > I hope this will be fun, because it definitely
                    > > is relevant to this discussion of aesthetics, age,
                    >
                    > > and authenticity. ..
                    > >
                    > > I've uploaded three pics of an object I bought
                    > > about fifteen years ago, at an antique shop
                    > > I frequented in NYC. The owner, although
                    > > not super-knowledgable, did have a good eye
                    > > for picking out old tribal things at the NYC
                    > > estate sales he frequented, and it was not
                    > > unusual for up-market dealers to be in his
                    > > shop for the same reason I was, to get lucky
                    > > and get something good and relatively
                    > inexpensive. ..
                    > >
                    > > While I did get lucky there a few times, much
                    > > more often there would be anomalous objects
                    > > which nobody was quite sure about, and sometimes,
                    > > if it was cheap enough, I'd roll the dice and buy
                    > > one of these anomalies...
                    > >
                    > > This object is one of those. It is 16 inches
                    > tall.
                    > > My guess was that it was from the South Pacific,
                    > and
                    > > over time I thought my research was doing a pretty
                    >
                    > > good job of narrowing it down to probably Fiji...
                    > >
                    > > But one day while paging through an African art
                    > > book, oh my God! There it was: three undeniably
                    > > super-similar documented examples from a
                    > > specific African tribe/nation from a specific
                    > > time period. There was no doubt about it...
                    > >
                    > > I've since looked in dozens more reference books
                    > > covering this region and have yet to find any
                    > > other example, although I do not spend as much
                    > > time in libraries as I used to. So its possible in
                    >
                    > > the last five years more has been published, in
                    > which
                    > > case this guessing game will probably not be any
                    > > fun at all...
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    http://ph.groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/photos/ browse/41bd?
                    > c=
                    > >
                    > > Anyway, if you do know what this object is because
                    >
                    > > you have the right book in front of you, for the
                    > > time being please just let others guess, and when
                    > > people are done guessing I will scan in the book
                    > > pages for everyone to see...
                    > >
                    > > Cheers!
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ____
                    >
                    > > On Yahoo!7
                    > > Messenger: Plug-in the fun with handy plug-ins
                    > > http://au.messenger .yahoo.com
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > African Arts and Culture Discussion Group
                    >
                    > *Website for the group:
                    > http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/
                    >
                    > *Photos folder for the group:
                    > http://ph.groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/photos
                    >
                    >
                    > *Message archives for the group:
                    > http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/messages
                    >
                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >


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                  • LRubinstein@post.harvard.edu
                    Guardian Figures. Northern/Mbum. Wood, charcoal. 19 , 16 .5 and 19 , respectively. From Paul Gebauer, Art of Cameroon, p. 198. Two Figures of
                    Message 9 of 20 , Oct 10, 2006
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                      Guardian Figures.  Northern/Mbum.  Wood, charcoal.  19", 16".5" and 19", respectively. From Paul Gebauer, Art of Cameroon, p. 198.
                      Two Figures of Ancestors.  Possibly from Cameroons.  Wood, height 33 and 31.5 cm, Naprstek Museum, Prague.  From W. &. B. Forman, Exotic Art, London:  Spring Books, n.d., p. 117.
                      William:
                       
                      I have seen this figural style from the Cameroon Grasslands attributed to the Bali but can't put my finger on those particular sources at the moment.  However, Gebauer identified three figures of this type (above left) as Mbum Guardian Figures from the northern Grasslands region of Cameroon, although his description further suggests this specific attribution as "debatable," noting that the three figures from his collection (and subsequently donated to the Portland Art Museum) "...were collected in 1937 in Dschang market, Bamileke art area."  He continues to state that 'French art dealers claim Bamum origin.'"  Even more interestingly, he continues:  "We now consider these controversial objects to be early attempts of northern craftsmen to turn traditional cult designs into marketable Hausa trade goods.   They may be referred to as art forms in transition. "  Paul Gebauer, Art of Cameroon.  Portland, OR:  Portland Art Museum. 1979. [p. 187].)
                       
                      He does also make reference to the similar figures in the Naprstek Museum in Prague described as "Possibly from Cameroons" (above right) which appear in the Forman work, Exotic Art.  While the arms of the Naprstek figures are down, those of the Gebauer trio and yours are upward, a gesture reminiscent of arm positions associated with respect in Bamum regions (posture when addressing a fon) and also visible in Mambila figures from further north, although I do not recall the specific symbolism attributed to the latter occurrence. 
                       
                      I've said it before but... within the Grasslands region are hundreds of chefferies and other groupings who have a long history of diverse interactions, including specifically the movements of objects through systems of trade, craft specialization and political tribute.  Then there are the influences from and upon the societies to the north and west.    Attribution is tentative at best for many western and northern Cameroon objects -- in the same way we saw it difficult to trace the style -- and thus in situ significance of Todd's horned mask from southeastern Nigeria.
                       
                      I agree with you that what one can possibly recognize with regard to style and origin is indeed absolutely delimited by the range of one's access to images and identifications, whether the latter are relatively certain or wholly tentative.  Any book -- or museum visit -- is worth its weight in whatever you value if it reveals just one more image that opens a range of attributive possibilities that might not have been previously considered when seeking clues for identification.  Relatively few of the thousands of African cultural traditions over time are well documented (nor is much documentation when existent published widely, if at all) and the references one can find in general literature, even the most detailed, overlook many traditions, eras within traditions and historical syntheses of evolving styles through time and culture contact.  The more images, the more information, the better.  Viewed through critical, cross-referencing  (bleary, tired) eyes.
                       
                      More on this region...and the broader issue...at some point.  Lee
                    • Erik Lewandowski
                      Thanks Paul, William, Lee, I am still trying to find as much as I can on this mystery mask. I know one thing, I loved this mask from the time that I saw it and
                      Message 10 of 20 , Oct 11, 2006
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                        Thanks Paul, William, Lee,
                         
                        I am still trying to find as much as I can on this mystery mask.
                        I know one thing, I loved this mask from the time that I saw it and then I got it, even that it is an item not found in any tribal literature, books, etc.
                         
                        I guess my philosophy is: if you like it, get it.
                         
                        Thank you all for an effort to help me ID this item, I am not giving up on it.
                        I think tribal art is well documented-identified in the books as prior to 1950. 
                         
                        Do any one have any information, if there have been studies/research done on the more modern tribal trends/changes, influence from outside sources on the culture of old tribal societies.
                         
                        Erik
                         


                        LRubinstein@... wrote:
                        Erik:
                         
                        Firstly, thanks to Paul and William for sharing their impressions in response to the image of the mask which you posted.
                         
                        I, too, am mystified by the possible origins of this mask and find little (i.e., nothing) to support the idea that it hails from the Bongo or any other Sudanese group.  I have searched about for related masks forms from as far north as Sudan southward all the way into Swaziland and haven't come across any related examples.  The use of bold painted coloration seems to be not particularly common in this broad swathe of geography.  My inclination is to search somewhat more eastward and more fully southward -- among masking traditions where bold coloration such as that of your mask is found -- perhaps in Zambia, Malawi, or Zimbabwe...perhaps as far south as Botswana or Swaziland.  Particularly worth considering is the possible introduction of more southerly influences into the region -- particularly in Zambia -- by the northward migration of Ngoni, Tsonga, Ila and other groups fleeing Zulu domination in southern Africa.  Just a thought.
                         
                        And another thought:
                        Applied beadwork is used more frequently than paint in adding coloration to masks and, more commonly, other objects  of adornment from Eastern Africa as well as Southern Africa.  In addition to the broad selection of beaded garments and accessories found throughout the region, colored beads have been used in the creation of masks by Iraqw (Mbulu District, Arusha region of Tanzania), Makonde and Tabwa peoples in the region whence cometh your mask, although I don't see any real similarity or relationship between objects from these traditions and the mask presented.  So, all I can offer are these most general observations at the present time.
                         
                        One additional thought I would like to share for now is this:  Upon initial consideration of your mask, it appeared to me as a "highly abstract" representation.  However, when I came upon the image of the mask below, I was struck by the similarity of the line patterns -- under the eye, on the cheeks and on the forehead -- on your mask and those on this more "realistic mask" from Botswana:
                         
                        I am not suggesting a direct relationship between the masks but I was struck by the fact that the lined patterns which appear on both masks are remarkably similar, suggesting that they are rather different approaches to portraying the lines that appear on a face -- one through a more literal portrayal and one through the use of color and geometry.  Such lines tend to become more prominent in individuals of more advanced age, so an association with elders may be a helpful clue in seeking origins and possible significance for your mask. 
                         
                        I may be well off the mark with regard to any or all of these thoughts, but this is what I can offer you at this time.  I'll add your mask to my ever-growing list of "anomalous and unidentified" forms. 
                         
                        Thanks for sharing the mask.  Lee
                         
                         

                      • William Klebous
                        Lee, yes, I was using the Gebauer book, so no need for me to scan the pic now. And thank you for the other pic and your insightful comments... Besides the fun
                        Message 11 of 20 , Oct 12, 2006
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                          Lee, yes, I was using the Gebauer book, so no
                          need for me to scan the pic now. And thank you
                          for the other pic and your insightful comments...

                          Besides the fun of the guessing, my other purpose
                          in putting this piece up for discussion, was exactly
                          the point Lee hightlighed from the book: "We now
                          consider these controversial objects to be
                          early attempts of northern craftsmen to turn
                          traditional cult designs into marketable Hausa
                          trade goods."

                          In other words, tourist art! Seventy year old
                          tourist art from Cameroon, considerably earlier
                          than a lot of wonderful tribally used objects from
                          the same area...

                          Also I have to say that the pics of these objects
                          do them no justice, or rather, too much justice.
                          What I mean is they look a lot more interesting
                          in the pics than they do in person. There is
                          a slapdash quality to the carving which is quite
                          atypical for Central African sculpture of the 1930s.
                          In that unfortunate sense they are ahead of their
                          time,
                          harbingers of all the terrible things that were
                          soon to fill market stalls in Africa and beyond...

                          I say this even if some of these objects, including
                          maybe mine, were bought by Africans and utilized
                          as some sort of personal fetish objects by those
                          who could maybe not afford better. I'm not saying
                          they have no historical or anthropological value,
                          just that they are bad art...

                          And I realize this question of aethetics, that is,
                          what is good art and bad art, is monstrously complex,
                          with no crystal clear answers possible (as opposed
                          to dating an object or placing it culturally, where
                          clear answers do sometimes exist). But nonetheless
                          for me as an art collector it is an inescapable
                          consideration...

                          That said, if it is considered bad form in this group
                          to comment on the aesthetics of an object, not just
                          its age and cultural context, then someone please let
                          me know and I will stop doing it...

                          But just to make sure I am being clear about what
                          I mean by aesthetics, I do not mean a collection
                          of abstract universal concepts that apply equally
                          to all objects. Rather, my idea of it is more in
                          line with what Lee has written about needing to see
                          as many similar objects as possible, to try to
                          understand a piece from the carver's point of view,
                          to try to understand just how precious and heartfelt
                          it was (or was not) for him or her. That intensity of
                          feeling is what I mostly mean by beauty.

                          So, lastly, returning to my Mbum? figure, if it had
                          indeed turned out to be from Fiji, in THAT cultural
                          context, my judgement on its aesthetics would not
                          nearly be so harsh. In THAT cultural context,
                          it would not have ranked nearly so low in terms of
                          "beauty".

                          WK

                          --- LRubinstein@... wrote:

                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Guardian Figures. Northern/Mbum. Wood, charcoal.
                          > 19", 16".5" and 19",
                          > respectively. From Paul Gebauer, Art of Cameroon,
                          > p. 198.
                          >
                          > Two Figures of Ancestors. Possibly from Cameroons.
                          > Wood, height 33 and
                          > 31.5 cm, Naprstek Museum, Prague. From W. &. B.
                          > Forman, Exotic Art, London:
                          > Spring Books, n.d., p. 117.
                          >
                          > William:
                          >
                          > I have seen this figural style from the Cameroon
                          > Grasslands attributed to
                          > the Bali but can't put my finger on those particular
                          > sources at the moment.
                          > However, Gebauer identified three figures of this
                          > type (above left) as Mbum
                          > Guardian Figures from the northern Grasslands
                          > region of Cameroon, although his
                          > description further suggests this specific
                          > attribution as "debatable," noting
                          > that the three figures from his collection (and
                          > subsequently donated to the
                          > Portland Art Museum) "...were collected in 1937 in
                          > Dschang market, Bamileke
                          > art area." He continues to state that 'French art
                          > dealers claim Bamum
                          > origin.'" Even more interestingly, he continues:
                          > "We now consider these
                          > controversial objects to be early attempts of
                          > northern craftsmen to turn traditional
                          > cult designs into marketable Hausa trade goods.
                          > They may be referred to as
                          > art forms in transition. " Paul Gebauer, Art of
                          > Cameroon. Portland, OR:
                          > Portland Art Museum. 1979. [p. 187].)
                          >
                          > He does also make reference to the similar figures
                          > in the Naprstek Museum in
                          > Prague described as "Possibly from Cameroons" (above
                          > right) which appear in
                          > the Forman work, Exotic Art. While the arms of the
                          > Naprstek figures are
                          > down, those of the Gebauer trio and yours are
                          > upward, a gesture reminiscent of
                          > arm positions associated with respect in Bamum
                          > regions (posture when addressing
                          > a fon) and also visible in Mambila figures from
                          > further north, although I do
                          > not recall the specific symbolism attributed to the
                          > latter occurrence.
                          >
                          > I've said it before but... within the Grasslands
                          > region are hundreds of
                          > chefferies and other groupings who have a long
                          > history of diverse interactions,
                          > including specifically the movements of objects
                          > through systems of trade,
                          > craft specialization and political tribute. Then
                          > there are the influences from
                          > and upon the societies to the north and west.
                          > Attribution is tentative at
                          > best for many western and northern Cameroon objects
                          > -- in the same way we saw
                          > it difficult to trace the style -- and thus in situ
                          > significance of Todd's
                          > horned mask from southeastern Nigeria.
                          >
                          > I agree with you that what one can possibly
                          > recognize with regard to style
                          > and origin is indeed absolutely delimited by the
                          > range of one's access to
                          > images and identifications, whether the latter are
                          > relatively certain or wholly
                          > tentative. Any book -- or museum visit -- is worth
                          > its weight in whatever you
                          > value if it reveals just one more image that opens a
                          > range of attributive
                          > possibilities that might not have been previously
                          > considered when seeking clues
                          > for identification. Relatively few of the
                          > thousands of African cultural
                          > traditions over time are well documented (nor is
                          > much documentation when
                          > existent published widely, if at all) and the
                          > references one can find in general
                          > literature, even the most detailed, overlook many
                          > traditions, eras within
                          > traditions and historical syntheses of evolving
                          > styles through time and culture
                          > contact. The more images, the more information,
                          > the better. Viewed through
                          > critical, cross-referencing (bleary, tired) eyes.
                          >
                          > More on this region...and the broader issue...at
                          > some point. Lee
                          >




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                        • Bob Ibold
                          Hi Eric, Neither could I identify it. Though I m not an expert on any particular culture, my knowledge of masks in general is pretty good. If you ever get
                          Message 12 of 20 , Oct 12, 2006
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                            Hi Eric,
                            Neither could I identify it. Though I'm not an expert on any particular culture, my knowledge of masks in general is pretty good. If you ever get another Mystery Mask, please give me a second chance.

                            Best regards, Bob Ibold
                            http://www.masksoftheworld.com

                            At 08:34 PM 10/11/2006, you wrote:

                            Thanks Paul, William, Lee,
                             
                            I am still trying to find as much as I can on this mystery mask.
                            I know one thing, I loved this mask from the time that I saw it and then I got it, even that it is an item not found in any tribal literature, books, etc.
                             
                            I guess my philosophy is: if you like it, get it.
                             
                            Thank you all for an effort to help me ID this item, I am not giving up on it.
                            I think tribal art is well documented-identified in the books as prior to 1950.
                             
                            Do any one have any information, if there have been studies/research done on the more modern tribal trends/changes, influence from outside sources on the culture of old tribal societies.
                             
                            Erik
                             


                            LRubinstein@... wrote:
                            Erik:
                             
                            Firstly, thanks to Paul and William for sharing their impressions in response to the image of the mask which you posted.
                             
                            I, too, am mystified by the possible origins of this mask and find little (i.e., nothing) to support the idea that it hails from the Bongo or any other Sudanese group.  I have searched about for related masks forms from as far north as Sudan southward all the way into Swaziland and haven't come across any related examples.  The use of bold painted coloration seems to be not particularly common in this broad swathe of geography.  My inclination is to search somewhat more eastward and more fully southward -- among masking traditions where bold coloration such as that of your mask is found -- perhaps in Zambia, Malawi, or Zimbabwe...perhaps as far south as Botswana or Swaziland.  Particularly worth considering is the possible introduction of more southerly influences into the region -- particularly in Zambia -- by the northward migration of Ngoni, Tsonga, Ila and other groups fleeing Zulu domination in southern Africa.  Just a thought.
                             
                            And another thought:
                            Applied beadwork is used more frequently than paint in adding coloration to masks and, more commonly, other objects  of adornment from Eastern Africa as well as Southern Africa.  In addition to the broad selection of beaded garments and accessories found throughout the region, colored beads have been used in the creation of masks by Iraqw (Mbulu District, Arusha region of Tanzania), Makonde and Tabwa peoples in the region whence cometh your mask, although I don't see any real similarity or relationship between objects from these traditions and the mask presented.  So, all I can offer are these most general observations at the present time.
                             
                            One additional thought I would like to share for now is this:  Upon initial consideration of your mask, it appeared to me as a "highly abstract" representation.  However, when I came upon the image of the mask below, I was struck by the similarity of the line patterns -- under the eye, on the cheeks and on the forehead -- on your mask and those on this more "realistic mask" from Botswana:
                            []
                            Source:  http://www.photostogo.com/store/Chubby.asp?ImageNumber=483672&dept_id=101
                             
                            I am not suggesting a direct relationship between the masks but I was struck by the fact that the lined patterns which appear on both masks are remarkably similar, suggesting that they are rather different approaches to portraying the lines that appear on a face -- one through a more literal portrayal and one through the use of color and geometry.  Such lines tend to become more prominent in individuals of more advanced age, so an association with elders may be a helpful clue in seeking origins and possible significance for your mask. 
                             
                            I may be well off the mark with regard to any or all of these thoughts, but this is what I can offer you at this time.  I'll add your mask to my ever-growing list of "anomalous and unidentified" forms. 
                             
                            Thanks for sharing the mask.  Lee
                             
                             



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                          • dwolf22@aol.com
                            Interestingly ... This mask just crossed my path the day slanted eyes started showing up here ...... am posting a pic while on this slanted subject ...
                            Message 13 of 20 , Oct 12, 2006
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                              Interestingly ... This mask just crossed my path the day 'slanted eyes' started showing up here ...... am posting a pic while on this slanted subject ... Unfortunately I don't remember it's attribution as I wasn't interested in the mask .... but now I'm curious .... can someone identify? 
                               
                               
                               
                            • Paul De Lucco
                              Dear Paisarn, Please excuse this late response. I have been on the road and off e-mail. I collected for years in the 1980 s in the north Shaba area of Congo
                              Message 14 of 20 , Oct 16, 2006
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                                Dear Paisarn,
                                 
                                Please excuse this late response.  I have been on the road and off e-mail.
                                 
                                I collected for years in the 1980's in the north Shaba area of Congo (now the north Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC).  I never encountered a Zula artifact of any kind.  Never heard of the group, in fact. 
                                 
                                In 2001 in Kigali, Rwanda, however, I was offered a damaged stool in a style I had never seen before that was identified as Zula (actually, it was identified as Zura, "L" and "R" being almost interchangeable in eastern Congo and Rwanda, too, for that matter).  I did not buy the stool as I could not reach a deal with the owner, a Congolese art runner based in Kigali.  He passed it on to a part-time Belgian collector, Jacques Litwak, who never paid him for it.  It is now presumably in a European collection.
                                 
                                I always regretted not buying it, especially as I learned more about the Zula.  I did take some photos and you will see that, except in hair style, the stool strongly resembles yours which I am inclined to accept as genuine since I have yet to see a Zula fake.
                                 
                                I think you showed good tase and a good idea to have collected such a rarity.
                                 
                                Regards,
                                 
                                Paul
                                 
                                 
                                ----- Original Message -----
                                Sent: Tuesday, October 10, 2006 4:02 PM
                                Subject: [African_Arts] Re: I hope this will be fun...

                                Hello all,

                                Thank you, William, for a most interesting post. I think your statue is
                                very unique and intriguing. I hope one day to know enough to be able to
                                identify something like this on my own, but for now I will have to ask for
                                helps from the expertise of other members.

                                However, in the spirit of this thread, I would like to add another object
                                to the exercise. I'm sure this is going to be much easier than William's
                                object, but I thought it might be fun for other beginners like me in the
                                group.

                                The object can be seen in the Photo folder labeled 'Paisarn' or by
                                clicking the link below.

                                http://ph.groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/photos/ browse/a2b4

                                I ordered this stool two weeks ago, despite its uncertain tribal
                                attribution, just because I love the figure's bold gesture and presence.

                                While it was in the mail, I accidentally discovered in one of my books a
                                picture of a similar stool from a small tribe/culture. (which added the
                                pleasure of 'discovery' to the whole thing when it was actually delivered
                                today.)

                                Although the stool in the book looks very very similar to mine, I'm not
                                100% sure of this attribution -- because all I have is one published
                                example to compare with.

                                So I invite all group members to voice your opinions about this stool's
                                source, age, authenticity, anything etc. It would be nice if someone will
                                confirm the tribe/culture I have in mind and can point me to more
                                examples.

                                But I wouldn't be surprised either if my initial thought is wrong. With the
                                high level of collective expertise in this group, your answers will be
                                educational for me nonetheless.

                                By the way, thank you, Lee, for additional information on the Tropical
                                Museum. I ended up having no time to visit it while in Amsterdam, so
                                for now the online collection will have to suffice.

                                All the best, Paisarn

                                --- In African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com, William Klebous <klebous@... >
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > I hope this will be fun, because it definitely
                                > is relevant to this discussion of aesthetics, age,
                                > and authenticity. ..
                                >
                                > I've uploaded three pics of an object I bought
                                > about fifteen years ago, at an antique shop
                                > I frequented in NYC. The owner, although
                                > not super-knowledgable, did have a good eye
                                > for picking out old tribal things at the NYC
                                > estate sales he frequented, and it was not
                                > unusual for up-market dealers to be in his
                                > shop for the same reason I was, to get lucky
                                > and get something good and relatively inexpensive. ..
                                >
                                > While I did get lucky there a few times, much
                                > more often there would be anomalous objects
                                > which nobody was quite sure about, and sometimes,
                                > if it was cheap enough, I'd roll the dice and buy
                                > one of these anomalies...
                                >
                                > This object is one of those. It is 16 inches tall.
                                > My guess was that it was from the South Pacific, and
                                > over time I thought my research was doing a pretty
                                > good job of narrowing it down to probably Fiji...
                                >
                                > But one day while paging through an African art
                                > book, oh my God! There it was: three undeniably
                                > super-similar documented examples from a
                                > specific African tribe/nation from a specific
                                > time period. There was no doubt about it...
                                >
                                > I've since looked in dozens more reference books
                                > covering this region and have yet to find any
                                > other example, although I do not spend as much
                                > time in libraries as I used to. So its possible in
                                > the last five years more has been published, in which
                                > case this guessing game will probably not be any
                                > fun at all...
                                >
                                > http://ph.groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/photos/ browse/41bd?
                                c=
                                >
                                > Anyway, if you do know what this object is because
                                > you have the right book in front of you, for the
                                > time being please just let others guess, and when
                                > people are done guessing I will scan in the book
                                > pages for everyone to see...
                                >
                                > Cheers!
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
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                                >

                              • asiantrekker
                                Hello Paul, Thank you very much for your reply including locating the photos and uploading them. I really appreciate it. As I bought this stool on the basis of
                                Message 15 of 20 , Oct 18, 2006
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                                  Hello Paul,

                                  Thank you very much for your reply including locating the photos and
                                  uploading them. I really appreciate it.

                                  As I bought this stool on the basis of its appeal to me, it was already
                                  very nice that other members of the group also thought it was a nice
                                  piece.

                                  However, the whole thing about it being Zula or not added another layer
                                  of investigative excitement to it, and I'm grateful of Lee's and your
                                  contributions towards my education on the Zula people. This is just
                                  what I had hoped for when I posed the question. Thank you! Still if
                                  anyone has more leads about them, I would love to hear more.

                                  All the best, Paisarn

                                  --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Paul De Lucco"
                                  <pauldelucco@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Dear Paisarn,
                                  >
                                  > Please excuse this late response. I have been on the road and off e-
                                  mail.
                                  >
                                  > I collected for years in the 1980's in the north Shaba area of Congo
                                  (now the north Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo
                                  or DRC). I never encountered a Zula artifact of any kind. Never heard
                                  of the group, in fact.
                                  >
                                  > In 2001 in Kigali, Rwanda, however, I was offered a damaged stool in
                                  a style I had never seen before that was identified as Zula (actually, it
                                  was identified as Zura, "L" and "R" being almost interchangeable in
                                  eastern Congo and Rwanda, too, for that matter). I did not buy the
                                  stool as I could not reach a deal with the owner, a Congolese art runner
                                  based in Kigali. He passed it on to a part-time Belgian collector,
                                  Jacques Litwak, who never paid him for it. It is now presumably in a
                                  European collection.
                                  >
                                  > I always regretted not buying it, especially as I learned more about
                                  the Zula. I did take some photos and you will see that, except in hair
                                  style, the stool strongly resembles yours which I am inclined to accept
                                  as genuine since I have yet to see a Zula fake.
                                  >
                                  > I think you showed good tase and a good idea to have collected such
                                  a rarity.
                                  >
                                  > Regards,
                                  >
                                  > Paul
                                • Paul De Lucco
                                  Excuse this late response. My experience in collecting art from eastern DRC is that slanted eyes are a reference to cats, usually the leopard, a powerful
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Oct 31, 2006
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                                    Excuse this late response.  My experience in collecting art from eastern DRC is that slanted eyes are a reference to cats, usually the leopard, a powerful figure in myth in the Congo - it was not by accident that Mobutu was nicknamed "The Leopard."  
                                     
                                    The mask you reproduce below is most likely from a forest people, judging from the heart-shaped face.  It does not seem to be Lega.  The clan scarifications on the forehead are puzzling as, in my experience, they are not a feature of eastern Congo masks and your mask, otherwise, does resemble masks from eastern DRC groups.  The mask is not a representation of a cat but the slanted eyes could be a feline reference.
                                     
                                    I recently collected a damaged mask, which seems an obvious portrayal of a leopard, from the eastern DRC, origin unknown but which I have tentatively identified as Yela:
                                     
                                     
                                    Actually, as I think about it, the open mouth and heavy features might be more suggestive of a lion than a leopard.  It might well be from an unknown group.  The northeast Congo cultures have never been exhaustively studied.
                                     
                                    - Paul
                                     
                                    ----- Original Message -----
                                    Sent: Thursday, October 12, 2006 7:28 PM
                                    Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: I hope this will be fun...

                                    Interestingly ... This mask just crossed my path the day 'slanted eyes' started showing up here ...... am posting a pic while on this slanted subject ... Unfortunately I don't remember it's attribution as I wasn't interested in the mask .... but now I'm curious .... can someone identify? 
                                     
                                     
                                     
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