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Re: [African_Arts] Re: Masks, etc. from DRC - question on Tetela Ituri/KUMU (Markus)

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  • Lee Rubinstein
    Thanks, Markus. In truth, however, it is not always feasible to respond and/or to research appropriately and exhaustively all of the questions posed. (Some
    Message 1 of 14 , Aug 3, 2007
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      Thanks, Markus.  In truth, however, it is not always feasible to respond and/or to research appropriately and exhaustively all of the questions posed.  (Some weeks, it seems, I don't even have time to call my mother.  Oy!)  Too, we each have our specific limits of knowledge and access to information... further challenged by the plethora of erroneous and/or incomplete pieces of data or questionable theories (often presented as conclusions) and even well-supported differences of opinion from which we must construct our own impressions and understandings of the objects we explore. 

      In that regard, I hope I did not lead you astray with an overly minimalist response to your question regarding masks from the Ituri as I hope I don't confuse the matter by embellishing my comments further.  I was hunting around a little more (although not with exceptional success) for additional sources on traditions and peoples of the Ituri Forest region.  I came across a number of images and references that all seemed to invite further consideration in regard to the mask which you presented -- other masks with dotted faces and filed teeth  attributed, for instance to the Ndaaka... as well as articles referring to more than a dozen Mbuti/Pygmy and Bantu cultural groups living in the Ituri region.  (There the Sua and the Budu to the west, Aka near the Mangbetu to the northwest, Efe in the north and east interacting with Lese and Mamvu and the central Ituri Mbuti living with the Bila/Bira) -- as well as Hema, Lendu, Gegere, Ngiti, Mbo, Vanunia, Nyali...)  I am not aware of any masking traditions among forest peoples of the Ituri or any forest-dwelling African people for that matter, but I think it is worth noting that teeth-filing and facial decoration do appear among some of these forest peoples who interact with neighboring Bantu groups in the surrounding savannahs from which such masks as the one you queried arise.  It would be interesting to find out more about such practices, especially filing of the teeth in light of the fact that so many of the masks from this region exhibit the representation of filed teeth... and whether there is any inter-influence among such groups in this regard.  (Incidentally, according to Luc de Heusch, the Hamba [forest Tetela, or ase akundu] file their incisors whereas the savannah or plains Tetela [ase oswe] do not.  I'm still musing over why that distinction might have arisen amid that complex of topics.  More broadly, I am curious to know of the prevalence of -- and any discernible patterns in -- the occurrence of these tooth-filing practices among groups in the Ituri region -- and more broadly -- to understand the possible significance of the dental representation on these masks as well as the possible linkage of the presence or absence of such activity in forest vs savannah peoples.)

      Suffice it to say that few questions lead to answers before or without leading to the formulation of more questions.  The Ituri region proves to be even more challenging than most in which to uncover productive sources for the comparison, consideration and even simple identification of masks.  I hope someone in the group can offer more direct knowledge and productive research directions regarding these masks as well as regarding -- more broadly -- people, cultures and practices in the region which might help facilitate our understanding.  The Felix "Ituri" book would be a valuable text to access in this regard, as would observations of those with experience in this region as well as in collecting works regionally from that area.

      Additionally, I would like to acknowledge in response to Craig's posting that while I may (rather infrequently) express opinions about quality and preference with regard to examples cited within a particular inquiry or discussion, it is not my general approach to delimit or overlay my own perceptions and opinions on the comparative examples I present unless, I think, I have reached an ardent belief in the assessment which I hold at that moment -- and even then, I tend to be cautious and to qualify.  When seeking to know more about the "identity" of an object, I think it is always constructive to see the objects which are accessible and how they are attributed and classified by those who present them.  Since the images provided usually include source links, there is an implicit invitation to interested parties to engage a discussion about the accuracy and veracity of attributions and assessments with those who have attached those identifications.  We all have different perceptions and variable access to comparative data, so an open mind and a willingness to consider the elements which impact upon an individual's assessment offers potential research directions while opening pathways of communication and insight into the thought processes and priorities of members of the collecting/curating community as well!  A clarification regarding the example(s) that you feel are not beneficial or appropriate, Craig, -- and the criteria by which you disqualify it/them -- would be informative and constructive as well.  

      More generally, I don't equate the identification of salient characteristics of a particular tradition with an assessment of authenticity.  The formal properties which are observable on the surface and from a distance can best be used as a starting point to consider an object, as one cannot consider authenticity of a work from a particular origin or class until one identifies the attribution which is to be verified or disavowed.  An impediment to the proper classification of works, there remain many objects -- even those with apparently signs of possible ritual use -- which have been overly delimited as originating from one group or another when, in fact, they may as likely come from one of numerous neighboring groups.  This is most problematic when discussions of symbolism and significance are included that may hold true within a broader region but which are not necessarily reflective of the meanings which may apply for specifically localized examples. What I am thinking of here are, for instance, masks from Southeastern Nigeria where there is a borrowing of forms among groups but an application of different values and meanings to a particular mask form or its details. Often, regional or culture-complex attributions are far more truthful even when they remain vague, although it can be very informative to present a plausible if not necessarily verifiable range of interpretations.  My first step in the on-going and never-static process of "identification" and "attribution" -- once distinctive characteristics have been observed -- is to look at a map and to draw a circle around the region from which it might have arisen.  Then, it is necessary to consider the communities within that region whose production includes like objects.  Then, in-depth comparison of examples with collection data and field documentation provide a good basis for drawing tentative conclusions about possible locales of origination which can then be further rounded by specific accounts regarding particular communities and the values and meanings that might apply.

      The Tetela mask question is especially interesting in that the proper authentication of masks classified as such does indeed beg clarification of whether the masks called Tetela -- used as the primary basis for comparison -- are indeed interpreted through a proper reading of the information available or whether the data is sufficient to conclude.  Was the White example from the Sungu Tetela or from a neighboring Songye community?  Did the Sungu or other Tetela community indeed adopt masking practices and/or are there communities wherein both Sungu and Songye traditions have been integrated?  A mask that bears the characteristics associated with this class of masks from that region may theoretically be authenticated but not necessarily identified.  As always, there is an informational gap and a lot of room to "play.".  If Chris can provide more data about the mask which prompted this discussion, that would be beneficial.  I see references to Wembo-Nyama as a town south of the Lukenye River but well north of the Lubefu;  I am unclear as to whether this is a sub-group (sub-sub-group) classification or rather a locale and/or whether the mask is believed to have originated in the place where it was collected -- well north of the Sungu.  Information about migration, commerce and interaction among communities in the region would be helpful as well.

      A final note as a case in point and word of caution (to others and myself) with regard to the Teke- or Songye-inspired piece of current discussion.  I highlighted the facial markings which I associate with the Teke and Yanzi;  Chris, Florent and Markus rightly remind me that I overlooked the horn atop the figure which does appear more markedly Songye;  Markus's point about striation and the kifwebe is interesting to consider.  So, now we can take out our maps and our history-anthropology-art books or fire up our search engines (or small jets and SUV's) and explore where and how and by whom such elements might be coalesced. Or, perhaps it is simply time to go for a swim.

      Lee

    • Paul De Lucco
      Markus, I have to weigh in here on the Ituri mask question. I have been collecting so-called Ituri masks for the last few years and have made an effort, with
      Message 2 of 14 , Aug 3, 2007
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        Markus,
         
        I have to weigh in here on the Ituri mask question.  I have been collecting so-called Ituri masks for the last few years and have made an effort, with only partial success, to distinguish one from another by stylistic differences.
         
        There is an interesting book on the great Belgian art historian Frans M. Olbrechts;  In Search of Art in Africa.  In the catalogue section of the book, cat.71, is a text box:   According to Olbrechts, the reason the sculpture of the extensive Northeastern and Northwestern area was but little known was to do with the fact that the region is much poorer in sculpture than the sculpturally-rich centres of the south.  He also contended that they were much less well studied as a consequence of the little aesthetic enjoyment the study of this art would provide. . .  Still, according to Olbrechts the lack of stylistic consistency means the identity of the makers of the sculpture from these areas can seldom be discovered on the basis of the sculpture's morphology.
         
        With the exception of the Mangbetu, the Zande, and perhaps the Boa, the art history of the ethnic groups of the northeast Congo has never been well studied.  Recently, Marc Felix has, with some success, attempted to classify art from the larger groups. But many of the Ituri groups are small and they are intermixed over a vast area - the description Ituri takes in not just the Ituri Forest but the cultures south of the forest to the borders of Lega country in the south Kivu, west to Kisangani, and north to the Sudan border. 
         
        Unfortunately, it is this vast area, probably as large as Kenya, that has been plagued with war lords and marauding armies for the last ten years.  These small indigenous cultures have been under enormous stress and some of them are unlikely to survive the convulsions through which the DRC is going.  It is not surprising that a lot more art from the region is finding its way to the market place. 
         
        I remember a conference room at the big Hyatt Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland, which was decorated years ago - and may still be - with the framed feathered neckwear of Amazonian Indians.  The captions stated that many of the tribes that had produced these beautiful works were probably already "extinct."  I did not know how to take that statement at the time and I still don't.  All I can say is the collector's classic excuse:  the Ituri masks I have collected are fragile, made of wood, and if they were not collected they would disappear.     
         
        A large number of masks have come out of the Ituri, their styles so undifferentiated that we often cannot even assign them to one culture or another.  And we don't know if the cultures exist any longer.  The flow seems to have tapered off and has been replaced by a new and growing flow of fakes that is further confusing the story.
        I think maybe "Ituri" is as close as we will get to identifying most of these masks.  I have opened a file in the photo section named "Ituri" in which I have placed a number of photos I have put together of these interesting masks (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/1075?m=l), most of them pieces I collected.    
         
        As nearly as one can tell from a photograph, your mask looks good to me even if it doesn't look like any of the ones I have collected.  I do not think it is Kumu because it lacks the square eyes that are a characteristic of Kumu masking.  The way the mask is indented in the middle, like a guitar, is unlike any of the masks I have seen.  For some reason, perhpas the teeth, it reminds me of Boa masks I have seen.  If it is related to the Boa, it would be on the western border of the Ituri zone.  The height of your mask, 34cm, is greater than all but two of the masks in my collection.  The wood "insertions" are probably traditional repairs of insect damage.  The worm holes you mention are, I believe, a characteristic of the wood used for these masks.  The Lega use the same kind of light wood that, with age and drying, develops scattered splits in the grain that look like worm holes.  I did not find great examples among my collection but I attach two photos of Lega masks that with grain splits on the tops.  I have been assured by sellers that such markings are a common characteristic of the wood.
         
        Hope this helps.
         
        Regards,
         
        Paul
         
         
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 11:37 PM
        Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Masks, etc. from DRC - question on Tetela mask

        Hello!

        I closely followed your discussion about Chris' Tetela mask. Unfortunately my knowledge on this topic is too little to give any useful advices. All I can say is, that I have never seen such a stylistic mix of Kuba, Songye, Luba…in a catalogue, book or any respectable publication, but this does not mean a thing.

        But on this occasion I want to mention a problem with one of my masks, which is from DRC too: A Ituri mask, which I bought from a reliable German gallery. The owner of the gallery called it "good old", but I am not sure. The mask is 34cm high and is carved from relatively light wood with inclusions of extremely light wood (these areas can be dented with the fingers). On the chin and on the forehead these inclusion were cut out and normal wood was inserted. Another inclusion is along the rim of the nose – this is the reason for the damage at the nose. What is in my opinion odd: The surface seems to be worked with "European" tools like a file or something similar. The second aspect which makes me suspicious is, that the mask smells like smoked meat. Is it possible that the mask has been stored in a hut, in which cooking has been done, or is it more likely a sign of treating the mask with smoke to let it look older? The third aspect which makes me suspicious is that there are many worm holes in the mask but the insect attack happened apparently before the creation of the mask because no worm holes are in a right angle to the surface (like the worm holes in airport art use to look like). I know that this is no evidence for a fake. But isn't it unlikely, that a tribally used mask was not infested by insects, when the raw material was already infested?

        The problem is, that I don't know much about Ituri and I did not get a book about Ituri for a reasonable price. In the web I did not find much too… Can anyone assign the mask to a certain tribe? As far as I know Ituri is a general term for many tribes in the Ituri forest…

        http://ph.groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/photos/ browse/d585? c= 

        I would appreciate any information

        Thanks in advance

        Markus

         


        --- In African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com, "congabongoman" <congabongoman@ ...> wrote:
        >
        > Paul-
        >
        > Thanks so much for your excellent post. I certainly do take Felix's
        > opinion seriously and didn't mean to imply otherwise by the tone of
        > my post. I simply have not personally accepted it as dispositive on
        > the issue...particularl y when based on photos alone, and was fessing
        > up to my own stubborness in somewhat glib fashion. I'd welcome the
        > oppty for an expert to veiw it in person but, sadly, truly qualified
        > persons on DRC art are few and far between. Anyone know any such
        > persons in DC or Philadelphia?
        >
        > To answer your questions about the mask, it is carved entirely from a
        > single piece of very hard wood (horns and all). The holes are
        > irregularly shaped and large (as tho made by a hot poker before
        > drills became widely available). They are also heavily worn, perhaps
        > by the rubbing of raffia/cordage. The mask also has well worn patina
        > from handling as well as age, in addition to clear age cracks
        > (visible in the right horn and through the forehead region), in
        > addition to old damage at the bottom (now patinated) and damage to
        > the rear top, which appears to have been repaired (visible in the
        > photos of the back). It has no nose holes-only mouth and eyes. The
        > interesting thing is that there are many examples of cheap "copies"
        > of this mask (of lesser workmanship and w/o mouth holes etc.) that
        > can be seen online (e.g., if one does an image search on Google
        > of "biombo nyett mask" or "tetela mask") and have the same patterns,
        > horns, etc., but were clearly made for sale and/or intended to be
        > copies of this mask style. As such, if it is a fake and was created
        > entirely to deceive, this style seems to have "taken" in the african
        > art market. The mask does have stylized "ears" worked into the
        > geometrical patterns of the carving on the side, as well as a
        > stylized "goatee" below the mouth. My guess is that the mask may
        > have been worn and, once broken, may have been used as a fetish
        > object, althought this is pure speculation.
        >
        > The bottom line for me is that I trust the person I purchased it from
        > and the person who collected the mask in DRC. I'm continuing my
        > research into Tetela masks in an effort to learn more info but,
        > whether or not it was actually carved by the tetela or was acquired
        > by them from another source, or was not even used by them at all,
        > it's a very rare and beautifully carved work that I'll continue to
        > appreciate for its aesthetic, if not socio-anthropologic al qualities.
        >
        > Thanks again for the great historical background and for sharing your
        > thoughts and photos!
        >
        > Best Regards,
        >
        > Chris
        >
        > --- In African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com, "Paul De Lucco"
        > pauldelucco@ wrote:
        > >
        > > Chris,
        > >
        > > No one has studied the confused art history of the north
        > Katanga/south Kivu area of DRC like Marc Felix. He brought a lot of
        > study and intellectual vigor to the analysis and anything he says on
        > the subject must be taken seriously.
        > >
        > > But, even though Marc Felix is probably correct in his assessment,
        > in my opinion there is still plenty of wiggle room to justify your
        > stubbornness. The Tetela are an interesting group for study.
        > Briefly, to put them in the context of the Congo: After the council
        > of Berlin, when King Leopold set up the Congo Free State and his
        > forces asserted control in the Congo, they first employed soldiers,
        > Swahili speaking askaris, from Zanzibar. As the "Free State" became
        > established, the Belgians began recruiting and training local
        > soldiers, especially from the Tetela, who were known as warriors and
        > who had learned Swahili from the Omani slavers. Around the turn of
        > the century, the Tetela staged the first revolt against Belgian
        > rule. After that episode, the Belgians began recruiting from a wider
        > range of ethnic groups and took care not to station troops in areas
        > of their origin. They also introduced Lingala as the military
        > language. I think it is fair to say that the Tetela were
        > marginalized afterwards and took little part in development of the
        > colony. Their main town is Lodja, in Sankuru District of Kasai-
        > Orientale, just about in the middle of the Congo. But the Lodja
        > Tetela, primarily merchants, were known as the "Arabized Tetela" and
        > were resented by traditional rural Tetela. At the dawn of
        > independence, the traditional Tetela carried out ethnic cleansing in
        > Lodja, burning out the Arabized Tetela. The rural Tetela live east
        > of Lodja, almost to the Lualaba River. Linguistically, the Tetela
        > are a Mongo people, related to the Kuba as well as the northern
        > cultures around Equateur Province, and very closely related to the
        > Kusu, who live near Kindu on the Lualaba River north of Katanga. The
        > point of this historical narrative is:
        > > 1. The rural Tetela have always been considered difficult and
        > did not receive much attention from experts on the Congo, including
        > anthropologists and art historians;
        > > 2. The Tetela, occupying as they do, the central region of the
        > Congo, and being related, linguistically anyway, to a number of
        > prominent neighboring cultures, were familiar with a wide range of
        > artistic styles.
        > > It is also well known that both the Kuba and the Kusu often
        > purchased power objects from the Songye, a non-Mongo people who were
        > respected for their mastery of the dark arts. So, when Marc Felix
        > says that your piece; mixes elements from Luba zoomorphic masks with
        > some Kuba inspired elements as well as Songye and Tetela, he might be
        > acknowledging the truth that real Tetela art in fact does mix all of
        > those elements.
        > >
        > > Enough of the hypothesizing, though. Let's take a good physical
        > look at the mask:
        > >
        > > 1. The horns are well-carved but do not look like the curved
        > horns often seen on Luba masks (see photo). Are the horns integral
        > with the wood of the mask? If they were glued on, however artfully,
        > the mask is almost certainly a fake.
        > > 2. The way the holes are drilled on the borders of the mask
        > looks odd to me. Stylistically, the mask most closely resembles a
        > Luba/Songye Kifwebe. But, the Luba normally carve a border along the
        > edges of the Kifwebe for the piercing of holes (see photos). The
        > Songye don't seem to carve a border but the holes in their masks are
        > numerous, small, and close to the edges (see photos). The holes in
        > your mask are large, irregular, widely-spaced, and disrupt the
        > design. I am not sure a fake would go to such extremes, although the
        > Congolese are imaginative and resourceful fakers. But if a mask were
        > traded from one group to another such that its use changed from that
        > of a wall-hanging, say, to a dance mask, then holes would have to be
        > pierced to support the costume.
        > > 3. Are the nostrils drilled out? This is just a detail but
        > Katanga masks, no matter what the culture, almost always incorporate
        > drilled paired nostrils in the noses.
        > > 4. It's hard to tell from your photos, but what appear to be
        > triangular ears are visible. I have never seen visible ears on Luba
        > or Songye masks; the ears carved on, or attached to, Kuba masks are
        > quite different from the style of your mask.
        > > 5. The mask appears to be sporting a goatee. I believe beards
        > are rare on Luba or Songye masks. (The famous horned Luba mask in
        > Tervuren does have a beard....... ..)
        > > 6. Is the mask carved from relatively hard wood or relatively
        > soft wood? Luba and Songye Kifwebe masks are generally carved from
        > relatively soft wood, although, I have a small Kifwebe, carved in
        > hard wood, that came from Katea, a town in north Katanga that is very
        > near Tetela territory.
        > >
        > > When you are really clear about how your mask fits into the
        > regional context and what traditions it borrows from, you can try to
        > research Tetela masks in other collections. Once you have backed up
        > your beliefs with photographs and documents you will be more credible
        > in defending your mask as authentic. I think you have an argument to
        > make.
        > >
        > > Regards,
        > >
        > > Paul
        > >
        > > PS I have created Tetela photo album for photos illustrating some
        > of the above points.
        > >
        > > http://ph.groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/photos/ browse/50a7? m=l
        > >
        > >
        > > ----- Original Message -----
        > > From: congabongoman
        > > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
        > > Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 3:58 PM
        > > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Masks, etc. from DRC - question on
        > tetela mask
        > >
        > >
        > > Fyi- I just heard back from Marc Felix, a noted expert from
        > Belgium,
        > > who offered the following in response to the pictures of
        > the "Tetela"
        > > mask I sent him:
        > >
        > > "As far as I am concerned, this mask is a pure invention. It mixes
        > > elements from Luba zoomorphic masks with some Kuba inspired
        > elements
        > > as well as Songye and Tetela. To me, this is a pure fabrication
        > by a
        > > gifted African, made to deceive."
        > >
        > > Call me stubborn, but due to the patina and clear signs of
        > age/wear
        > > even in the holes where the raffia rubbed, I still haven't given
        > up
        > > the ship (despite the cannon hole). After all, they said the same
        > > thing about the ceolocanth, till one turned up in a fishing
        > net. :)
        > > While I'm still only an amateur collector, I remain "out standing
        > in
        > > my field." lol.
        > >
        > > Chris
        > >
        > > --- In African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com, "congabongoman"
        > > <congabongoman@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > I wanted to follow up to the group with a postscript on Tetela
        > > > masks. As some of you pointed out, there has apparantly been
        > > debate
        > > > by some top scholars over the years about whether there is such
        > a
        > > > thing as a Tetela mask. I've finally tracked down available
        > copies
        > > > of the seminal articles, including those by De Heursch and by
        > > > Francois Neyt (who apparantly disagrees with Heursch's
        > conclusion),
        > > > and they are now en route. I also followed up with my friend
        > from
        > > > Kampala who spoke with the Ugandan individual that collected the
        > > > horned mask that I have, which started this discussion. He
        > > confirmed
        > > > that it is Tetela (and laughed when told that some scholars say
        > > there
        > > > is no such thing) and stated that it was collected in the Tetela
        > > > village of Wembo-Nyama in Kasai Orientale in DRC. Anyway, I'm
        > > looking
        > > > forward to getting and reading the articles but thought I'd pass
        > > this
        > > > info along to the group for edification. I'll keep you all
        > posted
        > > on
        > > > anything more that I'm able to find out.
        > > >
        > > > Chris
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > --- In African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com, "congabongoman"
        > > > <congabongoman@> wrote:
        > > > >
        > > > > Thanks, Paisarn. I actually own the Barbieri book and have
        > read
        > > > that
        > > > > entry many times. I believe you'll find that the mask
        > referenced
        > > > > (with the 3 prongs extending over the head) is distinct and
        > > > different
        > > > > from the one I have, tho' they are from neighboring
        > > > regions/peoples.
        > > > > I have yet to see any dispositive discussion of this mask,
        > tho'
        > > > I've
        > > > > seen cheap copies posted on E-bay and refered to as a Biombo
        > > Nyett
        > > > > mask. There's also a pic of a copy that comes up from a
        > gallery
        > > on
        > > > > the Web that references it as Tetela. Thanks to anyone who can
        > > > shed
        > > > > light on its history.
        > > > >
        > > > > Chris
        > > > >
        > > > > --- In African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com, P L <asiantrekker@>
        > wrote:
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Hello Chris,
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Thank you for sharing with us photos of your collection.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Regarding "Tetela" masks, there is one on plate 89 in the
        > > > > book "African Masks: the Barbier-Mueller Collection" which
        > is, I
        > > > > find, the best reference for masks and cheaply available from
        > > > > Amazon.com.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > According to the book, this type of mask is now thought to
        > be
        > > > > actually Tempa Songye, not Tetela. The book also refers to
        > > similar
        > > > > masks in the British Museum and the Seattle Art Museum.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > It's a bit late here, so I will sign off. But if you'd like
        > > me
        > > > to
        > > > > quote from the book or post the picture, maybe I can do so
        > during
        > > > the
        > > > > weekend.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Cheers, Paisarn
        > > > > >
        > > > > > congabongoman <congabongoman@> wrote:
        > > > > > Hi all-
        > > > > >
        > > > > > I just joined and posted some pics of some of my favorite
        > > pieces
        > > > in
        > > > > my
        > > > > > collection in 2 photo albums. Photo albums are named:
        > > > > > "Masks,etc. from the DRC"
        > > > >
        > > (http://ph.groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/photos/ browse/e1f9)
        > > > > and
        > > > > > "DRC Masks, etc. Part 2"
        > > > >
        > >
        > (http://ph.groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/photos/ browse/f48e) .
        > > > > >
        > > > > > I have a good friend in Kampala that I acquired these from.
        > I'm
        > > > > particularly interested in feedback on the Tetela mask in the
        > > first
        > > > > album. It's very old and was used extensively. I've seen many
        > > > > fakes/copies of this style but I have not seen a real one
        > > anywhere.
        > > > > Does anyone know of any? Also, I was told its used for child
        > > > > protection (most likely circumcision rituals) but I was
        > wondering
        > > > if
        > > > > anyone had any more info they might be able to provide?
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Also of interest is the Bembe village telegraph which is a
        > pun
        > > on
        > > > > old-
        > > > > > style telephones. The leopard mask is also very rare and was
        > > used
        > > > > for
        > > > > > village protection. Finally, the Kusu fetish and Hemba soko
        > are
        > > > > also
        > > > > > exceptional. Enjoy and thanks for any feedback!
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Best Regards,
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Chris
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > > ------------ --------- --------- ---
        > > > > > Building a website is a piece of cake.
        > > > > > Yahoo! Small Business gives you all the tools to get online.
        > > > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > >
        >

      • escultura78
        Lee, thank you for your further research on Ituri and your statement to identification and authentication… Paul, Thank you too for your contribution to
        Message 3 of 14 , Aug 4, 2007
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          Lee,

          thank you for your further research on Ituri and your statement to identification and authentication…

          Paul,

          Thank you too for your contribution to Ituri. It did help...

          Some further information I gathered: The book "Afrikanische Masken – aus der Sammlung Barbier-Müller, Genf (Hahner-Herzog, Kecskési, Vajda)" depicts a Kumu nsembu mask which is 27,3 cm high. http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?b=8  But a B/W photo below, which was taken 1973 in the village Benekwa-Babatume shows that Kumu masks can apparently be much larger. It shows a male-female pair of masks which are very large. http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?b=9 Although it is not possible to find out their exact height they seem to be higher than 35cm. I try to translate a part of the text which is written in German (please don't worry if the text is not perfect translated). For me this information was new, perhaps it's interesting for the group too: "The use of Kumu masks seems to be limited to the nkunda-association which is reserved to the fortune-tellers. The masks are seen as the embodied spirits of the fortune-tellers and are allowed to be seen only by initiates. Occasions for the performance of the masks, which are owned by the association-eldest are initiations of adepts or commemoration ceremonies for deceased members. At these nightly ceremonies a male-female pair of masks which is wrapped in costumes made of bark-cloth and reed performs a dance using head and arms while sitting on a bench..."

           

          In addition I came across a Tetela mask which resembles in some way Chris' mask. I found it in the book of Karl Ferdinand Schaedler, which I already mentioned. Unfortunately the picture is no photo. It is a sketch from a mask from the former collection Catherine C. White.

          http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?b=10 

          Once more I try to translate the text, which is conceived as general information about the Tetela: "This martial cultural group, which belongs to the Mongo in Central Zaire can artistically divided in the northern Mongo-culture of the rain-forest and the southern culture turned to the Sonye. Thus masks and figures show different features: The figures of the north are schematically and resemble those of other groups of the Mongo-culture, for example Yela, Mbole or Jonga. The figures of the south however are similar to those of the Songye. The masks of the north are designed relatively simple, those of the south often show very individual constructions with tower-like structures or horns, embellished with black/white coloured curvilinear ornaments – Without doubt the influence of kifwebe-masks of Luba and Songye."

           

          Best regards

           

          Markus


          --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Paul De Lucco" <pauldelucco@...> wrote:
          >
          > Markus,
          >
          > I have to weigh in here on the Ituri mask question. I have been collecting so-called Ituri masks for the last few years and have made an effort, with only partial success, to distinguish one from another by stylistic differences.
          >
          > There is an interesting book on the great Belgian art historian Frans M. Olbrechts; In Search of Art in Africa. In the catalogue section of the book, cat.71, is a text box: According to Olbrechts, the reason the sculpture of the extensive Northeastern and Northwestern area was but little known was to do with the fact that the region is much poorer in sculpture than the sculpturally-rich centres of the south. He also contended that they were much less well studied as a consequence of the little aesthetic enjoyment the study of this art would provide. . . Still, according to Olbrechts the lack of stylistic consistency means the identity of the makers of the sculpture from these areas can seldom be discovered on the basis of the sculpture's morphology.
          >
          > With the exception of the Mangbetu, the Zande, and perhaps the Boa, the art history of the ethnic groups of the northeast Congo has never been well studied. Recently, Marc Felix has, with some success, attempted to classify art from the larger groups. But many of the Ituri groups are small and they are intermixed over a vast area - the description Ituri takes in not just the Ituri Forest but the cultures south of the forest to the borders of Lega country in the south Kivu, west to Kisangani, and north to the Sudan border.
          >
          > Unfortunately, it is this vast area, probably as large as Kenya, that has been plagued with war lords and marauding armies for the last ten years. These small indigenous cultures have been under enormous stress and some of them are unlikely to survive the convulsions through which the DRC is going. It is not surprising that a lot more art from the region is finding its way to the market place.
          >
          > I remember a conference room at the big Hyatt Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland, which was decorated years ago - and may still be - with the framed feathered neckwear of Amazonian Indians. The captions stated that many of the tribes that had produced these beautiful works were probably already "extinct." I did not know how to take that statement at the time and I still don't. All I can say is the collector's classic excuse: the Ituri masks I have collected are fragile, made of wood, and if they were not collected they would disappear.
          >
          > A large number of masks have come out of the Ituri, their styles so undifferentiated that we often cannot even assign them to one culture or another. And we don't know if the cultures exist any longer. The flow seems to have tapered off and has been replaced by a new and growing flow of fakes that is further confusing the story.
          > I think maybe "Ituri" is as close as we will get to identifying most of these masks. I have opened a file in the photo section named "Ituri" (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/1075?m=l) in which I have placed a number of photos I have put together of these interesting masks, most of them pieces I collected.
          >
          > As nearly as one can tell from a photograph, your mask looks good to me even if it doesn't look like any of the ones I have collected. I do not think it is Kumu because it lacks the square eyes that are a characteristic of Kumu masking. The way the mask is indented in the middle, like a guitar, is unlike any of the masks I have seen. For some reason, perhpas the teeth, it reminds me of Boa masks I have seen. If it is related to the Boa, it would be on the western border of the Ituri zone. The height of your mask, 34cm, is greater than all but two of the masks in my collection. The wood "insertions" are probably traditional repairs of insect damage. The worm holes you mention are, I believe, a characteristic of the wood used for these masks. The Lega use the same kind of light wood that, with age and drying, develops scattered splits in the grain that look like worm holes. I did not find great examples among my collection but I attach two photos of Lega masks that with grain splits on the tops. I have been assured by sellers that such markings are a common characteristic of the wood.
          >
          > Hope this helps.
          >
          > Regards,
          >
          > Paul
          >
          >
          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: escultura78
          > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 11:37 PM
          > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Masks, etc. from DRC - question on Tetela mask
          >
          >
          >
          > Hello!
          >
          >
          >
          > I closely followed your discussion about Chris' Tetela mask. Unfortunately my knowledge on this topic is too little to give any useful advices. All I can say is, that I have never seen such a stylistic mix of Kuba, Songye, Luba.in a catalogue, book or any respectable publication, but this does not mean a thing.
          >
          > But on this occasion I want to mention a problem with one of my masks, which is from DRC too: A Ituri mask, which I bought from a reliable German gallery. The owner of the gallery called it "good old", but I am not sure. The mask is 34cm high and is carved from relatively light wood with inclusions of extremely light wood (these areas can be dented with the fingers). On the chin and on the forehead these inclusion were cut out and normal wood was inserted. Another inclusion is along the rim of the nose - this is the reason for the damage at the nose. What is in my opinion odd: The surface seems to be worked with "European" tools like a file or something similar. The second aspect which makes me suspicious is, that the mask smells like smoked meat. Is it possible that the mask has been stored in a hut, in which cooking has been done, or is it more likely a sign of treating the mask with smoke to let it look older? The third aspect which makes me suspicious is that there are many worm holes in the mask but the insect attack happened apparently before the creation of the mask because no worm holes are in a right angle to the surface (like the worm holes in airport art use to look like). I know that this is no evidence for a fake. But isn't it unlikely, that a tribally used mask was not infested by insects, when the raw material was already infested?
          >
          > The problem is, that I don't know much about Ituri and I did not get a book about Ituri for a reasonable price. In the web I did not find much too. Can anyone assign the mask to a certain tribe? As far as I know Ituri is a general term for many tribes in the Ituri forest.
          >
          > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/d585?c=
          >
          >
          >
          > I would appreciate any information
          >
          > Thanks in advance
          >
          >
          >
          > Markus
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "congabongoman" congabongoman@ wrote:
          > >
          > > Paul-
          > >
          > > Thanks so much for your excellent post. I certainly do take Felix's
          > > opinion seriously and didn't mean to imply otherwise by the tone of
          > > my post. I simply have not personally accepted it as dispositive on
          > > the issue...particularly when based on photos alone, and was fessing
          > > up to my own stubborness in somewhat glib fashion. I'd welcome the
          > > oppty for an expert to veiw it in person but, sadly, truly qualified
          > > persons on DRC art are few and far between. Anyone know any such
          > > persons in DC or Philadelphia?
          > >
          > > To answer your questions about the mask, it is carved entirely from a
          > > single piece of very hard wood (horns and all). The holes are
          > > irregularly shaped and large (as tho made by a hot poker before
          > > drills became widely available). They are also heavily worn, perhaps
          > > by the rubbing of raffia/cordage. The mask also has well worn patina
          > > from handling as well as age, in addition to clear age cracks
          > > (visible in the right horn and through the forehead region), in
          > > addition to old damage at the bottom (now patinated) and damage to
          > > the rear top, which appears to have been repaired (visible in the
          > > photos of the back). It has no nose holes-only mouth and eyes. The
          > > interesting thing is that there are many examples of cheap "copies"
          > > of this mask (of lesser workmanship and w/o mouth holes etc.) that
          > > can be seen online (e.g., if one does an image search on Google
          > > of "biombo nyett mask" or "tetela mask") and have the same patterns,
          > > horns, etc., but were clearly made for sale and/or intended to be
          > > copies of this mask style. As such, if it is a fake and was created
          > > entirely to deceive, this style seems to have "taken" in the african
          > > art market. The mask does have stylized "ears" worked into the
          > > geometrical patterns of the carving on the side, as well as a
          > > stylized "goatee" below the mouth. My guess is that the mask may
          > > have been worn and, once broken, may have been used as a fetish
          > > object, althought this is pure speculation.
          > >
          > > The bottom line for me is that I trust the person I purchased it from
          > > and the person who collected the mask in DRC. I'm continuing my
          > > research into Tetela masks in an effort to learn more info but,
          > > whether or not it was actually carved by the tetela or was acquired
          > > by them from another source, or was not even used by them at all,
          > > it's a very rare and beautifully carved work that I'll continue to
          > > appreciate for its aesthetic, if not socio-anthropological qualities.
          > >
          > > Thanks again for the great historical background and for sharing your
          > > thoughts and photos!
          > >
          > > Best Regards,
          > >
          > > Chris
          > >
          > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Paul De Lucco"
          > > pauldelucco@ wrote:
          > > >
          > > > Chris,
          > > >
          > > > No one has studied the confused art history of the north
          > > Katanga/south Kivu area of DRC like Marc Felix. He brought a lot of
          > > study and intellectual vigor to the analysis and anything he says on
          > > the subject must be taken seriously.
          > > >
          > > > But, even though Marc Felix is probably correct in his assessment,
          > > in my opinion there is still plenty of wiggle room to justify your
          > > stubbornness. The Tetela are an interesting group for study.
          > > Briefly, to put them in the context of the Congo: After the council
          > > of Berlin, when King Leopold set up the Congo Free State and his
          > > forces asserted control in the Congo, they first employed soldiers,
          > > Swahili speaking askaris, from Zanzibar. As the "Free State" became
          > > established, the Belgians began recruiting and training local
          > > soldiers, especially from the Tetela, who were known as warriors and
          > > who had learned Swahili from the Omani slavers. Around the turn of
          > > the century, the Tetela staged the first revolt against Belgian
          > > rule. After that episode, the Belgians began recruiting from a wider
          > > range of ethnic groups and took care not to station troops in areas
          > > of their origin. They also introduced Lingala as the military
          > > language. I think it is fair to say that the Tetela were
          > > marginalized afterwards and took little part in development of the
          > > colony. Their main town is Lodja, in Sankuru District of Kasai-
          > > Orientale, just about in the middle of the Congo. But the Lodja
          > > Tetela, primarily merchants, were known as the "Arabized Tetela" and
          > > were resented by traditional rural Tetela. At the dawn of
          > > independence, the traditional Tetela carried out ethnic cleansing in
          > > Lodja, burning out the Arabized Tetela. The rural Tetela live east
          > > of Lodja, almost to the Lualaba River. Linguistically, the Tetela
          > > are a Mongo people, related to the Kuba as well as the northern
          > > cultures around Equateur Province, and very closely related to the
          > > Kusu, who live near Kindu on the Lualaba River north of Katanga. The
          > > point of this historical narrative is:
          > > > 1. The rural Tetela have always been considered difficult and
          > > did not receive much attention from experts on the Congo, including
          > > anthropologists and art historians;
          > > > 2. The Tetela, occupying as they do, the central region of the
          > > Congo, and being related, linguistically anyway, to a number of
          > > prominent neighboring cultures, were familiar with a wide range of
          > > artistic styles.
          > > > It is also well known that both the Kuba and the Kusu often
          > > purchased power objects from the Songye, a non-Mongo people who were
          > > respected for their mastery of the dark arts. So, when Marc Felix
          > > says that your piece; mixes elements from Luba zoomorphic masks with
          > > some Kuba inspired elements as well as Songye and Tetela, he might be
          > > acknowledging the truth that real Tetela art in fact does mix all of
          > > those elements.
          > > >
          > > > Enough of the hypothesizing, though. Let's take a good physical
          > > look at the mask:
          > > >
          > > > 1. The horns are well-carved but do not look like the curved
          > > horns often seen on Luba masks (see photo). Are the horns integral
          > > with the wood of the mask? If they were glued on, however artfully,
          > > the mask is almost certainly a fake.
          > > > 2. The way the holes are drilled on the borders of the mask
          > > looks odd to me. Stylistically, the mask most closely resembles a
          > > Luba/Songye Kifwebe. But, the Luba normally carve a border along the
          > > edges of the Kifwebe for the piercing of holes (see photos). The
          > > Songye don't seem to carve a border but the holes in their masks are
          > > numerous, small, and close to the edges (see photos). The holes in
          > > your mask are large, irregular, widely-spaced, and disrupt the
          > > design. I am not sure a fake would go to such extremes, although the
          > > Congolese are imaginative and resourceful fakers. But if a mask were
          > > traded from one group to another such that its use changed from that
          > > of a wall-hanging, say, to a dance mask, then holes would have to be
          > > pierced to support the costume.
          > > > 3. Are the nostrils drilled out? This is just a detail but
          > > Katanga masks, no matter what the culture, almost always incorporate
          > > drilled paired nostrils in the noses.
          > > > 4. It's hard to tell from your photos, but what appear to be
          > > triangular ears are visible. I have never seen visible ears on Luba
          > > or Songye masks; the ears carved on, or attached to, Kuba masks are
          > > quite different from the style of your mask.
          > > > 5. The mask appears to be sporting a goatee. I believe beards
          > > are rare on Luba or Songye masks. (The famous horned Luba mask in
          > > Tervuren does have a beard.........)
          > > > 6. Is the mask carved from relatively hard wood or relatively
          > > soft wood? Luba and Songye Kifwebe masks are generally carved from
          > > relatively soft wood, although, I have a small Kifwebe, carved in
          > > hard wood, that came from Katea, a town in north Katanga that is very
          > > near Tetela territory.
          > > >
          > > > When you are really clear about how your mask fits into the
          > > regional context and what traditions it borrows from, you can try to
          > > research Tetela masks in other collections. Once you have backed up
          > > your beliefs with photographs and documents you will be more credible
          > > in defending your mask as authentic. I think you have an argument to
          > > make.
          > > >
          > > > Regards,
          > > >
          > > > Paul
          > > >
          > > > PS I have created Tetela photo album for photos illustrating some
          > > of the above points.
          > > >
          > > > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/50a7?m=l
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > ----- Original Message -----
          > > > From: congabongoman
          > > > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
          > > > Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 3:58 PM
          > > > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Masks, etc. from DRC - question on
          > > tetela mask
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > Fyi- I just heard back from Marc Felix, a noted expert from
          > > Belgium,
          > > > who offered the following in response to the pictures of
          > > the "Tetela"
          > > > mask I sent him:
          > > >
          > > > "As far as I am concerned, this mask is a pure invention. It mixes
          > > > elements from Luba zoomorphic masks with some Kuba inspired
          > > elements
          > > > as well as Songye and Tetela. To me, this is a pure fabrication
          > > by a
          > > > gifted African, made to deceive."
          > > >
          > > > Call me stubborn, but due to the patina and clear signs of
          > > age/wear
          > > > even in the holes where the raffia rubbed, I still haven't given
          > > up
          > > > the ship (despite the cannon hole). After all, they said the same
          > > > thing about the ceolocanth, till one turned up in a fishing
          > > net. :)
          > > > While I'm still only an amateur collector, I remain "out standing
          > > in
          > > > my field." lol.
          > > >
          > > > Chris
          > > >
          > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "congabongoman"
          > > > <congabongoman@> wrote:
          > > > >
          > > > > I wanted to follow up to the group with a postscript on Tetela
          > > > > masks. As some of you pointed out, there has apparantly been
          > > > debate
          > > > > by some top scholars over the years about whether there is such
          > > a
          > > > > thing as a Tetela mask. I've finally tracked down available
          > > copies
          > > > > of the seminal articles, including those by De Heursch and by
          > > > > Francois Neyt (who apparantly disagrees with Heursch's
          > > conclusion),
          > > > > and they are now en route. I also followed up with my friend
          > > from
          > > > > Kampala who spoke with the Ugandan individual that collected the
          > > > > horned mask that I have, which started this discussion. He
          > > > confirmed
          > > > > that it is Tetela (and laughed when told that some scholars say
          > > > there
          > > > > is no such thing) and stated that it was collected in the Tetela
          > > > > village of Wembo-Nyama in Kasai Orientale in DRC. Anyway, I'm
          > > > looking
          > > > > forward to getting and reading the articles but thought I'd pass
          > > > this
          > > > > info along to the group for edification. I'll keep you all
          > > posted
          > > > on
          > > > > anything more that I'm able to find out.
          > > > >
          > > > > Chris
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "congabongoman"
          > > > > <congabongoman@> wrote:
          > > > > >
          > > > > > Thanks, Paisarn. I actually own the Barbieri book and have
          > > read
          > > > > that
          > > > > > entry many times. I believe you'll find that the mask
          > > referenced
          > > > > > (with the 3 prongs extending over the head) is distinct and
          > > > > different
          > > > > > from the one I have, tho' they are from neighboring
          > > > > regions/peoples.
          > > > > > I have yet to see any dispositive discussion of this mask,
          > > tho'
          > > > > I've
          > > > > > seen cheap copies posted on E-bay and refered to as a Biombo
          > > > Nyett
          > > > > > mask. There's also a pic of a copy that comes up from a
          > > gallery
          > > > on
          > > > > > the Web that references it as Tetela. Thanks to anyone who can
          > > > > shed
          > > > > > light on its history.
          > > > > >
          > > > > > Chris
          > > > > >
          > > > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, P L <asiantrekker@>
          > > wrote:
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > Hello Chris,
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > Thank you for sharing with us photos of your collection.
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > Regarding "Tetela" masks, there is one on plate 89 in the
          > > > > > book "African Masks: the Barbier-Mueller Collection" which
          > > is, I
          > > > > > find, the best reference for masks and cheaply available from
          > > > > > Amazon.com.
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > According to the book, this type of mask is now thought to
          > > be
          > > > > > actually Tempa Songye, not Tetela. The book also refers to
          > > > similar
          > > > > > masks in the British Museum and the Seattle Art Museum.
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > It's a bit late here, so I will sign off. But if you'd like
          > > > me
          > > > > to
          > > > > > quote from the book or post the picture, maybe I can do so
          > > during
          > > > > the
          > > > > > weekend.
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > Cheers, Paisarn
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > congabongoman <congabongoman@> wrote:
          > > > > > > Hi all-
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > I just joined and posted some pics of some of my favorite
          > > > pieces
          > > > > in
          > > > > > my
          > > > > > > collection in 2 photo albums. Photo albums are named:
          > > > > > > "Masks,etc. from the DRC"
          > > > > >
          > > > (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/e1f9)
          > > > > > and
          > > > > > > "DRC Masks, etc. Part 2"
          > > > > >
          > > >
          > > (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/f48e).
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > I have a good friend in Kampala that I acquired these from.
          > > I'm
          > > > > > particularly interested in feedback on the Tetela mask in the
          > > > first
          > > > > > album. It's very old and was used extensively. I've seen many
          > > > > > fakes/copies of this style but I have not seen a real one
          > > > anywhere.
          > > > > > Does anyone know of any? Also, I was told its used for child
          > > > > > protection (most likely circumcision rituals) but I was
          > > wondering
          > > > > if
          > > > > > anyone had any more info they might be able to provide?
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > Also of interest is the Bembe village telegraph which is a
          > > pun
          > > > on
          > > > > > old-
          > > > > > > style telephones. The leopard mask is also very rare and was
          > > > used
          > > > > > for
          > > > > > > village protection. Finally, the Kusu fetish and Hemba soko
          > > are
          > > > > > also
          > > > > > > exceptional. Enjoy and thanks for any feedback!
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > Best Regards,
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > Chris
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > ---------------------------------
          > > > > > > Building a website is a piece of cake.
          > > > > > > Yahoo! Small Business gives you all the tools to get online.
          > > > > > >
          > > > > >
          > > > >
          > > >
          > >
          >

        • congabongoman
          Markus- Thanks for the info on the tetela mask. That s the best lead I ve had yet. I haven t been able to find reference to the Schaedler book. Do you
          Message 4 of 14 , Aug 6, 2007
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            Markus-

            Thanks for the info on the "tetela" mask. That's the best lead I've
            had yet. I haven't been able to find reference to the Schaedler
            book. Do you know when it was published? Does anyone else have any
            info on the Catherine C White collection and where the mask may have
            ended up? Thanks!

            Chris

            --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "escultura78" <markuswurm@...>
            wrote:
            >
            >
            > Lee,
            >
            > thank you for your further research on Ituri and your statement to
            > identification and authentication…
            >
            > Paul,
            >
            > Thank you too for your contribution to Ituri. It did help...
            >
            > Some further information I gathered: The book "Afrikanische Masken
            > – aus der Sammlung Barbier-Müller, Genf (Hahner-Herzog,
            > Kecskési, Vajda)" depicts a Kumu nsembu mask which is 27,3 cm
            > high.
            http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?b=8
            > <http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?
            b=8>
            > But a B/W photo below, which was taken 1973 in the village
            > Benekwa-Babatume shows that Kumu masks can apparently be much
            larger. It
            > shows a male-female pair of masks which are very large.
            > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?b=9
            > <http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?
            b=9>
            > Although it is not possible to find out their exact height they
            seem to
            > be higher than 35cm. I try to translate a part of the text which is
            > written in German (please don't worry if the text is not perfect
            > translated). For me this information was new, perhaps it's
            > interesting for the group too: "The use of Kumu masks seems to be
            > limited to the nkunda-association which is reserved to the
            > fortune-tellers. The masks are seen as the embodied spirits of the
            > fortune-tellers and are allowed to be seen only by initiates.
            Occasions
            > for the performance of the masks, which are owned by the
            > association-eldest are initiations of adepts or commemoration
            ceremonies
            > for deceased members. At these nightly ceremonies a male-female
            pair of
            > masks which is wrapped in costumes made of bark-cloth and reed
            performs
            > a dance using head and arms while sitting on a bench..."
            >
            >
            >
            > In addition I came across a Tetela mask which resembles in some way
            > Chris' mask. I found it in the book of Karl Ferdinand Schaedler,
            > which I already mentioned. Unfortunately the picture is no photo.
            It is
            > a sketch from a mask from the former collection Catherine C. White.
            >
            > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?b=10
            > <http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?
            b=10>
            >
            > Once more I try to translate the text, which is conceived as general
            > information about the Tetela: "This martial cultural group, which
            > belongs to the Mongo in Central Zaire can artistically divided in
            the
            > northern Mongo-culture of the rain-forest and the southern culture
            > turned to the Sonye. Thus masks and figures show different
            features: The
            > figures of the north are schematically and resemble those of other
            > groups of the Mongo-culture, for example Yela, Mbole or Jonga. The
            > figures of the south however are similar to those of the Songye. The
            > masks of the north are designed relatively simple, those of the
            south
            > often show very individual constructions with tower-like structures
            or
            > horns, embellished with black/white coloured curvilinear ornaments –
            > Without doubt the influence of kifwebe-masks of Luba and Songye."
            >
            >
            >
            > Best regards
            >
            >
            >
            > Markus
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Paul De Lucco" <pauldelucco@>
            > wrote:
            > >
            > > Markus,
            > >
            > > I have to weigh in here on the Ituri mask question. I have been
            > collecting so-called Ituri masks for the last few years and have
            made an
            > effort, with only partial success, to distinguish one from another
            by
            > stylistic differences.
            > >
            > > There is an interesting book on the great Belgian art historian
            Frans
            > M. Olbrechts; In Search of Art in Africa. In the catalogue section
            of
            > the book, cat.71, is a text box: According to Olbrechts, the reason
            the
            > sculpture of the extensive Northeastern and Northwestern area was
            but
            > little known was to do with the fact that the region is much poorer
            in
            > sculpture than the sculpturally-rich centres of the south. He also
            > contended that they were much less well studied as a consequence of
            the
            > little aesthetic enjoyment the study of this art would provide. . .
            > Still, according to Olbrechts the lack of stylistic consistency
            means
            > the identity of the makers of the sculpture from these areas can
            seldom
            > be discovered on the basis of the sculpture's morphology.
            > >
            > > With the exception of the Mangbetu, the Zande, and perhaps the
            Boa,
            > the art history of the ethnic groups of the northeast Congo has
            never
            > been well studied. Recently, Marc Felix has, with some success,
            > attempted to classify art from the larger groups. But many of the
            Ituri
            > groups are small and they are intermixed over a vast area - the
            > description Ituri takes in not just the Ituri Forest but the
            cultures
            > south of the forest to the borders of Lega country in the south
            Kivu,
            > west to Kisangani, and north to the Sudan border.
            > >
            > > Unfortunately, it is this vast area, probably as large as Kenya,
            that
            > has been plagued with war lords and marauding armies for the last
            ten
            > years. These small indigenous cultures have been under enormous
            stress
            > and some of them are unlikely to survive the convulsions through
            which
            > the DRC is going. It is not surprising that a lot more art from the
            > region is finding its way to the market place.
            > >
            > > I remember a conference room at the big Hyatt Hotel in Bethesda,
            > Maryland, which was decorated years ago - and may still be - with
            the
            > framed feathered neckwear of Amazonian Indians. The captions stated
            that
            > many of the tribes that had produced these beautiful works were
            probably
            > already "extinct." I did not know how to take that statement at the
            time
            > and I still don't. All I can say is the collector's classic excuse:
            the
            > Ituri masks I have collected are fragile, made of wood, and if they
            were
            > not collected they would disappear.
            > >
            > > A large number of masks have come out of the Ituri, their styles
            so
            > undifferentiated that we often cannot even assign them to one
            culture or
            > another. And we don't know if the cultures exist any longer. The
            flow
            > seems to have tapered off and has been replaced by a new and growing
            > flow of fakes that is further confusing the story.
            > > I think maybe "Ituri" is as close as we will get to identifying
            most
            > of these masks. I have opened a file in the photo section
            named "Ituri"
            > (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/1075?
            m=l)
            > in which I have placed a number of photos I have put together of
            these
            > interesting masks, most of them pieces I collected.
            > >
            > > As nearly as one can tell from a photograph, your mask looks good
            to
            > me even if it doesn't look like any of the ones I have collected. I
            do
            > not think it is Kumu because it lacks the square eyes that are a
            > characteristic of Kumu masking. The way the mask is indented in the
            > middle, like a guitar, is unlike any of the masks I have seen. For
            some
            > reason, perhpas the teeth, it reminds me of Boa masks I have seen.
            If it
            > is related to the Boa, it would be on the western border of the
            Ituri
            > zone. The height of your mask, 34cm, is greater than all but two of
            the
            > masks in my collection. The wood "insertions" are probably
            traditional
            > repairs of insect damage. The worm holes you mention are, I
            believe, a
            > characteristic of the wood used for these masks. The Lega use the
            same
            > kind of light wood that, with age and drying, develops scattered
            splits
            > in the grain that look like worm holes. I did not find great
            examples
            > among my collection but I attach two photos of Lega masks that with
            > grain splits on the tops. I have been assured by sellers that such
            > markings are a common characteristic of the wood.
            > >
            > > Hope this helps.
            > >
            > > Regards,
            > >
            > > Paul
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > ----- Original Message -----
            > > From: escultura78
            > > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            > > Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 11:37 PM
            > > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Masks, etc. from DRC - question on
            Tetela
            > mask
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > Hello!
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > I closely followed your discussion about Chris' Tetela mask.
            > Unfortunately my knowledge on this topic is too little to give any
            > useful advices. All I can say is, that I have never seen such a
            > stylistic mix of Kuba, Songye, Luba.in a catalogue, book or any
            > respectable publication, but this does not mean a thing.
            > >
            > > But on this occasion I want to mention a problem with one of my
            masks,
            > which is from DRC too: A Ituri mask, which I bought from a reliable
            > German gallery. The owner of the gallery called it "good old", but
            I am
            > not sure. The mask is 34cm high and is carved from relatively light
            wood
            > with inclusions of extremely light wood (these areas can be dented
            with
            > the fingers). On the chin and on the forehead these inclusion were
            cut
            > out and normal wood was inserted. Another inclusion is along the
            rim of
            > the nose - this is the reason for the damage at the nose. What is
            in my
            > opinion odd: The surface seems to be worked with "European" tools
            like a
            > file or something similar. The second aspect which makes me
            suspicious
            > is, that the mask smells like smoked meat. Is it possible that the
            mask
            > has been stored in a hut, in which cooking has been done, or is it
            more
            > likely a sign of treating the mask with smoke to let it look older?
            The
            > third aspect which makes me suspicious is that there are many worm
            holes
            > in the mask but the insect attack happened apparently before the
            > creation of the mask because no worm holes are in a right angle to
            the
            > surface (like the worm holes in airport art use to look like). I
            know
            > that this is no evidence for a fake. But isn't it unlikely, that a
            > tribally used mask was not infested by insects, when the raw
            material
            > was already infested?
            > >
            > > The problem is, that I don't know much about Ituri and I did not
            get a
            > book about Ituri for a reasonable price. In the web I did not find
            much
            > too. Can anyone assign the mask to a certain tribe? As far as I know
            > Ituri is a general term for many tribes in the Ituri forest.
            > >
            > > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/d585?
            c=
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > I would appreciate any information
            > >
            > > Thanks in advance
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > Markus
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "congabongoman"
            congabongoman@
            > wrote:
            > > >
            > > > Paul-
            > > >
            > > > Thanks so much for your excellent post. I certainly do take
            Felix's
            > > > opinion seriously and didn't mean to imply otherwise by the
            tone of
            > > > my post. I simply have not personally accepted it as
            dispositive on
            > > > the issue...particularly when based on photos alone, and was
            fessing
            > > > up to my own stubborness in somewhat glib fashion. I'd welcome
            the
            > > > oppty for an expert to veiw it in person but, sadly, truly
            qualified
            > > > persons on DRC art are few and far between. Anyone know any such
            > > > persons in DC or Philadelphia?
            > > >
            > > > To answer your questions about the mask, it is carved entirely
            from
            > a
            > > > single piece of very hard wood (horns and all). The holes are
            > > > irregularly shaped and large (as tho made by a hot poker before
            > > > drills became widely available). They are also heavily worn,
            perhaps
            > > > by the rubbing of raffia/cordage. The mask also has well worn
            patina
            > > > from handling as well as age, in addition to clear age cracks
            > > > (visible in the right horn and through the forehead region), in
            > > > addition to old damage at the bottom (now patinated) and damage
            to
            > > > the rear top, which appears to have been repaired (visible in
            the
            > > > photos of the back). It has no nose holes-only mouth and eyes.
            The
            > > > interesting thing is that there are many examples of
            cheap "copies"
            > > > of this mask (of lesser workmanship and w/o mouth holes etc.)
            that
            > > > can be seen online (e.g., if one does an image search on Google
            > > > of "biombo nyett mask" or "tetela mask") and have the same
            patterns,
            > > > horns, etc., but were clearly made for sale and/or intended to
            be
            > > > copies of this mask style. As such, if it is a fake and was
            created
            > > > entirely to deceive, this style seems to have "taken" in the
            african
            > > > art market. The mask does have stylized "ears" worked into the
            > > > geometrical patterns of the carving on the side, as well as a
            > > > stylized "goatee" below the mouth. My guess is that the mask may
            > > > have been worn and, once broken, may have been used as a fetish
            > > > object, althought this is pure speculation.
            > > >
            > > > The bottom line for me is that I trust the person I purchased it
            > from
            > > > and the person who collected the mask in DRC. I'm continuing my
            > > > research into Tetela masks in an effort to learn more info but,
            > > > whether or not it was actually carved by the tetela or was
            acquired
            > > > by them from another source, or was not even used by them at
            all,
            > > > it's a very rare and beautifully carved work that I'll continue
            to
            > > > appreciate for its aesthetic, if not socio-anthropological
            > qualities.
            > > >
            > > > Thanks again for the great historical background and for sharing
            > your
            > > > thoughts and photos!
            > > >
            > > > Best Regards,
            > > >
            > > > Chris
            > > >
            > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Paul De Lucco"
            > > > pauldelucco@ wrote:
            > > > >
            > > > > Chris,
            > > > >
            > > > > No one has studied the confused art history of the north
            > > > Katanga/south Kivu area of DRC like Marc Felix. He brought a
            lot of
            > > > study and intellectual vigor to the analysis and anything he
            says on
            > > > the subject must be taken seriously.
            > > > >
            > > > > But, even though Marc Felix is probably correct in his
            assessment,
            > > > in my opinion there is still plenty of wiggle room to justify
            your
            > > > stubbornness. The Tetela are an interesting group for study.
            > > > Briefly, to put them in the context of the Congo: After the
            council
            > > > of Berlin, when King Leopold set up the Congo Free State and his
            > > > forces asserted control in the Congo, they first employed
            soldiers,
            > > > Swahili speaking askaris, from Zanzibar. As the "Free State"
            became
            > > > established, the Belgians began recruiting and training local
            > > > soldiers, especially from the Tetela, who were known as
            warriors and
            > > > who had learned Swahili from the Omani slavers. Around the turn
            of
            > > > the century, the Tetela staged the first revolt against Belgian
            > > > rule. After that episode, the Belgians began recruiting from a
            wider
            > > > range of ethnic groups and took care not to station troops in
            areas
            > > > of their origin. They also introduced Lingala as the military
            > > > language. I think it is fair to say that the Tetela were
            > > > marginalized afterwards and took little part in development of
            the
            > > > colony. Their main town is Lodja, in Sankuru District of Kasai-
            > > > Orientale, just about in the middle of the Congo. But the Lodja
            > > > Tetela, primarily merchants, were known as the "Arabized
            Tetela" and
            > > > were resented by traditional rural Tetela. At the dawn of
            > > > independence, the traditional Tetela carried out ethnic
            cleansing in
            > > > Lodja, burning out the Arabized Tetela. The rural Tetela live
            east
            > > > of Lodja, almost to the Lualaba River. Linguistically, the
            Tetela
            > > > are a Mongo people, related to the Kuba as well as the northern
            > > > cultures around Equateur Province, and very closely related to
            the
            > > > Kusu, who live near Kindu on the Lualaba River north of
            Katanga. The
            > > > point of this historical narrative is:
            > > > > 1. The rural Tetela have always been considered difficult and
            > > > did not receive much attention from experts on the Congo,
            including
            > > > anthropologists and art historians;
            > > > > 2. The Tetela, occupying as they do, the central region of the
            > > > Congo, and being related, linguistically anyway, to a number of
            > > > prominent neighboring cultures, were familiar with a wide range
            of
            > > > artistic styles.
            > > > > It is also well known that both the Kuba and the Kusu often
            > > > purchased power objects from the Songye, a non-Mongo people who
            were
            > > > respected for their mastery of the dark arts. So, when Marc
            Felix
            > > > says that your piece; mixes elements from Luba zoomorphic masks
            with
            > > > some Kuba inspired elements as well as Songye and Tetela, he
            might
            > be
            > > > acknowledging the truth that real Tetela art in fact does mix
            all of
            > > > those elements.
            > > > >
            > > > > Enough of the hypothesizing, though. Let's take a good
            physical
            > > > look at the mask:
            > > > >
            > > > > 1. The horns are well-carved but do not look like the curved
            > > > horns often seen on Luba masks (see photo). Are the horns
            integral
            > > > with the wood of the mask? If they were glued on, however
            artfully,
            > > > the mask is almost certainly a fake.
            > > > > 2. The way the holes are drilled on the borders of the mask
            > > > looks odd to me. Stylistically, the mask most closely resembles
            a
            > > > Luba/Songye Kifwebe. But, the Luba normally carve a border
            along the
            > > > edges of the Kifwebe for the piercing of holes (see photos). The
            > > > Songye don't seem to carve a border but the holes in their
            masks are
            > > > numerous, small, and close to the edges (see photos). The holes
            in
            > > > your mask are large, irregular, widely-spaced, and disrupt the
            > > > design. I am not sure a fake would go to such extremes,
            although the
            > > > Congolese are imaginative and resourceful fakers. But if a mask
            were
            > > > traded from one group to another such that its use changed from
            that
            > > > of a wall-hanging, say, to a dance mask, then holes would have
            to be
            > > > pierced to support the costume.
            > > > > 3. Are the nostrils drilled out? This is just a detail but
            > > > Katanga masks, no matter what the culture, almost always
            incorporate
            > > > drilled paired nostrils in the noses.
            > > > > 4. It's hard to tell from your photos, but what appear to be
            > > > triangular ears are visible. I have never seen visible ears on
            Luba
            > > > or Songye masks; the ears carved on, or attached to, Kuba masks
            are
            > > > quite different from the style of your mask.
            > > > > 5. The mask appears to be sporting a goatee. I believe beards
            > > > are rare on Luba or Songye masks. (The famous horned Luba mask
            in
            > > > Tervuren does have a beard.........)
            > > > > 6. Is the mask carved from relatively hard wood or relatively
            > > > soft wood? Luba and Songye Kifwebe masks are generally carved
            from
            > > > relatively soft wood, although, I have a small Kifwebe, carved
            in
            > > > hard wood, that came from Katea, a town in north Katanga that is
            > very
            > > > near Tetela territory.
            > > > >
            > > > > When you are really clear about how your mask fits into the
            > > > regional context and what traditions it borrows from, you can
            try to
            > > > research Tetela masks in other collections. Once you have
            backed up
            > > > your beliefs with photographs and documents you will be more
            > credible
            > > > in defending your mask as authentic. I think you have an
            argument to
            > > > make.
            > > > >
            > > > > Regards,
            > > > >
            > > > > Paul
            > > > >
            > > > > PS I have created Tetela photo album for photos illustrating
            some
            > > > of the above points.
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/50a7?m=l
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > ----- Original Message -----
            > > > > From: congabongoman
            > > > > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            > > > > Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 3:58 PM
            > > > > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Masks, etc. from DRC - question on
            > > > tetela mask
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > Fyi- I just heard back from Marc Felix, a noted expert from
            > > > Belgium,
            > > > > who offered the following in response to the pictures of
            > > > the "Tetela"
            > > > > mask I sent him:
            > > > >
            > > > > "As far as I am concerned, this mask is a pure invention. It
            mixes
            > > > > elements from Luba zoomorphic masks with some Kuba inspired
            > > > elements
            > > > > as well as Songye and Tetela. To me, this is a pure
            fabrication
            > > > by a
            > > > > gifted African, made to deceive."
            > > > >
            > > > > Call me stubborn, but due to the patina and clear signs of
            > > > age/wear
            > > > > even in the holes where the raffia rubbed, I still haven't
            given
            > > > up
            > > > > the ship (despite the cannon hole). After all, they said the
            same
            > > > > thing about the ceolocanth, till one turned up in a fishing
            > > > net. :)
            > > > > While I'm still only an amateur collector, I remain "out
            standing
            > > > in
            > > > > my field." lol.
            > > > >
            > > > > Chris
            > > > >
            > > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "congabongoman"
            > > > > <congabongoman@> wrote:
            > > > > >
            > > > > > I wanted to follow up to the group with a postscript on
            Tetela
            > > > > > masks. As some of you pointed out, there has apparantly been
            > > > > debate
            > > > > > by some top scholars over the years about whether there is
            such
            > > > a
            > > > > > thing as a Tetela mask. I've finally tracked down available
            > > > copies
            > > > > > of the seminal articles, including those by De Heursch and
            by
            > > > > > Francois Neyt (who apparantly disagrees with Heursch's
            > > > conclusion),
            > > > > > and they are now en route. I also followed up with my friend
            > > > from
            > > > > > Kampala who spoke with the Ugandan individual that
            collected the
            > > > > > horned mask that I have, which started this discussion. He
            > > > > confirmed
            > > > > > that it is Tetela (and laughed when told that some scholars
            say
            > > > > there
            > > > > > is no such thing) and stated that it was collected in the
            Tetela
            > > > > > village of Wembo-Nyama in Kasai Orientale in DRC. Anyway,
            I'm
            > > > > looking
            > > > > > forward to getting and reading the articles but thought I'd
            pass
            > > > > this
            > > > > > info along to the group for edification. I'll keep you all
            > > > posted
            > > > > on
            > > > > > anything more that I'm able to find out.
            > > > > >
            > > > > > Chris
            > > > > >
            > > > > >
            > > > > >
            > > > > >
            > > > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "congabongoman"
            > > > > > <congabongoman@> wrote:
            > > > > > >
            > > > > > > Thanks, Paisarn. I actually own the Barbieri book and have
            > > > read
            > > > > > that
            > > > > > > entry many times. I believe you'll find that the mask
            > > > referenced
            > > > > > > (with the 3 prongs extending over the head) is distinct
            and
            > > > > > different
            > > > > > > from the one I have, tho' they are from neighboring
            > > > > > regions/peoples.
            > > > > > > I have yet to see any dispositive discussion of this mask,
            > > > tho'
            > > > > > I've
            > > > > > > seen cheap copies posted on E-bay and refered to as a
            Biombo
            > > > > Nyett
            > > > > > > mask. There's also a pic of a copy that comes up from a
            > > > gallery
            > > > > on
            > > > > > > the Web that references it as Tetela. Thanks to anyone
            who can
            > > > > > shed
            > > > > > > light on its history.
            > > > > > >
            > > > > > > Chris
            > > > > > >
            > > > > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, P L <asiantrekker@>
            > > > wrote:
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > Hello Chris,
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > Thank you for sharing with us photos of your collection.
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > Regarding "Tetela" masks, there is one on plate 89 in
            the
            > > > > > > book "African Masks: the Barbier-Mueller Collection" which
            > > > is, I
            > > > > > > find, the best reference for masks and cheaply available
            from
            > > > > > > Amazon.com.
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > According to the book, this type of mask is now thought
            to
            > > > be
            > > > > > > actually Tempa Songye, not Tetela. The book also refers to
            > > > > similar
            > > > > > > masks in the British Museum and the Seattle Art Museum.
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > It's a bit late here, so I will sign off. But if you'd
            like
            > > > > me
            > > > > > to
            > > > > > > quote from the book or post the picture, maybe I can do so
            > > > during
            > > > > > the
            > > > > > > weekend.
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > Cheers, Paisarn
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > congabongoman <congabongoman@> wrote:
            > > > > > > > Hi all-
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > I just joined and posted some pics of some of my
            favorite
            > > > > pieces
            > > > > > in
            > > > > > > my
            > > > > > > > collection in 2 photo albums. Photo albums are named:
            > > > > > > > "Masks,etc. from the DRC"
            > > > > > >
            > > > >
            (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/e1f9)
            > > > > > > and
            > > > > > > > "DRC Masks, etc. Part 2"
            > > > > > >
            > > > >
            > > >
            (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/f48e).
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > I have a good friend in Kampala that I acquired these
            from.
            > > > I'm
            > > > > > > particularly interested in feedback on the Tetela mask in
            the
            > > > > first
            > > > > > > album. It's very old and was used extensively. I've seen
            many
            > > > > > > fakes/copies of this style but I have not seen a real one
            > > > > anywhere.
            > > > > > > Does anyone know of any? Also, I was told its used for
            child
            > > > > > > protection (most likely circumcision rituals) but I was
            > > > wondering
            > > > > > if
            > > > > > > anyone had any more info they might be able to provide?
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > Also of interest is the Bembe village telegraph which
            is a
            > > > pun
            > > > > on
            > > > > > > old-
            > > > > > > > style telephones. The leopard mask is also very rare
            and was
            > > > > used
            > > > > > > for
            > > > > > > > village protection. Finally, the Kusu fetish and Hemba
            soko
            > > > are
            > > > > > > also
            > > > > > > > exceptional. Enjoy and thanks for any feedback!
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > Best Regards,
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > Chris
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > ---------------------------------
            > > > > > > > Building a website is a piece of cake.
            > > > > > > > Yahoo! Small Business gives you all the tools to get
            online.
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > >
            > > > > >
            > > > >
            > > >
            > >
            >
          • Lee Rubinstein
            Chris: Most -- if not all -- of the Katherine C. [Coryton] White Collection is now a central element of the Seattle Art Museum [SAM] s African Collection.
            Message 5 of 14 , Aug 6, 2007
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              Chris:

              Most -- if not all -- of the Katherine C. [Coryton] White Collection is now a central element of the Seattle Art Museum [SAM]'s African Collection.  Many pieces from the collection toured a few years ago as the primary source of objects for "African Art, African Voices:  Long Steps Never Broke A Back."  See  http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/Exhibit/Archive/longsteps/  although the mask which you are seeking was not among the works exhibited nor have I yet found it through on-line resources or publications of SAM.  As I mentioned, however, one often finds what one is seeking when one ceases to look or while searching for something else.  

              I knew I had a picture of the crouching "Songye" figure to which John Buxton referred in his contribution to the discussion of the Tetela and Major John Noble White and finally came across it in the most obvious of places (given the reference to the University Museum in John's message) -- in the book African Sculpture from the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania by Allen Wardwell -- which illustrates and describes some of the best known works from the University Museum's collection.  

              The figure to which John referred had been reportedly collected by Major John Noble White "at Lebefu c. 1925 and purchased from him in 1930" by the University Museum (Wardwell, p. 127).  Images below come from pp. 126-127 of the Wardwell book as well -- as do all of the references in this posting.  Although this figure offers no immediate insight on the question of "Tetela" masks, it is perhaps more relevant to our discussion last July regarding "The Man Who Thinks Too Much" and crouching figures from regions of DRC and Angola (See discussion beginning with Message 1339).  We considered particularly Lulua and Chokwe figures of crouching posture with notable characteristics such as highly articulated ribs -- which are not in evidence in this figure but are visible in a second figure in this posture and of quite different origin, also illustrated below.  Attributed to the Tetela again by White (and we know the ambiguity there), this Tetela crouching, or "squatting" figure (15+5/8" or 39.5 cm) is quite striking and remarkable for its fine carving, expressive features and embellishment with "brass rings, glass beads and human hair with cloth backing." (p.127)

              "Collection information recorded by J. Noble White indicates that this figure was called Odima, or the Black One.  A woman who wanted to bear a child paid a fee to the custodian of the image.  he then conversed with the figure, which answered him with a whistling noise.  This apparently accounts for the unusual appearance of the lips and mouth... If a child was subsequently born to a woman who had consulted the image, it was hailed as the 'Gift of Odima';  if not, the woman was accused of marital infidelity." (p. 127 [citing source as J. Noble White, "Idol or Dikixi of the Otetela Tribe," n.d., General Information on African Collection --Letters, Object Inventory and Description, Inventory Lists; Africa, Curatorial, Box 3. Collections, UMA.])

              The additional crouching figure -- which appears in the same collection and publication --  is attributed to the Ngala with reference to the "Soba Marimba" and was "[C]ollected by Amandus Johnson in Angola between 1922 and 1924, and purchased from Henry C. Mercer in 1927." (p. 136)

              It is interesting to see a perhaps broader distribution or occurrence of figures in such a posture as well as a more diverse range of possible functions associated therewith.

              Also, one more mask attributed as "Batetela" appears on the web-site of Merton D. Simpson: 

              Lee


            • escultura78
              Hello Chris! The Schaedler book gives a survey of the most important ethnic groups of Africa as well as an briefly historical overview, but it gives no
              Message 6 of 14 , Aug 6, 2007
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                Hello Chris!

                The Schaedler book gives a survey of the most important ethnic groups of Africa as well as an briefly historical overview, but it gives no detailed information about certain tribes, masks etc. and it is written in German. Here is the reference to this book: Schaedler, Karl Ferdinand: 1997, Afrikanische Kunst. Von der Frühzeit bis heute, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag GmbH & Co.KG, München.

                Unfortunately I have no idea where the mask may have ended up. Perhaps you can find some further information about the mask in the book of Thompson which is mentioned in the index of the illustrations in the Schaedler book: "Tetela mask, 43,2cm, former collection Catherine C. White; according to Thompson, 1974" From the bibliography: "Thompson, Robert Farris: 1970, The Sign of he Divine King, in: AA/III/3: 8-17, 74-80. Idem in: Fraser/Cole (eds.), 1972: 227-260" Oddly enough in this bibliography the year 1974 is not quoted, but at tribalartbooks.com I found a book which is probably the right one: "Thompson, R.F. AFRICAN ART IN MOTION. UCLA and National Gallery of Art 1974" The direct link to the web page is: http://www.tribalartbooks.com/cgi-bin/tab455/4256.html 

                I hope this helps

                Markus


                --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "congabongoman" <congabongoman@...> wrote:
                >
                > Markus-
                >
                > Thanks for the info on the "tetela" mask. That's the best lead I've
                > had yet. I haven't been able to find reference to the Schaedler
                > book. Do you know when it was published? Does anyone else have any
                > info on the Catherine C White collection and where the mask may have
                > ended up? Thanks!
                >
                > Chris
                >
                > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "escultura78" markuswurm@
                > wrote:
                > >
                > >
                > > Lee,
                > >
                > > thank you for your further research on Ituri and your statement to
                > > identification and authentication…
                > >
                > > Paul,
                > >
                > > Thank you too for your contribution to Ituri. It did help...
                > >
                > > Some further information I gathered: The book "Afrikanische Masken
                > > – aus der Sammlung Barbier-Müller, Genf (Hahner-Herzog,
                > > Kecskési, Vajda)" depicts a Kumu nsembu mask which is 27,3 cm
                > > high.
                > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?b=8
                > > <http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?
                > b=8>
                > > But a B/W photo below, which was taken 1973 in the village
                > > Benekwa-Babatume shows that Kumu masks can apparently be much
                > larger. It
                > > shows a male-female pair of masks which are very large.
                > > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?b=9
                > > <http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?
                > b=9>
                > > Although it is not possible to find out their exact height they
                > seem to
                > > be higher than 35cm. I try to translate a part of the text which is
                > > written in German (please don't worry if the text is not perfect
                > > translated). For me this information was new, perhaps it's
                > > interesting for the group too: "The use of Kumu masks seems to be
                > > limited to the nkunda-association which is reserved to the
                > > fortune-tellers. The masks are seen as the embodied spirits of the
                > > fortune-tellers and are allowed to be seen only by initiates.
                > Occasions
                > > for the performance of the masks, which are owned by the
                > > association-eldest are initiations of adepts or commemoration
                > ceremonies
                > > for deceased members. At these nightly ceremonies a male-female
                > pair of
                > > masks which is wrapped in costumes made of bark-cloth and reed
                > performs
                > > a dance using head and arms while sitting on a bench..."
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > In addition I came across a Tetela mask which resembles in some way
                > > Chris' mask. I found it in the book of Karl Ferdinand Schaedler,
                > > which I already mentioned. Unfortunately the picture is no photo.
                > It is
                > > a sketch from a mask from the former collection Catherine C. White.
                > >
                > > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?b=10
                > > <http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/d585?
                > b=10>
                > >
                > > Once more I try to translate the text, which is conceived as general
                > > information about the Tetela: "This martial cultural group, which
                > > belongs to the Mongo in Central Zaire can artistically divided in
                > the
                > > northern Mongo-culture of the rain-forest and the southern culture
                > > turned to the Sonye. Thus masks and figures show different
                > features: The
                > > figures of the north are schematically and resemble those of other
                > > groups of the Mongo-culture, for example Yela, Mbole or Jonga. The
                > > figures of the south however are similar to those of the Songye. The
                > > masks of the north are designed relatively simple, those of the
                > south
                > > often show very individual constructions with tower-like structures
                > or
                > > horns, embellished with black/white coloured curvilinear ornaments –
                > > Without doubt the influence of kifwebe-masks of Luba and Songye."
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > Best regards
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > Markus
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Paul De Lucco" <pauldelucco@>
                > > wrote:
                > > >
                > > > Markus,
                > > >
                > > > I have to weigh in here on the Ituri mask question. I have been
                > > collecting so-called Ituri masks for the last few years and have
                > made an
                > > effort, with only partial success, to distinguish one from another
                > by
                > > stylistic differences.
                > > >
                > > > There is an interesting book on the great Belgian art historian
                > Frans
                > > M. Olbrechts; In Search of Art in Africa. In the catalogue section
                > of
                > > the book, cat.71, is a text box: According to Olbrechts, the reason
                > the
                > > sculpture of the extensive Northeastern and Northwestern area was
                > but
                > > little known was to do with the fact that the region is much poorer
                > in
                > > sculpture than the sculpturally-rich centres of the south. He also
                > > contended that they were much less well studied as a consequence of
                > the
                > > little aesthetic enjoyment the study of this art would provide. . .
                > > Still, according to Olbrechts the lack of stylistic consistency
                > means
                > > the identity of the makers of the sculpture from these areas can
                > seldom
                > > be discovered on the basis of the sculpture's morphology.
                > > >
                > > > With the exception of the Mangbetu, the Zande, and perhaps the
                > Boa,
                > > the art history of the ethnic groups of the northeast Congo has
                > never
                > > been well studied. Recently, Marc Felix has, with some success,
                > > attempted to classify art from the larger groups. But many of the
                > Ituri
                > > groups are small and they are intermixed over a vast area - the
                > > description Ituri takes in not just the Ituri Forest but the
                > cultures
                > > south of the forest to the borders of Lega country in the south
                > Kivu,
                > > west to Kisangani, and north to the Sudan border.
                > > >
                > > > Unfortunately, it is this vast area, probably as large as Kenya,
                > that
                > > has been plagued with war lords and marauding armies for the last
                > ten
                > > years. These small indigenous cultures have been under enormous
                > stress
                > > and some of them are unlikely to survive the convulsions through
                > which
                > > the DRC is going. It is not surprising that a lot more art from the
                > > region is finding its way to the market place.
                > > >
                > > > I remember a conference room at the big Hyatt Hotel in Bethesda,
                > > Maryland, which was decorated years ago - and may still be - with
                > the
                > > framed feathered neckwear of Amazonian Indians. The captions stated
                > that
                > > many of the tribes that had produced these beautiful works were
                > probably
                > > already "extinct." I did not know how to take that statement at the
                > time
                > > and I still don't. All I can say is the collector's classic excuse:
                > the
                > > Ituri masks I have collected are fragile, made of wood, and if they
                > were
                > > not collected they would disappear.
                > > >
                > > > A large number of masks have come out of the Ituri, their styles
                > so
                > > undifferentiated that we often cannot even assign them to one
                > culture or
                > > another. And we don't know if the cultures exist any longer. The
                > flow
                > > seems to have tapered off and has been replaced by a new and growing
                > > flow of fakes that is further confusing the story.
                > > > I think maybe "Ituri" is as close as we will get to identifying
                > most
                > > of these masks. I have opened a file in the photo section
                > named "Ituri"
                > > (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/1075?
                > m=l)
                > > in which I have placed a number of photos I have put together of
                > these
                > > interesting masks, most of them pieces I collected.
                > > >
                > > > As nearly as one can tell from a photograph, your mask looks good
                > to
                > > me even if it doesn't look like any of the ones I have collected. I
                > do
                > > not think it is Kumu because it lacks the square eyes that are a
                > > characteristic of Kumu masking. The way the mask is indented in the
                > > middle, like a guitar, is unlike any of the masks I have seen. For
                > some
                > > reason, perhpas the teeth, it reminds me of Boa masks I have seen.
                > If it
                > > is related to the Boa, it would be on the western border of the
                > Ituri
                > > zone. The height of your mask, 34cm, is greater than all but two of
                > the
                > > masks in my collection. The wood "insertions" are probably
                > traditional
                > > repairs of insect damage. The worm holes you mention are, I
                > believe, a
                > > characteristic of the wood used for these masks. The Lega use the
                > same
                > > kind of light wood that, with age and drying, develops scattered
                > splits
                > > in the grain that look like worm holes. I did not find great
                > examples
                > > among my collection but I attach two photos of Lega masks that with
                > > grain splits on the tops. I have been assured by sellers that such
                > > markings are a common characteristic of the wood.
                > > >
                > > > Hope this helps.
                > > >
                > > > Regards,
                > > >
                > > > Paul
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > ----- Original Message -----
                > > > From: escultura78
                > > > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
                > > > Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 11:37 PM
                > > > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Masks, etc. from DRC - question on
                > Tetela
                > > mask
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Hello!
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > I closely followed your discussion about Chris' Tetela mask.
                > > Unfortunately my knowledge on this topic is too little to give any
                > > useful advices. All I can say is, that I have never seen such a
                > > stylistic mix of Kuba, Songye, Luba.in a catalogue, book or any
                > > respectable publication, but this does not mean a thing.
                > > >
                > > > But on this occasion I want to mention a problem with one of my
                > masks,
                > > which is from DRC too: A Ituri mask, which I bought from a reliable
                > > German gallery. The owner of the gallery called it "good old", but
                > I am
                > > not sure. The mask is 34cm high and is carved from relatively light
                > wood
                > > with inclusions of extremely light wood (these areas can be dented
                > with
                > > the fingers). On the chin and on the forehead these inclusion were
                > cut
                > > out and normal wood was inserted. Another inclusion is along the
                > rim of
                > > the nose - this is the reason for the damage at the nose. What is
                > in my
                > > opinion odd: The surface seems to be worked with "European" tools
                > like a
                > > file or something similar. The second aspect which makes me
                > suspicious
                > > is, that the mask smells like smoked meat. Is it possible that the
                > mask
                > > has been stored in a hut, in which cooking has been done, or is it
                > more
                > > likely a sign of treating the mask with smoke to let it look older?
                > The
                > > third aspect which makes me suspicious is that there are many worm
                > holes
                > > in the mask but the insect attack happened apparently before the
                > > creation of the mask because no worm holes are in a right angle to
                > the
                > > surface (like the worm holes in airport art use to look like). I
                > know
                > > that this is no evidence for a fake. But isn't it unlikely, that a
                > > tribally used mask was not infested by insects, when the raw
                > material
                > > was already infested?
                > > >
                > > > The problem is, that I don't know much about Ituri and I did not
                > get a
                > > book about Ituri for a reasonable price. In the web I did not find
                > much
                > > too. Can anyone assign the mask to a certain tribe? As far as I know
                > > Ituri is a general term for many tribes in the Ituri forest.
                > > >
                > > > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/d585?
                > c=
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > I would appreciate any information
                > > >
                > > > Thanks in advance
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Markus
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "congabongoman"
                > congabongoman@
                > > wrote:
                > > > >
                > > > > Paul-
                > > > >
                > > > > Thanks so much for your excellent post. I certainly do take
                > Felix's
                > > > > opinion seriously and didn't mean to imply otherwise by the
                > tone of
                > > > > my post. I simply have not personally accepted it as
                > dispositive on
                > > > > the issue...particularly when based on photos alone, and was
                > fessing
                > > > > up to my own stubborness in somewhat glib fashion. I'd welcome
                > the
                > > > > oppty for an expert to veiw it in person but, sadly, truly
                > qualified
                > > > > persons on DRC art are few and far between. Anyone know any such
                > > > > persons in DC or Philadelphia?
                > > > >
                > > > > To answer your questions about the mask, it is carved entirely
                > from
                > > a
                > > > > single piece of very hard wood (horns and all). The holes are
                > > > > irregularly shaped and large (as tho made by a hot poker before
                > > > > drills became widely available). They are also heavily worn,
                > perhaps
                > > > > by the rubbing of raffia/cordage. The mask also has well worn
                > patina
                > > > > from handling as well as age, in addition to clear age cracks
                > > > > (visible in the right horn and through the forehead region), in
                > > > > addition to old damage at the bottom (now patinated) and damage
                > to
                > > > > the rear top, which appears to have been repaired (visible in
                > the
                > > > > photos of the back). It has no nose holes-only mouth and eyes.
                > The
                > > > > interesting thing is that there are many examples of
                > cheap "copies"
                > > > > of this mask (of lesser workmanship and w/o mouth holes etc.)
                > that
                > > > > can be seen online (e.g., if one does an image search on Google
                > > > > of "biombo nyett mask" or "tetela mask") and have the same
                > patterns,
                > > > > horns, etc., but were clearly made for sale and/or intended to
                > be
                > > > > copies of this mask style. As such, if it is a fake and was
                > created
                > > > > entirely to deceive, this style seems to have "taken" in the
                > african
                > > > > art market. The mask does have stylized "ears" worked into the
                > > > > geometrical patterns of the carving on the side, as well as a
                > > > > stylized "goatee" below the mouth. My guess is that the mask may
                > > > > have been worn and, once broken, may have been used as a fetish
                > > > > object, althought this is pure speculation.
                > > > >
                > > > > The bottom line for me is that I trust the person I purchased it
                > > from
                > > > > and the person who collected the mask in DRC. I'm continuing my
                > > > > research into Tetela masks in an effort to learn more info but,
                > > > > whether or not it was actually carved by the tetela or was
                > acquired
                > > > > by them from another source, or was not even used by them at
                > all,
                > > > > it's a very rare and beautifully carved work that I'll continue
                > to
                > > > > appreciate for its aesthetic, if not socio-anthropological
                > > qualities.
                > > > >
                > > > > Thanks again for the great historical background and for sharing
                > > your
                > > > > thoughts and photos!
                > > > >
                > > > > Best Regards,
                > > > >
                > > > > Chris
                > > > >
                > > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Paul De Lucco"
                > > > > pauldelucco@ wrote:
                > > > > >
                > > > > > Chris,
                > > > > >
                > > > > > No one has studied the confused art history of the north
                > > > > Katanga/south Kivu area of DRC like Marc Felix. He brought a
                > lot of
                > > > > study and intellectual vigor to the analysis and anything he
                > says on
                > > > > the subject must be taken seriously.
                > > > > >
                > > > > > But, even though Marc Felix is probably correct in his
                > assessment,
                > > > > in my opinion there is still plenty of wiggle room to justify
                > your
                > > > > stubbornness. The Tetela are an interesting group for study.
                > > > > Briefly, to put them in the context of the Congo: After the
                > council
                > > > > of Berlin, when King Leopold set up the Congo Free State and his
                > > > > forces asserted control in the Congo, they first employed
                > soldiers,
                > > > > Swahili speaking askaris, from Zanzibar. As the "Free State"
                > became
                > > > > established, the Belgians began recruiting and training local
                > > > > soldiers, especially from the Tetela, who were known as
                > warriors and
                > > > > who had learned Swahili from the Omani slavers. Around the turn
                > of
                > > > > the century, the Tetela staged the first revolt against Belgian
                > > > > rule. After that episode, the Belgians began recruiting from a
                > wider
                > > > > range of ethnic groups and took care not to station troops in
                > areas
                > > > > of their origin. They also introduced Lingala as the military
                > > > > language. I think it is fair to say that the Tetela were
                > > > > marginalized afterwards and took little part in development of
                > the
                > > > > colony. Their main town is Lodja, in Sankuru District of Kasai-
                > > > > Orientale, just about in the middle of the Congo. But the Lodja
                > > > > Tetela, primarily merchants, were known as the "Arabized
                > Tetela" and
                > > > > were resented by traditional rural Tetela. At the dawn of
                > > > > independence, the traditional Tetela carried out ethnic
                > cleansing in
                > > > > Lodja, burning out the Arabized Tetela. The rural Tetela live
                > east
                > > > > of Lodja, almost to the Lualaba River. Linguistically, the
                > Tetela
                > > > > are a Mongo people, related to the Kuba as well as the northern
                > > > > cultures around Equateur Province, and very closely related to
                > the
                > > > > Kusu, who live near Kindu on the Lualaba River north of
                > Katanga. The
                > > > > point of this historical narrative is:
                > > > > > 1. The rural Tetela have always been considered difficult and
                > > > > did not receive much attention from experts on the Congo,
                > including
                > > > > anthropologists and art historians;
                > > > > > 2. The Tetela, occupying as they do, the central region of the
                > > > > Congo, and being related, linguistically anyway, to a number of
                > > > > prominent neighboring cultures, were familiar with a wide range
                > of
                > > > > artistic styles.
                > > > > > It is also well known that both the Kuba and the Kusu often
                > > > > purchased power objects from the Songye, a non-Mongo people who
                > were
                > > > > respected for their mastery of the dark arts. So, when Marc
                > Felix
                > > > > says that your piece; mixes elements from Luba zoomorphic masks
                > with
                > > > > some Kuba inspired elements as well as Songye and Tetela, he
                > might
                > > be
                > > > > acknowledging the truth that real Tetela art in fact does mix
                > all of
                > > > > those elements.
                > > > > >
                > > > > > Enough of the hypothesizing, though. Let's take a good
                > physical
                > > > > look at the mask:
                > > > > >
                > > > > > 1. The horns are well-carved but do not look like the curved
                > > > > horns often seen on Luba masks (see photo). Are the horns
                > integral
                > > > > with the wood of the mask? If they were glued on, however
                > artfully,
                > > > > the mask is almost certainly a fake.
                > > > > > 2. The way the holes are drilled on the borders of the mask
                > > > > looks odd to me. Stylistically, the mask most closely resembles
                > a
                > > > > Luba/Songye Kifwebe. But, the Luba normally carve a border
                > along the
                > > > > edges of the Kifwebe for the piercing of holes (see photos). The
                > > > > Songye don't seem to carve a border but the holes in their
                > masks are
                > > > > numerous, small, and close to the edges (see photos). The holes
                > in
                > > > > your mask are large, irregular, widely-spaced, and disrupt the
                > > > > design. I am not sure a fake would go to such extremes,
                > although the
                > > > > Congolese are imaginative and resourceful fakers. But if a mask
                > were
                > > > > traded from one group to another such that its use changed from
                > that
                > > > > of a wall-hanging, say, to a dance mask, then holes would have
                > to be
                > > > > pierced to support the costume.
                > > > > > 3. Are the nostrils drilled out? This is just a detail but
                > > > > Katanga masks, no matter what the culture, almost always
                > incorporate
                > > > > drilled paired nostrils in the noses.
                > > > > > 4. It's hard to tell from your photos, but what appear to be
                > > > > triangular ears are visible. I have never seen visible ears on
                > Luba
                > > > > or Songye masks; the ears carved on, or attached to, Kuba masks
                > are
                > > > > quite different from the style of your mask.
                > > > > > 5. The mask appears to be sporting a goatee. I believe beards
                > > > > are rare on Luba or Songye masks. (The famous horned Luba mask
                > in
                > > > > Tervuren does have a beard.........)
                > > > > > 6. Is the mask carved from relatively hard wood or relatively
                > > > > soft wood? Luba and Songye Kifwebe masks are generally carved
                > from
                > > > > relatively soft wood, although, I have a small Kifwebe, carved
                > in
                > > > > hard wood, that came from Katea, a town in north Katanga that is
                > > very
                > > > > near Tetela territory.
                > > > > >
                > > > > > When you are really clear about how your mask fits into the
                > > > > regional context and what traditions it borrows from, you can
                > try to
                > > > > research Tetela masks in other collections. Once you have
                > backed up
                > > > > your beliefs with photographs and documents you will be more
                > > credible
                > > > > in defending your mask as authentic. I think you have an
                > argument to
                > > > > make.
                > > > > >
                > > > > > Regards,
                > > > > >
                > > > > > Paul
                > > > > >
                > > > > > PS I have created Tetela photo album for photos illustrating
                > some
                > > > > of the above points.
                > > > > >
                > > > > >
                > > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/50a7?m=l
                > > > > >
                > > > > >
                > > > > > ----- Original Message -----
                > > > > > From: congabongoman
                > > > > > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
                > > > > > Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 3:58 PM
                > > > > > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Masks, etc. from DRC - question on
                > > > > tetela mask
                > > > > >
                > > > > >
                > > > > > Fyi- I just heard back from Marc Felix, a noted expert from
                > > > > Belgium,
                > > > > > who offered the following in response to the pictures of
                > > > > the "Tetela"
                > > > > > mask I sent him:
                > > > > >
                > > > > > "As far as I am concerned, this mask is a pure invention. It
                > mixes
                > > > > > elements from Luba zoomorphic masks with some Kuba inspired
                > > > > elements
                > > > > > as well as Songye and Tetela. To me, this is a pure
                > fabrication
                > > > > by a
                > > > > > gifted African, made to deceive."
                > > > > >
                > > > > > Call me stubborn, but due to the patina and clear signs of
                > > > > age/wear
                > > > > > even in the holes where the raffia rubbed, I still haven't
                > given
                > > > > up
                > > > > > the ship (despite the cannon hole). After all, they said the
                > same
                > > > > > thing about the ceolocanth, till one turned up in a fishing
                > > > > net. :)
                > > > > > While I'm still only an amateur collector, I remain "out
                > standing
                > > > > in
                > > > > > my field." lol.
                > > > > >
                > > > > > Chris
                > > > > >
                > > > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "congabongoman"
                > > > > > <congabongoman@> wrote:
                > > > > > >
                > > > > > > I wanted to follow up to the group with a postscript on
                > Tetela
                > > > > > > masks. As some of you pointed out, there has apparantly been
                > > > > > debate
                > > > > > > by some top scholars over the years about whether there is
                > such
                > > > > a
                > > > > > > thing as a Tetela mask. I've finally tracked down available
                > > > > copies
                > > > > > > of the seminal articles, including those by De Heursch and
                > by
                > > > > > > Francois Neyt (who apparantly disagrees with Heursch's
                > > > > conclusion),
                > > > > > > and they are now en route. I also followed up with my friend
                > > > > from
                > > > > > > Kampala who spoke with the Ugandan individual that
                > collected the
                > > > > > > horned mask that I have, which started this discussion. He
                > > > > > confirmed
                > > > > > > that it is Tetela (and laughed when told that some scholars
                > say
                > > > > > there
                > > > > > > is no such thing) and stated that it was collected in the
                > Tetela
                > > > > > > village of Wembo-Nyama in Kasai Orientale in DRC. Anyway,
                > I'm
                > > > > > looking
                > > > > > > forward to getting and reading the articles but thought I'd
                > pass
                > > > > > this
                > > > > > > info along to the group for edification. I'll keep you all
                > > > > posted
                > > > > > on
                > > > > > > anything more that I'm able to find out.
                > > > > > >
                > > > > > > Chris
                > > > > > >
                > > > > > >
                > > > > > >
                > > > > > >
                > > > > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "congabongoman"
                > > > > > > <congabongoman@> wrote:
                > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > Thanks, Paisarn. I actually own the Barbieri book and have
                > > > > read
                > > > > > > that
                > > > > > > > entry many times. I believe you'll find that the mask
                > > > > referenced
                > > > > > > > (with the 3 prongs extending over the head) is distinct
                > and
                > > > > > > different
                > > > > > > > from the one I have, tho' they are from neighboring
                > > > > > > regions/peoples.
                > > > > > > > I have yet to see any dispositive discussion of this mask,
                > > > > tho'
                > > > > > > I've
                > > > > > > > seen cheap copies posted on E-bay and refered to as a
                > Biombo
                > > > > > Nyett
                > > > > > > > mask. There's also a pic of a copy that comes up from a
                > > > > gallery
                > > > > > on
                > > > > > > > the Web that references it as Tetela. Thanks to anyone
                > who can
                > > > > > > shed
                > > > > > > > light on its history.
                > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > Chris
                > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, P L <asiantrekker@>
                > > > > wrote:
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > Hello Chris,
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > Thank you for sharing with us photos of your collection.
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > Regarding "Tetela" masks, there is one on plate 89 in
                > the
                > > > > > > > book "African Masks: the Barbier-Mueller Collection" which
                > > > > is, I
                > > > > > > > find, the best reference for masks and cheaply available
                > from
                > > > > > > > Amazon.com.
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > According to the book, this type of mask is now thought
                > to
                > > > > be
                > > > > > > > actually Tempa Songye, not Tetela. The book also refers to
                > > > > > similar
                > > > > > > > masks in the British Museum and the Seattle Art Museum.
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > It's a bit late here, so I will sign off. But if you'd
                > like
                > > > > > me
                > > > > > > to
                > > > > > > > quote from the book or post the picture, maybe I can do so
                > > > > during
                > > > > > > the
                > > > > > > > weekend.
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > Cheers, Paisarn
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > congabongoman <congabongoman@> wrote:
                > > > > > > > > Hi all-
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > I just joined and posted some pics of some of my
                > favorite
                > > > > > pieces
                > > > > > > in
                > > > > > > > my
                > > > > > > > > collection in 2 photo albums. Photo albums are named:
                > > > > > > > > "Masks,etc. from the DRC"
                > > > > > > >
                > > > > >
                > (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/e1f9)
                > > > > > > > and
                > > > > > > > > "DRC Masks, etc. Part 2"
                > > > > > > >
                > > > > >
                > > > >
                > (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/browse/f48e).
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > I have a good friend in Kampala that I acquired these
                > from.
                > > > > I'm
                > > > > > > > particularly interested in feedback on the Tetela mask in
                > the
                > > > > > first
                > > > > > > > album. It's very old and was used extensively. I've seen
                > many
                > > > > > > > fakes/copies of this style but I have not seen a real one
                > > > > > anywhere.
                > > > > > > > Does anyone know of any? Also, I was told its used for
                > child
                > > > > > > > protection (most likely circumcision rituals) but I was
                > > > > wondering
                > > > > > > if
                > > > > > > > anyone had any more info they might be able to provide?
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > Also of interest is the Bembe village telegraph which
                > is a
                > > > > pun
                > > > > > on
                > > > > > > > old-
                > > > > > > > > style telephones. The leopard mask is also very rare
                > and was
                > > > > > used
                > > > > > > > for
                > > > > > > > > village protection. Finally, the Kusu fetish and Hemba
                > soko
                > > > > are
                > > > > > > > also
                > > > > > > > > exceptional. Enjoy and thanks for any feedback!
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > Best Regards,
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > Chris
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > > > ---------------------------------
                > > > > > > > > Building a website is a piece of cake.
                > > > > > > > > Yahoo! Small Business gives you all the tools to get
                > online.
                > > > > > > > >
                > > > > > > >
                > > > > > >
                > > > > >
                > > > >
                > > >
                > >
                >

              • Lee Rubinstein
                Markus, Chris et al: I have the image of the Tetela mask from the Thompson book, African Art in Motion, but before revealing the image, allow me to clarify --
                Message 7 of 14 , Aug 6, 2007
                • 0 Attachment
                  Markus, Chris et al:

                  I have the image of the Tetela mask from the Thompson book, African Art in Motion, but  before revealing the image, allow me to clarify -- or add to -- the confusion potentially prompted by the less-than-complete bibliography which Markus successfully counter-navigated.

                  The article, "The Sign of the Divine King:  Yoruba Bead-Embrodered Crowns with Veil and Bird Decorations" -- the full title of the article, which is highly recommended -- appears on pp. 227-260 of Douglas Fraser and Herbert M. Cole, eds., AFRICAN ART & LEADERSHIP (Madison, Milwaukee and London:  University of Wisconsin Press. 1972).  AFRICAN ART & LEADERSHIP is another excellent collection of essays -- including studies on traditions of the Lega (Biebuyck), Chokwe (Crowley), Kuba (Vansina), Ibo (Cole), Afikpo Ibo (Ottenberg), Cameroon Grasslands (Rudy), Ashanti (Fraser and Bravmann), Kwahu (Sieber), Baule (Himmelheber), Ife (Willett), Yoruba (Thompson), Benin/Yoruba (Fraser).

                  African Art in Motion by Robert Farris Thompson [ISBN 0520026853 h/c & 0520027035 p/b] -- not to be confused with African Art and Motion by Robert Farris Thompson (which is much smaller exhibition guide from the same exhibition)  --  is indeed the source of the image to which Markus refers.  It appears on page 140 as Plate 176:  "Zaire, Tetela, mask, wood, 17" (without raffia fringe)" with no detailed commentary beyond its caption and fleeting mention as an example of masks "[a]mong the many modes of Zaire Basin masking..." (p.135) But here a few edits of the image:



                  Lee

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