Thank you for your 'quick' reply...
My statue seems to be very close to the one Pascal purchased :
The material used and style are very close.
Curious if he has more details on his?
I should take some pictures in daylight I now realize...the
flashlight just doesn't give the same result...
Another thing that makes me think this is not just another cheap
copy is the fact that I could hardly discuss the price. I have
bought so many objects and so has my father in the last 40 years and
we mostly spend quite a bit of time discussing the price...that's
just the way to do business in Africa. Now for this statue there was
hardly any discussing possible...take it or leave it...which is very
rare...mostly they really want to sell and make some money...here he
seemed really sure this was an old piece and really refused to
discuss any further. Other objects were debatable but not this one.
In the beginning I pretended not to be interrested, you know the
classic trick and looked at other pieces pretending to be just
another dumb tourist. That's how I always start; kind of feel how
they react and treat 'customers'. Then you become more friendly and
slowly make it clear you are not here for the daily souvenir.
That's when I was allowed to go behind his 'regular' shop into the
attic. I picked out a few pieces and asked the price untill I got to
this nailfetish. He knew he could get thousands of dollars for it if
a collector would show up and just would not discuss any further.
So either he was really good and still managed to fool me or this
piece has some value. There were several other pieces from all over
africa and even old pieces of arabic tools from the slavery time
which I knew were real but not of interrest to me.
I'm considering to go back and buy some more art and objects but
before I make such a heavy investment I'm searching for some
answers, hence my message in this group.
I would like to broaden my collection and perhaps sell a few objects
to compansate for the big investments I make such as traveller costs
etc... I'm not really a millionaire so it's hard for me.
Africa is changing rapidly and now is the time to get the last
treasures I realize. Tourists are slowly penetrating everywhere and
doing business and finding unique stuff is harder and harder.
Ridiculous prices are being asked for junk and most people don't
even realize they're being fooled or don't see the difference
between a nice piece of art from a good artist, sculpted by someone
who follows the traditional 'guidelines' and a copy made in a few
--- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
, Lee Rubinstein
> I hope this is not too circuitous a response to your query, but
> me to recommend a perusal of numerous past discussions --
> with opinions, links, examples, etc., that will allow you to
> more deeply into a consideration of the figure about which you
> inquired. I have put together excerpts and links that I think
> facilitate your exploration and do apologize in advance for any
> redundancies found amid this posting and the messages and
> to which links are provided below. Once you find one good lead
> catches your interest, you may find that you wish -- or are able --
> to follow that string of thought and information...
> The type of figure which your images depict is of the class of/
> related to/ inspired by figures of the Kongo peoples (including
> Sundi, Yombe groups), figures known as minkisi minkondi
> nkisi nkondi). You will find below links to a number of previous
> postings to the group that will provide some of the relevant
> information that you are seeking as well as the opportunity to
> the discussions of which they were a part. You can also use the
> search function in the "messages" section to bring up the entire
> of postings in which there are references to the nkisi, minkisi,
> nkondi, etc..
> To provide you with productive directions to begin your inqury, I
> have excerpted a passage an earlier postings which I believe
> relevant to the topic with a link to the full message at its
> "Given the extreme diversity of styles that can be seen among
> minkisi, I find it still rather challenging to choose criteria by
> which to assess authenticity and 'quality' of such Kongo power
> figures that are rendered in a human form and known as minkondi..
> the illustrations on the pages which Rand provided show, there
> many variations of this form as well as a range of degrees to
> they are 'embellished' through ritual actions as well as for the
> purposes of simulating the appearance of such actions. Minkondi --
> finely carved, fully realized human figural forms mark the
> pinnacle and have thus become the focus of considerations -- and
> acquisitions as 'art' -- of this particular form of minkisi;
> however, the range of nkisi forms also includes less 'artistic'
> forms such as clay pots, snail shells and raffia cloths (LaGamma
> below], p. 31). This fact may well suggest that the degree ofhttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/
> refinement seen in the most accessible examples does not serve to
> define the criteria for authenticity for this class of objects."
> Link to original message:
> Other helpful resources gleaned from past discussions include:
> A link to the Alisa LaGamma article from the "Art and Oracle"
> exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art cited in the
> cited message which, I think, gives an excellent overview of the
> class of object as well as a detailed analysis of one
> well-documented example:
> Some general insights regarding the general problematics of
> establishing identity and authenticity of such Kongo figures was
> posted by group member Paul DeLucco some time ago. I think you
> find this posting insightful and instructive both regarding the
> nkondi and in response to the broader question you raised about
> seemingly inappropriate geographic locus in which you came across
> your figure:
> I will also highlight again an earlier posting from Rand as well
> the links to 1) to a relevant article and 2) some figure
> of various Minkisi Minkondi which Rand had provided:http://www.randafricanart.com/Kongo_nail_fetish_figure_comparison.htm
> Finally, I recommend -- again and again -- the book by Wyatt
> MacGaffey and Michael D. Harris which appears to be among the
> sources that treat the subject:
> Astonishment and Power: The Eyes of Understanding : Kongo
> Resonance, Transformation, and Rhyme : The Art of Renee Stout.
> ISBN: 1560982748
> Thank you for posting images of your figure and allowing us to
> revisit this topic. I hope the series of links will be easy
> to follow. Also, an image search via any search engine using the
> term nkisi will yield numerous examples of exemplary figures as
> as give you an idea of the range of such objects being featured
> museums as well those available commercially.
> Links to numerous previous discussions listed in reverse
> chronological order. If you like to start at the beginning and
> you toward the present, start at the bottom and work your way up.