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Re: [African_Arts] Ancient Blood Found on Sculptures From Mali

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  • Alexander Bortolot
    Ari, First of all, thank you for this and all links to articles - I always find them interesting. I hope you didn t interpret my email as a criticism of you
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 4, 2007
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      First of all, thank you for this and all links to articles - I always find them interesting.  I hope you didn't interpret my email as a criticism of you or your contributions to the discussion group. 
      What I was getting at was that the point the article was making struck me as disingenuous.  If the whole basis of the study was to determine whether or not blood is found on some ritually-used African objects, then it doesn't pass the "so what?" test (as my college expository writing prof called it).  Saying that scientific methods have discovered the presence of blood on Bamana boliw is a bit like saying that new advances in color photography have revealed that snow is, in fact, white.  My complaint was that the real significance of the scientific study seems to be the development of new, non-invasive techniques that can be used to analyze the compositions of surfaces without damaging them - which is indeed an important contribution - but that the article was pitched to the reader as "Africa!" "Blood!" 
      Given that Mande boliw are still in production and have been written about at length by people such as Patrick McNaughton, Sarah Brett-Smith, and others, the fact that they serve as altars and may receive offerings of blood and other animal matter is not big news.  Additionally, if I recall correctly the earliest mentions of boliw in Mande oral histories relate to the four royal boliw of the Segu kingdom (ca. 18th century) and on this note the connection the article makes between boliw and the Mande Empire (14th century) is dubious, as is its use of the term "ancient."  I certainly wouldn't consider the United States Constitution, also created in the 18th century, an "ancient" document.  In my opinion, something like the clay figures from Jenne (ca. 1200-1400 CE) could reasonably be considered "ancient" - and given that most of them were dug up without archeaological oversight any additional gains in our knowledge about them really would be a big deal .
      ----- Original Message ----
      From: ari birnbaum <a312@...>
      To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, December 4, 2007 2:14:47 PM
      Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Ancient Blood Found on Sculptures From Mali

      Hi Alexander,
      Its first time that scientific test confirm the presence of blood
      In the coating of sculpture from ancient African Artifacts-
      What you "we""knew" as hypothesis is probably a fact now!
      There are many hypothesis about african art many are falsh.
      Perhaps this test will also become another tool to Identification of blood on ancient artifacts To compare with So many "ancient fakes"that we see around.
          And last :i certainly would not read about the test if they
      Will publish it only in ACS Analytical Chemistry... using
      Less "sensetionalist" title...and not saying  the FACT  that This ancient artifact is from Africa  or ...Mali...?
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 6:12 PM
      Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Ancient Blood Found on Sculptures From Mali

      i agree wholeheartedly ! Gerald
      --- Alexander Bortolot <lyautua@yahoo. com> wrote:

      > Hi Ari,
      > Thanks for the article link!
      > The new technology sounds interesting, but the fact
      > that Mande boliw contain blood should come as a
      > surprise to no one. Its "disovery" on an African
      > power object seems a bit sensationalist to me and
      > sounds more like a hook to get people to read an
      > article on a topic that is otherwise of specialized
      > interest. News of new technologies, and the
      > possibilities they present, should be exciting in
      > its own right and it needn't be sexed up through
      > associations with "darkest Africa."
      > Alex
      > ----- Original Message ----
      > From: ari birnbaum <a312@.... il>
      > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
      > Sent: Tuesday, December 4, 2007 3:10:48 AM
      > Subject: [African_Arts] Ancient Blood Found on
      > Sculptures From Mali
      > : http://www.scienced aily.com/ releases/
      > 2007/12/07120309 1232.htm
      > .
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