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Re: [African_Arts] Beaded stool with effigy

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  • Lee Rubinstein
    RD: For reference, the technique which you describe by which beaded strands are sewn into a burlap or other cloth appended to a wooden carving is illustrated
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 24, 2008
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      RD:

      For reference, the technique which you describe by which beaded strands are sewn into a burlap or other cloth appended to a wooden carving is illustrated on this site which features contemporary production using this technique in a Cameroon workshop in Foumban:  http://iweb.tntech.edu/cventura/bead.htm.  Also see http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/migrations/beads/pict1.html.

      There is no paucity and a rather rich diversity of such beaded figures (also stools, thrones and other forms) from the Cameroon Grasslands both in public and private collections as well as in commercial offerings.  Most commonly such figures were traditionally reserved as representations of fons or high-ranking officials and retained in the treasuries of the chefferies.  Fine sculptures, beaded and unbeaded, and other objects have also been presented as gifts from and to neighboring fons, as in the case of works by Babungo King Zofoa II presented to King Angwafo III mentioned in Message 1978 -- making specific origins and attributions sometimes complex to trace.   (Note, however, the correction that the recipient King Angwafo III was a Mankon king -- erroneously referred to in that posting as Babungo...)  

      Numerous exquisite examples of bead-embellished figures can be viewed in numerous places, including the site of the "Four Cameroon Museums" in Babungo, Baham, Bandjoun and Mankon:  http://museumcam.org/en/ . (<-English link, also in French at http://museumcam.org/index.php.) For instance, see these examples (two each) from Bandjoun and Babungo, respectively:

      With regard to the creation of personal effigies, I am not familiar with the traditional production of these figures other than as homages to high-ranking individuals, so I would be interested to know more specifics about that "legend" and the instance wherein the figure you presented was created as a personal effigy of the individual to whom you refer.  Also worth noting is the fact that the rendering of such symbols as the buffalos, panthers and elephants seen in the base of the stool in your figure (buffaloes) -- and above (panthers and buffaloes) --  were traditionally reserved for works created only for high-ranking individuals, although these restrictions have been relaxed and such elements are now seen in a wide range of sculptures and other media from the Cameroon Grasslands area.

      On a related note, next Friday (February 1, 2008), the Smith College Art Museum in Northampton, MA will present a lecture by John Pemberton III on "African Beaded Art:  Power and Adornment" in conjunction with the exhibition by the same name.  For more information on related programming, see http://www.smith.edu/artmuseum/programs/index.php.

      Lee

      On Jan 23, 2008, at 2:01 PM, rdshaffer wrote:

      Hello all,
      I have posted a single photo [http://ph.groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/photos/ view/8025? b=1&o=2] of a beaded figure and stool acquired a decade ago. The height is about 50 inches (1.25m). It is made of
      uniformly small colored beads, strung and embedded in what looks to be pitch-saturated burlap on wood. 

      I have done some research on such works, and seen a number on display. I would think that there are not many in private hands, but I turn to the membership for comment and insight. 

      This particular piece is of recent production. There are no serious blemishes or damages to this piece (a miracle considering its travels). I purchased it in 1996 in Belgium. It had been flown in for my viewing that day (its container bore Sabena labels). 

      The seller, a Cameroonian then perhaps 40, claimed it was his own effigy, from his youth. This 'legend' is compatible with my research. 

      RDShaffer

    • ralph shaffer
      Sir, While my past research concurs with your observations, I enjoyed reading your methodical, expansive and articulate recap. I very much appreciate the
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 25, 2008
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        Sir,
        While my past research concurs with your observations, I enjoyed reading your
        methodical, expansive and articulate recap. I very much appreciate the
        referral URLs (nonesuch were available when I was most actively
        collecting a decade ago).

        Regarding the seller: he claimed to be a prince, one of many sons. I
        met him a number of times, in Tongerin, Lueven and Brussels over
        several years, usually for the presentation of an assortment of fine
        articles. His english was as bad as my french, but often one of my
        Flemish friends would translate. I cannot provide a definitive
        identity, unfortunately.

        My thanks,
        rdshaffer


        --- Lee Rubinstein <LeeRubinstein@...> wrote:

        > RD:
        >
        > For reference, the technique which you describe by which beaded
        > strands are sewn into a burlap or other cloth appended to a wooden
        > carving is illustrated on this site which features contemporary
        > production using this technique in a Cameroon workshop in Foumban:
        > http://iweb.tntech.edu/cventura/bead.htm. Also see http://
        > www.smithsonianeducation.org/migrations/beads/pict1.html.
        >
        > There is no paucity and a rather rich diversity of such beaded
        > figures (also stools, thrones and other forms) from the Cameroon
        > Grasslands both in public and private collections as well as in
        > commercial off-erings. Most commonly such figures were traditionally

        >
        > reserved as representations of fons or high-ranking officials and
        > retained in the treasuries of the chefferies. Fine sculptures,
        > beaded and unbeaded, and other objects have also been presented as
        > gifts from and to neighboring fons, as in the case of works by
        > Babungo King Zofoa II presented to King Angwafo III mentioned in
        > Message 1978 -- making specific origins and attributions sometimes
        > complex to trace. (Note, however, the correction that the recipient
        >
        > King Angwafo III was a Mankon king -- erroneously referred to in that
        >
        > posting as Babungo...)
        >
        > Numerous exquisite examples of bead-embellished figures can be viewed
        >
        > in numerous places, including the site of the "Four Cameroon Museums"
        >
        > in Babungo, Baham, Bandjoun and Mankon: http://museumcam.org/en/ .
        > (<-English link, also in French at http://museumcam.org/index.php.)
        > For instance, see these examples (two each) from Bandjoun and
        > Babungo, respectively:
        > 
        >
        > With regard to the creation of personal effigies, I am not familiar
        > with the traditional production of these figures other than as
        > homages to high-ranking individuals, so I would be interested to know
        >
        > more specifics about that "legend" and the instance wherein the
        > figure you presented was created as a personal effigy of the
        > individual to whom you refer. Also worth noting is the fact that the
        >
        > rendering of such symbols as the buffalos, panthers and elephants
        > seen in the base of the stool in your figure (buffaloes) -- and above
        >
        > (panthers and buffaloes) -- were traditionally reserved for works
        > created only for high-ranking individuals, although these
        > restrictions have been relaxed and such elements are now seen in a
        > wide range of sculptures and other media from the Cameroon Grasslands
        >
        > area.
        >
        > On a related note, next Friday (February 1, 2008), the Smith College
        >
        > Art Museum in Northampton, MA will present a lecture by John
        > Pemberton III on "African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment" in
        > conjunction with the exhibition by the same name. For more
        > information on related programming, see http://www.smith.edu/
        > artmuseum/programs/index.php.
        >
        > Lee
        >
        > On Jan 23, 2008, at 2:01 PM, rdshaffer wrote:
        >
        > > Hello all,
        > > I have posted a single photo [http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/
        > > African_Arts/photos/view/8025?b=1&o=2] of a beaded figure and stool
        >
        > > acquired a decade ago. The height is about 50 inches (1.25m). It is
        >
        > > made of
        > > uniformly small colored beads, strung and embedded in what looks to
        >
        > > be pitch-saturated burlap on wood.
        > >
        > > I have done some research on such works, and seen a number on
        > > display. I would think that there are not many in private hands,
        > > but I turn to the membership for comment and insight.
        > >
        > > This particular piece is of recent production. There are no serious
        >
        > > blemishes or damages to this piece (a miracle considering its
        > > travels). I purchased it in 1996 in Belgium. It had been flown in
        > > for my viewing that day (its container bore Sabena labels).
        > >
        > > The seller, a Cameroonian then perhaps 40, claimed it was his own
        > > effigy, from his youth. This 'legend' is compatible with my
        > research.
        > >
        > > RDShaffer
        >



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      • Lee Rubinstein
        The web-site for the Smith College Museum of Art exhibition, African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment -- curated by John Pemberton III -- is now accessible
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 31, 2008
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          The web-site for the Smith College Museum of Art exhibition, "African Beaded Art:  Power and Adornment" -- curated by John Pemberton III -- is now accessible on-line at http://www.smith.edu/artmuseum/exhibitions/africanbeadedart/index.htm.  Sections include "Historical Contexts and Trade Routes" as well as selections of works from Yoruba, Cameroon Grasslands, Kasai and Southeast Cape Region communities.  The exhibition runs today through June 15 and is accompanied by an illustrated publication.

          Lee


          On Jan 25, 2008, at 1:37 AM, Lee Rubinstein wrote:

          RD:

          For reference, the technique which you describe by which beaded strands are sewn into a burlap or other cloth appended to a wooden carving is illustrated on this site which features contemporary production using this technique in a Cameroon workshop in Foumban:  http://iweb.tntech.edu/cventura/bead.htm.  Also see http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/migrations/beads/pict1.html.

          There is no paucity and a rather rich diversity of such beaded figures (also stools, thrones and other forms) from the Cameroon Grasslands both in public and private collections as well as in commercial offerings.  Most commonly such figures were traditionally reserved as representations of fons or high-ranking officials and retained in the treasuries of the chefferies.  Fine sculptures, beaded and unbeaded, and other objects have also been presented as gifts from and to neighboring fons, as in the case of works by Babungo King Zofoa II presented to King Angwafo III mentioned in Message 1978 -- making specific origins and attributions sometimes complex to trace.   (Note, however, the correction that the recipient King Angwafo III was a Mankon king -- erroneously referred to in that posting as Babungo...)  

          Numerous exquisite examples of bead-embellished figures can be viewed in numerous places, including the site of the "Four Cameroon Museums" in Babungo, Baham, Bandjoun and Mankon:  http://museumcam.org/en/ . (<-English link, also in French at http://museumcam.org/index.php.) For instance, see these examples (two each) from Bandjoun and Babungo, respectively:
          <Unknown.jpeg><Unknown.jpeg><Unknown.jpeg><Unknown.jpeg>

          With regard to the creation of personal effigies, I am not familiar with the traditional production of these figures other than as homages to high-ranking individuals, so I would be interested to know more specifics about that "legend" and the instance wherein the figure you presented was created as a personal effigy of the individual to whom you refer.  Also worth noting is the fact that the rendering of such symbols as the buffalos, panthers and elephants seen in the base of the stool in your figure (buffaloes) -- and above (panthers and buffaloes) --  were traditionally reserved for works created only for high-ranking individuals, although these restrictions have been relaxed and such elements are now seen in a wide range of sculptures and other media from the Cameroon Grasslands area.

          On a related note, next Friday (February 1, 2008), the Smith College Art Museum in Northampton, MA will present a lecture by John Pemberton III on "African Beaded Art:  Power and Adornment" in conjunction with the exhibition by the same name.  For more information on related programming, see http://www.smith.edu/artmuseum/programs/index.php.

          Lee

          On Jan 23, 2008, at 2:01 PM, rdshaffer wrote:

          Hello all,
          I have posted a single photo [http://ph.groups. yahoo.com/ group/African_ Arts/photos/ view/8025? b=1&o=2] of a beaded figure and stool acquired a decade ago. The height is about 50 inches (1.25m). It is made of
          uniformly small colored beads, strung and embedded in what looks to be pitch-saturated burlap on wood. 

          I have done some research on such works, and seen a number on display. I would think that there are not many in private hands, but I turn to the membership for comment and insight. 

          This particular piece is of recent production. There are no serious blemishes or damages to this piece (a miracle considering its travels). I purchased it in 1996 in Belgium. It had been flown in for my viewing that day (its container bore Sabena labels). 

          The seller, a Cameroonian then perhaps 40, claimed it was his own effigy, from his youth. This 'legend' is compatible with my research. 

          RDShaffer


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