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Re: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found

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  • Aboriginals%3A%20Art%20of%20the%20First%2
    Based on appearance the mask to the far left has characteristics that are Senufo. The second from left is most likely Baule, based on the coiffure. The two to
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 2 9:10 AM
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      Based on appearance the mask to the far left has characteristics that are Senufo. The second from left is most likely Baule, based on the coiffure. The two to the right have characteristics that are similar to Yaure, including the oval mouth and the scalloped beards.

      More importantly, where and from who did you buy them? They should be able to ttell you their origin/provenance.

      Other wise, while skillfully carved, their greatest value may be as decor items.

      William Waites
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "jean luc nabeth" <nabethjl@...>
      To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, March 2, 2009 7:02:09 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
      Subject: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found

      Hi everybody,
       
      I've just purchased the 4 masks pictured in the attachment. I think that 2 are Baoulé, 1 is Ndjimini and the last one (2nd from the right on the photo)..I'm not sure.  
       
      Could anybody help?
       
      Thanks a lot.
       

    • jean luc nabeth
      Thank you for your answer. I have bought the masks from a local gallery here in Abidjan, Cote d Ivoire where I am temporarily posted for work. The seller is
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 3 1:58 AM
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        Thank you for your answer. I have bought the masks from a local gallery here in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire where I am temporarily posted for work. The seller is known for having embassies, foreign companies, etc as his customers and he has good credentials but still, no pedigree for the art can be expected except for the geographical origin. The mask I was asking about, and that you identify as Yaure (but the seller gave another name I think, and the smaller mask next to it on the picture is Baoulé), comes from a sale from a village near Sakoussou if I remember correctly. The village was raising funds after the death of the one important elder to fund a ceremony and and they sold some stuff. That's the story I got. 
        Regards

        --- On Mon, 3/2/09, Aboriginals%3A%20Art%20of%20the%20First%20Person <sanibelart@...> wrote:
        From: Aboriginals%3A%20Art%20of%20the%20First%20Person <sanibelart@...>
        Subject: Re: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found
        To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
        Date: Monday, March 2, 2009, 6:10 PM

        Based on appearance the mask to the far left has characteristics that are Senufo. The second from left is most likely Baule, based on the coiffure. The two to the right have characteristics that are similar to Yaure, including the oval mouth and the scalloped beards.

        More importantly, where and from who did you buy them? They should be able to ttell you their origin/provenance.

        Other wise, while skillfully carved, their greatest value may be as decor items.

        William Waites
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "jean luc nabeth" <nabethjl@yahoo. com>
        To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
        Sent: Monday, March 2, 2009 7:02:09 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
        Subject: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found

        Hi everybody,
         
        I've just purchased the 4 masks pictured in the attachment. I think that 2 are Baoulé, 1 is Ndjimini and the last one (2nd from the right on the photo)..I'm not sure.  
         
        Could anybody help?
         
        Thanks a lot.
         


      • Lee Rubinstein
        Jean-Luc: Perhaps you will find this extended excerpt below from a previous discussion posting (Message 1475) relevant and beneficial to your consideration of
        Message 3 of 7 , Mar 3 8:25 AM
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          Jean-Luc:

          Perhaps you will find this extended excerpt below from a previous discussion posting (Message 1475) relevant and beneficial to your consideration of the masks of which you have posted images.  Unfortunately, not all of the images referenced in the text below are still visible on-line.  As time allows, I will see whether I still have them available to upload into folders for future reference.  

          Lee

          This difficulty in accurately attributing such masks is compounded by the fact that there is much confusion about the initial source of the primary forms which inspire them.  For instance, many sources suggest that the face masks from the region have been inspired among the Guro and Yaure by Baule mask forms, presumably because the Baule are more populous and powerful in the central region of the Ivory Coast rather than being based on any traceable historical development of the form.  However, Baule culture seems to have evolved as a synthesis of elements introduced by the influx into the central Ivory Coast of Akan/Asante peoples in the mid-18th century with an already complex inter-mingling and sharing of styles among such diverse traditions as those of the indigenous Mamla in the center (now subsumed by the larger Baule culture), the Senufo in the north, the Wan and Yaure in the west and the Guro in the southwest.  In direct contradiction to suggestions that Yaure and Guro masks have been derived from Baule masks, it seems far more probable that Baule masks were adapted from -- or at least influenced by --  the Mande-speaking Yaure and Guro who live to the west and southwest of the area where the Baule currently reside. 
           
          One observable fact that helps at least to contextualize the problem and set the field for further inquiry is the presence of Je societies within both the Guro and Yaure cultures.  In the Guro instance, the Je society acts in political, social, behavioral and religious (particularly funerary) functions and utilizes both anthropomorphic and zoomorphic masks as well as masks which combine these elements.  Among the Yaure, there exists both Je and Lo societies which are involved in similarly diverse functions and by which masks are used in rites aimed "to influence supernatural powers, or yu, that can do harm to humans but can also ensure their welfare.  "Cases of death that jeopardize the social order are the principal occasions for the appearance of masquerades.  By means of their dance, they restore the social equilibrium of the community and accompany the deceased into the ancestral realm."  (Haner-Herzog et al, p. 122).  Je masks such as the Tu bodu (Plate 38, top left, below), seemingly derived from or analagous to the Guro gu mask both in form and function, is said to represent a buffalo or some characteristics associated therewith as represented by the presence of the horns.  (The historical and formal influence of the gu upon the Baule Kpan andKpan Pre -- and other Baule mask forms is also clearly discernible but beyond the scope of this brief consideration.)
           
          The three-lobed hair-style associated with power and prosperity among the Yaure and portrayed with delicately incised linear and geometric patterns is a recurring form in Guro and Yaure masks as well as those of the Baule.  The repetitive triangular, or zigzag, pattern found surrounding either the face or the entire head is a feature often used to distinguish Yaure masks; however, this element also appears in Baule portrait masks (mblo) and moon masks. (See Vogel's Baule:  African Art, Western Eyes, pp. 160-165).  Noting the presence of this feature in both Yaure and Baule masks, Susan Vogel suggests that another feature "patterned eyebrows [are] a more reliable marker of Yaure style than the triangulated decoration along the cheeks that the Yaure and Baule share."  (Vogel, p. 165) Of course, many of the masks pictured below which have been identified as Yaure do not demonstrate this "patterned eyebrow" feature, suggesting that the use of the presence or absence of this feature as a tool for attribution requires further investigation.
           
          Another confluence between Yaure and Baule masks involves the presence of the bird or birds surmounting face masks of this variety.  While Baule masks exhibiting this feature are rare, they do appear but far less frequently than Baule masks with a varying number of horns and other animal features.  Interestingly, though, in her description of the Yaure lomane mask from the Barbier-Mueller collection illustrated below (Plate 39 -- upper right), Hahner-Herzog provides additional information suggesting the likely circular interaction of influences between the Baule and Yaure:  "This mask type with a depiction of a hornbill, or perhaps a species of a woodpecker, is called lomane. The word derives from anoman, which means 'bird' in the Baule language and occurs in the songs which accompany the maskers' performance."  (Hahner-Herzog et al, p. 124) 
           
          Providing additional detail relevant to the consideration of the two birds atop the face mask, Hahner-Herzog continues:    "In most Yaure villages, the lomane belongs to the Je group of masks, Yet examples exist which, adorned with two bird figures, are considered part of the Lo ensemble, which appears after the Je at funerals of elderly men." [emphasis mine] (Hahner-Herzog, p.124)  It should be noted, however, that further commentary indicates significant variation of use, name and attribution to one or the other ritual society, Je or Lo vary considerably from village to village and clan to clan among the Yaure.  With regard to the mask portrayed in Plate 119 below (bottom left), the notes indicate that "The mask is called anoman when it is part of the Je group, and klomle when it belongs to the Lo group"  (To read a previous posting regarding an analogous difficulty in considering classes of Baule masks, see Message_874 .)
           
          So, this is a limited consideration which indicates the need to explore many more facets of form and detail to determine the extent to which it is indeed possible to attribute the origin or inspiration of any one of these masks to a particular individual culture or to trace conclusively the evolution of the presence of any of these features.  Based on this preliminary treatment, it would appear that specific elements may be traceable to ritual and symbolic elements of each culture but only with the understanding that there is significant variation and inter-mingling of styles and interpretations.  While it may be possible to identify the prevalence of features such as the animal features, the hairstyles, the surmounting birds, etc., it will not likely be possible to offer more than a hypothesis of the pathway of these elements within and among the three groups. 


          On Mar 3, 2009, at 4:58 AM, jean luc nabeth wrote:


          Thank you for your answer. I have bought the masks from a local gallery here in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire where I am temporarily posted for work. The seller is known for having embassies, foreign companies, etc as his customers and he has good credentials but still, no pedigree for the art can be expected except for the geographical origin. The mask I was asking about, and that you identify as Yaure (but the seller gave another name I think, and the smaller mask next to it on the picture is Baoulé), comes from a sale from a village near Sakoussou if I remember correctly. The village was raising funds after the death of the one important elder to fund a ceremony and and they sold some stuff. That's the story I got. 
          Regards

          --- On Mon, 3/2/09, Aboriginals% 3A%20Art% 20of%20the% 20First%20Person <sanibelart@comcast. net> wrote:
          From: Aboriginals% 3A%20Art% 20of%20the% 20First%20Person <sanibelart@comcast. net>
          Subject: Re: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found
          To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
          Date: Monday, March 2, 2009, 6:10 PM

          Based on appearance the mask to the far left has characteristics that are Senufo. The second from left is most likely Baule, based on the coiffure. The two to the right have characteristics that are similar to Yaure, including the oval mouth and the scalloped beards.

          More importantly, where and from who did you buy them? They should be able to ttell you their origin/provenance.

          Other wise, while skillfully carved, their greatest value may be as decor items.

          William Waites
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "jean luc nabeth" <nabethjl@yahoo. com>
          To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
          Sent: Monday, March 2, 2009 7:02:09 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
          Subject: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found

          Hi everybody,
           
          I've just purchased the 4 masks pictured in the attachment. I think that 2 are Baoulé, 1 is Ndjimini and the last one (2nd from the right on the photo)..I'm not sure.  
           
          Could anybody help?
           
          Thanks a lot.
           




        • M.E.F.
          Decorative function is a legitimate one and all you need for an object to fulfill that is that you should like it. M ... From: jean luc nabeth
          Message 4 of 7 , Mar 3 12:00 PM
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            Decorative function is a legitimate one and all you need for an object to fulfill that is that you should like it. M

            --- On Tue, 3/3/09, jean luc nabeth <nabethjl@...> wrote:
            From: jean luc nabeth <nabethjl@...>
            Subject: Re: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found
            To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 11:58 AM

            Thank you for your answer. I have bought the masks from a local gallery here in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire where I am temporarily posted for work. The seller is known for having embassies, foreign companies, etc as his customers and he has good credentials but still, no pedigree for the art can be expected except for the geographical origin. The mask I was asking about, and that you identify as Yaure (but the seller gave another name I think, and the smaller mask next to it on the picture is Baoulé), comes from a sale from a village near Sakoussou if I remember correctly. The village was raising funds after the death of the one important elder to fund a ceremony and and they sold some stuff. That's the story I got. 
            Regards

            --- On Mon, 3/2/09, Aboriginals% 3A%20Art% 20of%20the% 20First%20Person <sanibelart@comcast. net> wrote:
            From: Aboriginals% 3A%20Art% 20of%20the% 20First%20Person <sanibelart@comcast. net>
            Subject: Re: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found
            To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
            Date: Monday, March 2, 2009, 6:10 PM

            Based on appearance the mask to the far left has characteristics that are Senufo. The second from left is most likely Baule, based on the coiffure. The two to the right have characteristics that are similar to Yaure, including the oval mouth and the scalloped beards.

            More importantly, where and from who did you buy them? They should be able to ttell you their origin/provenance.

            Other wise, while skillfully carved, their greatest value may be as decor items.

            William Waites
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "jean luc nabeth" <nabethjl@yahoo. com>
            To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
            Sent: Monday, March 2, 2009 7:02:09 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
            Subject: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found

            Hi everybody,
             
            I've just purchased the 4 masks pictured in the attachment. I think that 2 are Baoulé, 1 is Ndjimini and the last one (2nd from the right on the photo)..I'm not sure.  
             
            Could anybody help?
             
            Thanks a lot.
             



          • Aboriginals Art of the Firs Person
            I would agree that decorative function is a legitimate reason for owning a work of art. Authenticity only comes into it if bragging rights are as important
            Message 5 of 7 , Mar 3 12:54 PM
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              I would agree that decorative function is a legitimate reason for owning a work of art. "Authenticity" only comes into it if bragging rights are as important as aesthetics. At least, that is my opinion.

              As to provenance, ask your dealer where he got the masks. He should be able to tell you. With that information and the name of the dealer, you have the start of a provenance. That's more than some people have for pieces they value.

              Generally, Yaure is considered a sub-group of the Baule. Check and see if Sakoussou is in the Yaure area of Baule-land. I can't recall although I have traveled and bought in CI.

              Is the gallery in Abidjan saying it came from Sakoussou? Or did you buy it there? I have purchased from Abidjan galleries and generally found the dealers authoritative and trustworthy. But, as with all "sellers", if they think you want to hear something, they will find a way imply what you want to hear.

              Summary, if you like the masks and you are happy with their appearance, that qualifies as satisfaction. IMO.

              William Waites



              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "M.E.F." <mfliegelmann@...>
              To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 3:00:20 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
              Subject: Re: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found

              Decorative function is a legitimate one and all you need for an object to fulfill that is that you should like it. M

              --- On Tue, 3/3/09, jean luc nabeth <nabethjl@...> wrote:
              From: jean luc nabeth <nabethjl@...>
              Subject: Re: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found
              To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 11:58 AM

              Thank you for your answer. I have bought the masks from a local gallery here in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire where I am temporarily posted for work. The seller is known for having embassies, foreign companies, etc as his customers and he has good credentials but still, no pedigree for the art can be expected except for the geographical origin. The mask I was asking about, and that you identify as Yaure (but the seller gave another name I think, and the smaller mask next to it on the picture is Baoulé), comes from a sale from a village near Sakoussou if I remember correctly. The village was raising funds after the death of the one important elder to fund a ceremony and and they sold some stuff. That's the story I got. 
              Regards

              --- On Mon, 3/2/09, Aboriginals% 3A%20Art% 20of%20the% 20First%20Person <sanibelart@comcast. net> wrote:
              From: Aboriginals% 3A%20Art% 20of%20the% 20First%20Person <sanibelart@comcast. net>
              Subject: Re: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found
              To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
              Date: Monday, March 2, 2009, 6:10 PM

              Based on appearance the mask to the far left has characteristics that are Senufo. The second from left is most likely Baule, based on the coiffure. The two to the right have characteristics that are similar to Yaure, including the oval mouth and the scalloped beards.

              More importantly, where and from who did you buy them? They should be able to ttell you their origin/provenance.

              Other wise, while skillfully carved, their greatest value may be as decor items.

              William Waites
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "jean luc nabeth" <nabethjl@yahoo. com>
              To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
              Sent: Monday, March 2, 2009 7:02:09 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
              Subject: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found

              Hi everybody,
               
              I've just purchased the 4 masks pictured in the attachment. I think that 2 are Baoulé, 1 is Ndjimini and the last one (2nd from the right on the photo)..I'm not sure.  
               
              Could anybody help?
               
              Thanks a lot.
               



            • jean luc nabeth
              Thank you everybody for your answers and many thanks to Lee for the thorough reference. Yes I am satisfied, as I received a good pre-expertise
              Message 6 of 7 , Mar 5 7:51 AM
              • 0 Attachment
                Thank you everybody for your answers and many thanks to Lee for the thorough reference.
                Yes I am satisfied, as I received a good pre-expertise from Washington (although with reserves, since it was from pictures only) for 3 masks among the 4 I sent. 
                The 2 bigger masks are a Yaouré and a Senufo Kpelié mask, and the Kpelié seems to be the best. The smaller Dan mask has received favorable review too, but it's the one I had no doubt about. The Yaouré is good in every aspect but the croissant over the head is "showing too much" to cite the reviewer and it could have been touched up.
                By the way, provenance for the Yaouré mask is the province of Sakassou not Sakoussou, excuse the typo in my previous email, and Sakassou is the biggest known place in Cote d'Ivoire for Baoulé people. It's like the capital of Baoulé-land.
                Thank you for reading,
                Regards

                --- On Tue, 3/3/09, Aboriginals Art of the Firs Person <sanibelart@...> wrote:
                From: Aboriginals Art of the Firs Person <sanibelart@...>
                Subject: Re: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found
                To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
                Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 9:54 PM

                I would agree that decorative function is a legitimate reason for owning a work of art. "Authenticity" only comes into it if bragging rights are as important as aesthetics. At least, that is my opinion.

                As to provenance, ask your dealer where he got the masks. He should be able to tell you. With that information and the name of the dealer, you have the start of a provenance. That's more than some people have for pieces they value.

                Generally, Yaure is considered a sub-group of the Baule. Check and see if Sakoussou is in the Yaure area of Baule-land. I can't recall although I have traveled and bought in CI.

                Is the gallery in Abidjan saying it came from Sakoussou? Or did you buy it there? I have purchased from Abidjan galleries and generally found the dealers authoritative and trustworthy. But, as with all "sellers", if they think you want to hear something, they will find a way imply what you want to hear.

                Summary, if you like the masks and you are happy with their appearance, that qualifies as satisfaction. IMO.

                William Waites



                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "M.E.F." <mfliegelmann@ yahoo.com>
                To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
                Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 3:00:20 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
                Subject: Re: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found

                Decorative function is a legitimate one and all you need for an object to fulfill that is that you should like it. M

                --- On Tue, 3/3/09, jean luc nabeth <nabethjl@yahoo. com> wrote:
                From: jean luc nabeth <nabethjl@yahoo. com>
                Subject: Re: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found
                To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
                Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 11:58 AM

                Thank you for your answer. I have bought the masks from a local gallery here in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire where I am temporarily posted for work. The seller is known for having embassies, foreign companies, etc as his customers and he has good credentials but still, no pedigree for the art can be expected except for the geographical origin. The mask I was asking about, and that you identify as Yaure (but the seller gave another name I think, and the smaller mask next to it on the picture is Baoulé), comes from a sale from a village near Sakoussou if I remember correctly. The village was raising funds after the death of the one important elder to fund a ceremony and and they sold some stuff. That's the story I got. 
                Regards

                --- On Mon, 3/2/09, Aboriginals% 3A%20Art% 20of%20the% 20First%20Person <sanibelart@comcast. net> wrote:
                From: Aboriginals% 3A%20Art% 20of%20the% 20First%20Person <sanibelart@comcast. net>
                Subject: Re: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found
                To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
                Date: Monday, March 2, 2009, 6:10 PM

                Based on appearance the mask to the far left has characteristics that are Senufo. The second from left is most likely Baule, based on the coiffure. The two to the right have characteristics that are similar to Yaure, including the oval mouth and the scalloped beards.

                More importantly, where and from who did you buy them? They should be able to ttell you their origin/provenance.

                Other wise, while skillfully carved, their greatest value may be as decor items.

                William Waites
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "jean luc nabeth" <nabethjl@yahoo. com>
                To: "African Arts" <African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com>
                Sent: Monday, March 2, 2009 7:02:09 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
                Subject: [African_Arts] 4 Cote d'Ivoire Masks found

                Hi everybody,
                 
                I've just purchased the 4 masks pictured in the attachment. I think that 2 are Baoulé, 1 is Ndjimini and the last one (2nd from the right on the photo)..I'm not sure.  
                 
                Could anybody help?
                 
                Thanks a lot.
                 




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