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Re: congo masks

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  • rpearsonpe
    Assume both the mask and songye fetish were made for the tourist market or runners bringing them outside of Africa. They are both interesting ; the songye
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 10, 2010
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      Assume both the mask and songye fetish were made for the tourist market or 'runners' bringing them outside of Africa. They are both 'interesting'; the songye nicely carved and at $50 a better than average 'curio'. IF you can get past the 'needs to be 100 years old and authentic' yadayada and appreciate the pieces for what they probably are- nicely hand carved locally produced artistic tribal handicrafts, you will live a long and happy life.

      --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, Andrew Goldberg <guywithcat42@...> wrote:
      > thanks. Is there anything indicating it was made by those other than the lega?
      > Another here in the group suggested our other piece was likely made by the
      > songye but that the odds were greatly against it ever being used other than for
      > an ultimate sale. Or am I asking the wrong questions here? thanks so much. we do
      > love the piece. I think we paid $50 or $60 for it max.
      > ________________________________
      > From: M.E.F. <mfliegelmann@...>
      > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Mon, July 5, 2010 5:14:05 PM
      > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] congo masks
      > It is a mask inspired by the Lega. M
      > ________________________________
      > From: Andrew Goldberg <guywithcat42@ yahoo.com>
      > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
      > Sent: Mon, July 5, 2010 8:21:36 PM
      > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] congo masks [3 Attachments]
      > Thanks so much. please forgive the odd typos in the previous email. Anyway, here
      > are two objects. A Songye statue (about 34 inches tall), and a mask from which
      > tribe I do not know. The wood portion of the mask is about 26 inches). Any
      > insight into either and if possible, the tribe of the mask would be appreciated.
      > Again, if they were at least made by the tribes of whom theyapparently 
      > represent, as opposed to a local guy with a chisel who makes cheap copies, then
      > we are very happy. Also, if there are any points of interest or explanation
      > regarding either one, I would also be so appreciative. This yahoo group is
      > pretty terrific IMHO.
      > Thanks much
      > Andrew
      > ________________________________
      > From: Andrew Goldberg <guywithcat42@ yahoo.com>
      > To: African_Arts@ yahoogroups. com
      > Sent: Mon, July 5, 2010 8:16:02 AM
      > Subject: [African_Arts] congo masks
      > thank you everyone for your extremely helpful and thoughtful supplies. Thanks to
      > all your replies I understand this so much better. We pushed our trip to stay
      > one more day, this time in Bukavu. Yesterday we traded back a few pieces (at a
      > loss) as we felt the workmanship was a little uninspiring, but otherwise we have
      > decided to bring them all home. I decided to push this further at a local level
      > to hear firsthand from the runners (a word I have learned) as to the "real"-ness
      > (whatever on earth real means, and I have read several articles online about
      > this complicated issue) of the items. Virtually every single runner, and two
      > craft store owners explained, that almost all the masks and statues, according
      > to them, for many decades, have been made with the hope/intention that a mazunga
      > (white man) will buy them. One man showed me a mask he said was a least 80 years
      > old, and he insisted it too was made for a mazunga. In goma there is a place
      > where some 6 or so runners lay out about 300 pieces of art. Some is outstanding,
      > others are dreadful. We asked all 6 of them -- "do you have any pieces that were
      > made SOLELY for the use of the tribe, for rituals or for any other use and they
      > all fell silent." I was actually expecting them to start lying like crazy and
      > was quite surprised when they did not. One man showed me a kind of pillow that
      > he said was in fact used as a pillow in a home deep in the jungle for
      > decades (its a wooden pillow, similar to the egyptian style) but that is hardly
      > ritual, its just a piece of furniture. So for now, my definition of "real" is
      > changing to mean the following: Was it at least made someone in the tribe, as
      > opposed to some guy who has no knoweldge of anything and is merely a mimic? If
      > yes, thats real enough.  In that my guide, who has traveled to the interior
      > (deep) to meet the tribes firsthand (he takes boats for days, bushwhacking etc)
      > and says they are selling their own tribal masks and statues by the ton, I am
      > hopeful that at least some of our pieces came from the actual  tribe as opposed
      > to someone with a chisel in town. But we like them all either way and we bought
      > them IN the congo which is pretty cool. So whatever the case, I am going to
      > learn to be happy with what we have. If anyone would like me to send a photo I
      > would love to do so to hear some thoughts. THANK YOU ALL for your time on this.
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