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Re: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?

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  • RAND (www.RandAfricanArt.com)
    Hi Robert,   Well, it s definitely an unusual mask.   My immediate thought, mainly because of the ears and the knobs on the top, was that it was a mask from
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 23, 2010
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      Hi Robert,
       
      Well, it's definitely an unusual mask.
       
      My immediate thought, mainly because of the ears and the knobs on the top, was that it was a mask from the Pare people of Tanzania (they really don't have much of a masking tradition at all though). I looked through the Yale Photographic Archives and I'm more inclined to think that it could be Makonde. The diversity in Makonde masks is pretty amazing.
       
      I saw several simple and abstract rounded masks like that in the archives from the Makonde, but the thing that doesn't fit in is the ears which are circular on your mask. There is a large degree of stylistic variation on the ears on a lot of the Makonde masks though.
       
      I'd definitely say the attribution is from Tanzania, and it's most likely Makonde, in my opinion.
       
      RAND

      --- On Fri, 8/20/10, Paul DeLucco <pauldelucco@...> wrote:

      From: Paul DeLucco <pauldelucco@...>
      Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?
      To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Friday, August 20, 2010, 3:06 AM

       
      Dear Robert,
       
      I have collected a number of masks from northern Tanzania in the area of Mwanza. Although I have seen nothing like the one you have, details of the carving of the mask, i.e. the large holes and the rounded volumes, remind me of Sukuma masks I have seen.  You should also look at Nyamwezi masks from the northern part of the vast range of this group.
       
      I would say that this mask looks "authentic" to me but if I said that, I would provoke yet another discussion among group members as to the meaning of such a word - and they would be quite right to call me on it.  Let me say, though, that patina, wear, and damage - insofar as they can be examined in the photographs (and without being able to see the back or a closeup of the broken ear, etc.) - appear consistent with normal handling and wear and tear over a period of time longer than the lifespan usually associated with a "fake."
       
      Regards,
       
      Paul   

       


      From: anthroarts <anthroarts@...>
      To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Mon, August 16, 2010 2:00:05 PM
      Subject: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?

       
      Hi: My name is Robert Caldwell, and I am new to this group; I have been referred here by Rand (to whom I was referred by Tim and Bobbi Hamill), pursuant to a highly unusual mask that I am representing. Can anyone help to identify for me please? Thank-you very much.

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/1656676583/pic/list


    • M.E.F.
      Hi all, what do you think of the enclosed? Thanks in advance, Margalit ________________________________ From: RAND (www.RandAfricanArt.com)
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 23, 2010
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi all,
         
        what do you think of the enclosed? Thanks in advance, Margalit
         

        West African Wood Carved Wart Hog


        From: RAND (www.RandAfricanArt.com) <rand@...>
        To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Mon, August 23, 2010 10:15:49 AM
        Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?

         

        Hi Robert,
         
        Well, it's definitely an unusual mask.
         
        My immediate thought, mainly because of the ears and the knobs on the top, was that it was a mask from the Pare people of Tanzania (they really don't have much of a masking tradition at all though). I looked through the Yale Photographic Archives and I'm more inclined to think that it could be Makonde. The diversity in Makonde masks is pretty amazing.
         
        I saw several simple and abstract rounded masks like that in the archives from the Makonde, but the thing that doesn't fit in is the ears which are circular on your mask. There is a large degree of stylistic variation on the ears on a lot of the Makonde masks though.
         
        I'd definitely say the attribution is from Tanzania, and it's most likely Makonde, in my opinion.
         
        RAND

        --- On Fri, 8/20/10, Paul DeLucco <pauldelucco@...> wrote:

        From: Paul DeLucco <pauldelucco@...>
        Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?
        To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Friday, August 20, 2010, 3:06 AM

         
        Dear Robert,
         
        I have collected a number of masks from northern Tanzania in the area of Mwanza. Although I have seen nothing like the one you have, details of the carving of the mask, i.e. the large holes and the rounded volumes, remind me of Sukuma masks I have seen.  You should also look at Nyamwezi masks from the northern part of the vast range of this group.
         
        I would say that this mask looks "authentic" to me but if I said that, I would provoke yet another discussion among group members as to the meaning of such a word - and they would be quite right to call me on it.  Let me say, though, that patina, wear, and damage - insofar as they can be examined in the photographs (and without being able to see the back or a closeup of the broken ear, etc.) - appear consistent with normal handling and wear and tear over a period of time longer than the lifespan usually associated with a "fake."
         
        Regards,
         
        Paul   

         


        From: anthroarts <anthroarts@...>
        To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Mon, August 16, 2010 2:00:05 PM
        Subject: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?

         
        Hi: My name is Robert Caldwell, and I am new to this group; I have been referred here by Rand (to whom I was referred by Tim and Bobbi Hamill), pursuant to a highly unusual mask that I am representing. Can anyone help to identify for me please? Thank-you very much.

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/1656676583/pic/list



      • Alexander Bortolot
        Hi All, Sorry, but since we re verging into Makonde territory I feel I need to weight in.  (For those who don t know me, I did my doctoral dissertation on
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 23, 2010
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          Hi All,
           
          Sorry, but since we're verging into Makonde territory I feel I need to weight in.  (For those who don't know me, I did my doctoral dissertation on Makonde masked performance and curated an exhibition on this material as a grad student in NYC...) 
           
          This mask, with semi-spherical morphology, square eye/mouth openings, and convex surfaces to either side of the vertical center line, reminds me of a bunch of Tanzanian "hare" masks that I saw around NYC in the late 90s and early 2000s.  These masks were curious because they seemed to be inspired by the widely-published, white hare mask with beard and detachable ears collected by Weule in the first decade of the 20th century in Tanganyika that is in Leipzig.  That particular mask has concave surfaces to either side of the vertical center line and I always wondered if a carver, meaning to copy from the 2-D image, had misinterpreted (or mis-remembered) and reversed that element.
           
          One such mask landed in a collection that I know well.  Having spent a year living in northern Mozambique and seeing countless Makonde face and helmet masks, I am pretty good at reading masks for actual use, storage around vermin, etc., and I _think_ this particular hare probably saw actual use.  So it's unclear whether this genre of mask was made based upon an historical prototype purely for commercial sale, or what.
           
          My guess is that the mask in question is some permutation of the more recent hare mask style.  I hate giving my opinion based on some pictures, but the large holes around the mask strike me as totally wrong.  Masks from this region have one large hole on either side of the mask's edge near the ears for a strap made of cloth or, more commonly, inner tube, and then many small holes along the edge to which a cloth covering is sewn (south of the Rovuma, most masks - helmet or face masks - have a flared edge around which the cloth ruff or mantle is cinched tightly).  These huge holes don't seem to serve any purpose.  Neither the holes nor the surface passes my gut test.
           
          But without seeing the mask in person, all I can say is: who knows?  If I learned one thing, it's that mask sculptors and performers value novelty and innovation as much as tradition and precedent, and that some of the most bizarre and unlikely masks can be entered into local canons of style, aesthetics, and genre by subsequent generations. 
          Alex
           


          From: RAND (www.RandAfricanArt.com) <rand@...>
          To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Mon, August 23, 2010 2:15:49 AM
          Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?

           

          Hi Robert,
           
          Well, it's definitely an unusual mask.
           
          My immediate thought, mainly because of the ears and the knobs on the top, was that it was a mask from the Pare people of Tanzania (they really don't have much of a masking tradition at all though). I looked through the Yale Photographic Archives and I'm more inclined to think that it could be Makonde. The diversity in Makonde masks is pretty amazing.
           
          I saw several simple and abstract rounded masks like that in the archives from the Makonde, but the thing that doesn't fit in is the ears which are circular on your mask. There is a large degree of stylistic variation on the ears on a lot of the Makonde masks though.
           
          I'd definitely say the attribution is from Tanzania, and it's most likely Makonde, in my opinion.
           
          RAND

          --- On Fri, 8/20/10, Paul DeLucco <pauldelucco@...> wrote:

          From: Paul DeLucco <pauldelucco@...>
          Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?
          To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Friday, August 20, 2010, 3:06 AM

           
          Dear Robert,
           
          I have collected a number of masks from northern Tanzania in the area of Mwanza. Although I have seen nothing like the one you have, details of the carving of the mask, i.e. the large holes and the rounded volumes, remind me of Sukuma masks I have seen.  You should also look at Nyamwezi masks from the northern part of the vast range of this group.
           
          I would say that this mask looks "authentic" to me but if I said that, I would provoke yet another discussion among group members as to the meaning of such a word - and they would be quite right to call me on it.  Let me say, though, that patina, wear, and damage - insofar as they can be examined in the photographs (and without being able to see the back or a closeup of the broken ear, etc.) - appear consistent with normal handling and wear and tear over a period of time longer than the lifespan usually associated with a "fake."
           
          Regards,
           
          Paul   

           


          From: anthroarts <anthroarts@...>
          To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Mon, August 16, 2010 2:00:05 PM
          Subject: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?

           
          Hi: My name is Robert Caldwell, and I am new to this group; I have been referred here by Rand (to whom I was referred by Tim and Bobbi Hamill), pursuant to a highly unusual mask that I am representing. Can anyone help to identify for me please? Thank-you very much.

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/1656676583/pic/list



        • Paul DeLucco
          Greetings, Some in the group may have already received this message, kindly forwarded on by David Norden.  There is a good variety of Tanzanian art going on
          Message 4 of 8 , Aug 24, 2010
          • 0 Attachment
            Greetings,
             
            Some in the group may have already received this message, kindly forwarded on by David Norden. 
             
            There is a good variety of Tanzanian art going on the block.  This is a good chance to see the styles of several different cultures from Tanzania whose art is not as well known as that of Congo or West Africa. 
             
            You will even note, on the cover of the ad, a miniature hare mask of the kind discussed by Alexander Bortolot in his posting below.  Unfortunately, there is nothing quite like Robert Caldwell's mask..............
             
            Regards,
             
            Paul 
             
            Zemanek

            62th tribal art auction

            published: 2010, August 21.

            Dear pauldelucco@...,

            Tribal Art Catalogue # 62 - now online
            http://www.tribal-art-auktion.de/en/catalogue170/d10_85/

            About 500 objects can been seen in the Zemanek-Münster catalogue with special focus on the Tanzania collection of Ralf Schulte-Bahrenberg (1934 - 2010).

            Tansania art - Glaube, Kult und GeisterweltAll these items were shown in the exhibition 'Tansania - Glaube, Kult und Geisterwelt...' in 2007/08 in Duisburg and 2009 in Schwaz (Austria)- which was an impressive documentation of the growing importance of East African traditional art.

            Appreciated by Marc Felix as something that is rare and beautiful you may be convinced how singular the traditional cult objects of the Ralf Schulte-Bahrenberg collection really are.

            Auction date: 2010 September 4, starting at 2 pm
            Authentic old objects with highlights from Congo, Gabon, the Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania and Indonesia.

            download catalogue as pdf
            http://www.tribal-art-auktion.de/downloads/catalogue170.pdf

            browse online catalogue
            http://www.tribal-art-auktion.de/en/current_catalogue/

            order the catalogue
            http://www.tribal-art-auktion.de/en/catalogue_order/

            download bid form
            http://www.tribal-art-auktion.de/downloads/bidform170_en.pdf




            From: Alexander Bortolot <lyautua@...>
            To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Mon, August 23, 2010 9:54:12 PM
            Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?

             

            Hi All,
             
            Sorry, but since we're verging into Makonde territory I feel I need to weight in.  (For those who don't know me, I did my doctoral dissertation on Makonde masked performance and curated an exhibition on this material as a grad student in NYC...) 
             
            This mask, with semi-spherical morphology, square eye/mouth openings, and convex surfaces to either side of the vertical center line, reminds me of a bunch of Tanzanian "hare" masks that I saw around NYC in the late 90s and early 2000s.  These masks were curious because they seemed to be inspired by the widely-published, white hare mask with beard and detachable ears collected by Weule in the first decade of the 20th century in Tanganyika that is in Leipzig.  That particular mask has concave surfaces to either side of the vertical center line and I always wondered if a carver, meaning to copy from the 2-D image, had misinterpreted (or mis-remembered) and reversed that element.
             
            One such mask landed in a collection that I know well.  Having spent a year living in northern Mozambique and seeing countless Makonde face and helmet masks, I am pretty good at reading masks for actual use, storage around vermin, etc., and I _think_ this particular hare probably saw actual use.  So it's unclear whether this genre of mask was made based upon an historical prototype purely for commercial sale, or what.
             
            My guess is that the mask in question is some permutation of the more recent hare mask style.  I hate giving my opinion based on some pictures, but the large holes around the mask strike me as totally wrong.  Masks from this region have one large hole on either side of the mask's edge near the ears for a strap made of cloth or, more commonly, inner tube, and then many small holes along the edge to which a cloth covering is sewn (south of the Rovuma, most masks - helmet or face masks - have a flared edge around which the cloth ruff or mantle is cinched tightly).  These huge holes don't seem to serve any purpose.  Neither the holes nor the surface passes my gut test.
             
            But without seeing the mask in person, all I can say is: who knows?  If I learned one thing, it's that mask sculptors and performers value novelty and innovation as much as tradition and precedent, and that some of the most bizarre and unlikely masks can be entered into local canons of style, aesthetics, and genre by subsequent generations. 
            Alex
             


            From: RAND (www.RandAfricanArt.com) <rand@...>
            To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Mon, August 23, 2010 2:15:49 AM
            Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?

             

            Hi Robert,
             
            Well, it's definitely an unusual mask.
             
            My immediate thought, mainly because of the ears and the knobs on the top, was that it was a mask from the Pare people of Tanzania (they really don't have much of a masking tradition at all though). I looked through the Yale Photographic Archives and I'm more inclined to think that it could be Makonde. The diversity in Makonde masks is pretty amazing.
             
            I saw several simple and abstract rounded masks like that in the archives from the Makonde, but the thing that doesn't fit in is the ears which are circular on your mask. There is a large degree of stylistic variation on the ears on a lot of the Makonde masks though.
             
            I'd definitely say the attribution is from Tanzania, and it's most likely Makonde, in my opinion.
             
            RAND

            --- On Fri, 8/20/10, Paul DeLucco <pauldelucco@...> wrote:

            From: Paul DeLucco <pauldelucco@...>
            Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?
            To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Friday, August 20, 2010, 3:06 AM

             
            Dear Robert,
             
            I have collected a number of masks from northern Tanzania in the area of Mwanza. Although I have seen nothing like the one you have, details of the carving of the mask, i.e. the large holes and the rounded volumes, remind me of Sukuma masks I have seen.  You should also look at Nyamwezi masks from the northern part of the vast range of this group.
             
            I would say that this mask looks "authentic" to me but if I said that, I would provoke yet another discussion among group members as to the meaning of such a word - and they would be quite right to call me on it.  Let me say, though, that patina, wear, and damage - insofar as they can be examined in the photographs (and without being able to see the back or a closeup of the broken ear, etc.) - appear consistent with normal handling and wear and tear over a period of time longer than the lifespan usually associated with a "fake."
             
            Regards,
             
            Paul   

             


            From: anthroarts <anthroarts@...>
            To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Mon, August 16, 2010 2:00:05 PM
            Subject: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?

             
            Hi: My name is Robert Caldwell, and I am new to this group; I have been referred here by Rand (to whom I was referred by Tim and Bobbi Hamill), pursuant to a highly unusual mask that I am representing. Can anyone help to identify for me please? Thank-you very much.

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/1656676583/pic/list




          • Bob Ibold
            Alex, Thanks for weighing in. I m glad to learn about of the Tanzanian hare masks. Bob
            Message 5 of 8 , Aug 24, 2010
            • 0 Attachment
              Alex,
              Thanks for "weighing in." I'm glad to learn about of the Tanzanian hare masks.
              Bob


              At 06:54 PM 8/23/2010, you wrote:
               

              Hi All,
               
              Sorry, but since we're verging into Makonde territory I feel I need to weight in.  (For those who don't know me, I did my doctoral dissertation on Makonde masked performance and curated an exhibition on this material as a grad student in NYC...)
               
              This mask, with semi-spherical morphology, square eye/mouth openings, and convex surfaces to either side of the vertical center line, reminds me of a bunch of Tanzanian "hare" masks that I saw around NYC in the late 90s and early 2000s.  These masks were curious because they seemed to be inspired by the widely-published, white hare mask with beard and detachable ears collected by Weule in the first decade of the 20th century in Tanganyika that is in Leipzig.  That particular mask has concave surfaces to either side of the vertical center line and I always wondered if a carver, meaning to copy from the 2-D image, had misinterpreted (or mis-remembered) and reversed that element.
               
              One such mask landed in a collection that I know well.  Having spent a year living in northern Mozambique and seeing countless Makonde face and helmet masks, I am pretty good at reading masks for actual use, storage around vermin, etc., and I _think_ this particular hare probably saw actual use.  So it's unclear whether this genre of mask was made based upon an historical prototype purely for commercial sale, or what.
               
              My guess is that the mask in question is some permutation of the more recent hare mask style.  I hate giving my opinion based on some pictures, but the large holes around the mask strike me as totally wrong.  Masks from this region have one large hole on either side of the mask's edge near the ears for a strap made of cloth or, more commonly, inner tube, and then many small holes along the edge to which a cloth covering is sewn (south of the Rovuma, most masks - helmet or face masks - have a flared edge around which the cloth ruff or mantle is cinched tightly).  These huge holes don't seem to serve any purpose.  Neither the holes nor the surface passes my gut test.
               
              But without seeing the mask in person, all I can say is: who knows?  If I learned one thing, it's that mask sculptors and performers value novelty and innovation as much as tradition and precedent, and that some of the most bizarre and unlikely masks can be entered into local canons of style, aesthetics, and genre by subsequent generations. 
              Alex
               


              From: RAND ( www.RandAfricanArt.com) <rand@...>
              To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Mon, August 23, 2010 2:15:49 AM
              Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?

               

              Hi Robert,
               
              Well, it's definitely an unusual mask.
               
              My immediate thought, mainly because of the ears and the knobs on the top, was that it was a mask from the Pare people of Tanzania (they really don't have much of a masking tradition at all though). I looked through the Yale Photographic Archives and I'm more inclined to think that it could be Makonde. The diversity in Makonde masks is pretty amazing.
               
              I saw several simple and abstract rounded masks like that in the archives from the Makonde, but the thing that doesn't fit in is the ears which are circular on your mask. There is a large degree of stylistic variation on the ears on a lot of the Makonde masks though.
               
              I'd definitely say the attribution is from Tanzania, and it's most likely Makonde, in my opinion.
               
              RAND

              --- On Fri, 8/20/10, Paul DeLucco <pauldelucco@...> wrote:

              From: Paul DeLucco <pauldelucco@...>
              Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?
              To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Friday, August 20, 2010, 3:06 AM

               
              Dear Robert,
               
              I have collected a number of masks from northern Tanzania in the area of Mwanza. Although I have seen nothing like the one you have, details of the carving of the mask, i.e. the large holes and the rounded volumes, remind me of Sukuma masks I have seen.  You should also look at Nyamwezi masks from the northern part of the vast range of this group.
               
              I would say that this mask looks "authentic" to me but if I said that, I would provoke yet another discussion among group members as to the meaning of such a word - and they would be quite right to call me on it.  Let me say, though, that patina, wear, and damage - insofar as they can be examined in the photographs (and without being able to see the back or a closeup of the broken ear, etc.) - appear consistent with normal handling and wear and tear over a period of time longer than the lifespan usually associated with a "fake."
               
              Regards,
               
              Paul  

               


              From: anthroarts <anthroarts@...>
              To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Mon, August 16, 2010 2:00:05 PM
              Subject: [African_Arts] Can Anyone Help to Identify a Highly Unusual Mask?

               
              Hi: My name is Robert Caldwell, and I am new to this group; I have been referred here by Rand (to whom I was referred by Tim and Bobbi Hamill), pursuant to a highly unusual mask that I am representing. Can anyone help to identify for me please? Thank-you very much.

              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/1656676583/pic/list





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