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Re: [African_Arts] bronze sculputre African or not?

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  • Ann Porteus
    Hello vos.brit, Try searching Orissa bronze statues. They have a long history of casting bronze and I would assume that you are much more likely to find Indian
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 15, 2012
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      Hello vos.brit,
      Try searching Orissa bronze statues. They have a long history of casting bronze and I would assume that you are much more likely to find Indian bronzes in India.
      Your piece does not look African.
      It may help to include measurements with your description.
      Regards,

      Ann Porteus
      Sidewalk Tribal Gallery 
      Tel: +61414340331
      Fax: +61362240331
      Office: +61362240331


      Sent from my iPad.

      On 15/02/2012, at 11:28 PM, "vos.brit" <mailme@...> wrote:

       

      I recently travelled to India and bought a bronze sculpture from a man from Tibet. Bought it because I simply fell in love with it. The seller was quite reluctant to sell and it took a long time to purchase it. I paid a fair amount of money for it…

      Since we came back to The Netherlands I have been searching the internet and posted on several forums. Until now the opinions are so divided that I still have no clue as to where it is from and if it is truly old. These are the reactions I've had so far:

      I tried to research what it could be, but I failed. It's for sure not an African sculpture, if so, it must be a more recent fantasy product. It seems your sculpture have no sharp edges, so that it speak for a good age. I think to search in the Asian area is the right way and if you found it in India I think you're on the right trace.

      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

      It's African from west central area. Do internet search for bronze sculpture, Congo River Basin and also look for on-line issues of Tribal Art magazine (also check your library).

      Please find some pictures attached. If you can be of any help I would appreciate it very much.

      close-up

      sculpture

      sculpture2

      bottom

      feet

    • William Klebous
      For everyone s further consideration, a brief article on the Sidi people of  Jambur, India, who are described as  immigrated from
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 16, 2012
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        For everyone's further consideration, a brief article on the "Sidi" people of  Jambur, India,
        who are described as "immigrated from Africa hundreds of years ago". Whereas the Sidi
        have maintained substantial elements of their African identity, the article contends that
        many other Africans have long since dispersed into the general population. Whether or to
        what extent these Africans have impacted the "tribal" cultures of India are questions to which
        I have no answer. But this kind of thing does tend to support the contention that "tribal"
        cultures are much more fluid than is generally acknowledged, and that what we tend to regard
        as "authentic" simply represents the earliest known "snapshot" we happen to have of a particular
        culture. To what extent that culture may have already been impacted by trading and migration
        often remains either unknown or overlooked.

        http://www.demotix.com/news/553753/african-tribe-india


        From: William Klebous <klebous@...>
        To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, 16 February 2012 5:08 PM
        Subject: Re: [African_Arts] bronze sculputre African or not?



        The tribal cultures of northern India and Nepal do not seem to be well-documented. And while I agree that
        there is an African vibe to your piece, my guess is that is accidental. My suggestion is to research for bronze
        pieces described as "bastar" or "dhokra". Here are some examples that may be related:

        http://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/sculptures/mother-goddess-folk-bronze-from-bastar-ZK06/

        http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/8687453

        http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Very-Old-Bastar-Stylized-Bronze-Couple-India-/250861696424


        From: vos.brit <mailme@...>
        To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, 15 February 2012 11:28 PM
        Subject: [African_Arts] bronze sculputre African or not?



        I recently travelled to India and bought a bronze sculpture from a man from Tibet. Bought it because I simply fell in love with it. The seller was quite reluctant to sell and it took a long time to purchase it. I paid a fair amount of money for it…
        Since we came back to The Netherlands I have been searching the internet and posted on several forums. Until now the opinions are so divided that I still have no clue as to where it is from and if it is truly old. These are the reactions I've had so far:
        I tried to research what it could be, but I failed. It's for sure not an African sculpture, if so, it must be a more recent fantasy product. It seems your sculpture have no sharp edges, so that it speak for a good age. I think to search in the Asian area is the right way and if you found it in India I think you're on the right trace.
        -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
        It's African from west central area. Do internet search for bronze sculpture, Congo River Basin and also look for on-line issues of Tribal Art magazine (also check your library).
        Please find some pictures attached. If you can be of any help I would appreciate it very much.








      • vos.brit
        Hello all, I m sorry to say it seems I ve bought something new and was mislead purchasing it as being old. I emailed the Dutch Tropenmuseum and the curator
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 17, 2012
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          Hello all,

          I'm sorry to say it seems I've bought something new and was mislead purchasing it as being old. I emailed the Dutch Tropenmuseum and the curator himself sent me an e-mail. I've translated it (the best I can.
          I still find it hard to believe that the man from Tibet deceived me, I even have his contact details and he said I can return it and get my money back if it's not old (as I told him when buying: I'm no expert). However I do think a curator would know.

          Here's the e-mail:

          I have looked the pictures of your - let me say it in modern jargon -'bizarre' figurine. I must admit that in all the years I have never seen such a thing in India. Not even from the in the last few decades mass-produced 'jungle' bronzes, that it -in far distance- somehow looks like. It is curious that it occurs more (modern) African than South Asian. Nepal and Tibet as provenance is utterly excluded.

          I fear that the figurine is modern and that the smart trader had a good day when he sold you. Hopefully you have not paid too much, at least if you thought you had a unique trouvaille.


          --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, William Klebous <klebous@...> wrote:
          >
          > For everyone's further consideration, a brief article on the "Sidi" people of  Jambur, India,
          >
          > who are described as "immigrated from Africa hundreds of years ago". Whereas the Sidi
          >
          > have maintained substantial elements of their African identity, the article contends that
          >
          > many other Africans have long since dispersed into the general population. Whether or to
          >
          > what extent these Africans have impacted the "tribal" cultures of India are questions to which
          >
          > I have no answer. But this kind of thing does tend to support the contention that "tribal"
          >
          > cultures are much more fluid than is generally acknowledged, and that what we tend to regard
          >
          > as "authentic" simply represents the earliest known "snapshot" we happen to have of a particular
          >
          > culture. To what extent that culture may have already been impacted by trading and migration
          >
          > often remains either unknown or overlooked.
          >
          > http://www.demotix.com/news/553753/african-tribe-india
          >
          >
          > ________________________________
          > From: William Klebous <klebous@...>
          > To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
          > Sent: Thursday, 16 February 2012 5:08 PM
          > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] bronze sculputre African or not?
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > The tribal cultures of northern India and Nepal do not seem to be well-documented. And while I agree that
          >
          > there is an African vibe to your piece, my guess is that is accidental. My suggestion is to research for bronze
          >
          > pieces described as "bastar" or "dhokra". Here are some examples that may be related:
          > http://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/sculptures/mother-goddess-folk-bronze-from-bastar-ZK06/
          >
          > http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/8687453
          >
          > http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Very-Old-Bastar-Stylized-Bronze-Couple-India-/250861696424
          >
          >
          >
          > ________________________________
          > From: vos.brit <mailme@...>
          > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Wednesday, 15 February 2012 11:28 PM
          > Subject: [African_Arts] bronze sculputre African or not?
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > I recently travelled to India and bought a bronze sculpture from a man from Tibet. Bought it because I simply fell in love with it. The seller was quite reluctant to sell and it took a long time to purchase it. I paid a fair amount of money for it…
          > Since we came back to The Netherlands I have been searching the internet and posted on several forums. Until now the opinions are so divided that I still have no clue as to where it is from and if it is truly old. These are the reactions I've had so far:
          > I tried to research what it could be, but I failed. It's for sure not an African sculpture, if so, it must be a more recent fantasy product. It seems your sculpture have no sharp edges, so that it speak for a good age. I think to search in the Asian area is the right way and if you found it in India I think you're on the right trace.
          > -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
          > It's African from west central area. Do internet search for bronze sculpture, Congo River Basin and also look for on-line issues of Tribal Art magazine (also check your library).
          > Please find some pictures attached. If you can be of any help I would appreciate it very much.
          > close-up
          > sculpture
          > sculpture2
          > bottom
          > feet
          >
        • William Klebous
          One thing that must be kept in mind when dealing with anomalous artifacts is that there is a near-zero chance of any expert at a museum or auction house
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 19, 2012
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            One thing that must be kept in mind when dealing with anomalous artifacts is that there is a near-zero chance of any
            expert at a museum or auction house "authenticating" the piece without you having an ironclad provenance.

            Why? Because all the downside risk is on one side of the equation. If they turn thumbs down on the piece, there
            is no way they can ever be discredited (barring the miracle of a very similar provenanced piece being discovered
            later). But if they give any sort of backing to the piece, they run the risk of considerable professional embarrassment.

            With regard to "experts", the following is a nearly unbroken rule: If they've never seen anything like it, it is definitely
            some kind of fake. And this rule holds even though there are many thousands of anomalous pieces, with provenance,
            in museum collections. But most of them are rarely put on display.

            And this "when in doubt call it a fake" rule is not a bad rule to follow as a collector. Because even if the piece is 
            genuinely old, it will never be accepted by the marketplace. Even with scientific testing, which is rarely done on 
            an unprovenanced anomalous piece anyway, because of the expense involved. 

            The key phrase in the curator's message is "I have never seen such a thing in India". Even though he's apparently
            looked at a large number of recent fakes and a large number of genuine pieces. Meanwhile you have the folks 
            on this list saying they've never seen anything quite like it, even though they've seen many many fakes and genuine 
            African pieces. This is sort of the very definition of an anomaly. 

            One thing about most fakes, as well as most genuine pieces, is that they occur in bunches.

            So there can be no definitive resolution to your quandary. Because your piece does display well as a piece of 
            naive artistry, and because it is seemingly quite uncommon, it can hardly be called worthless.

            On the one hand, you can believe that some native Tibetan skillfully sculpted and cast a completely original 
            and charming piece of folk art recently, for some reason in a seemingly invented African style, to sell to a tourist. 

            Or you can believe, based on your interaction with the seller, that the piece has been around for a good while, 
            with the only likely explanation that it came from the relatively nearby and anomaly-filled "tribal" bronze-casting 
            industry of India. Or, who knows, maybe even Nepal, despite what the curator said, and despite the fact that 
            I know of no remotely similar examples. What I do know is that Nepal has both primitive tribal art and a 
            bronze-casting industry, so who knows what one-off convergence might have happened on one afternoon in 
            nineteen twenty-something? 

            I hate to be this blunt but: Believe what you want.

            But I can tell you there's fun to be had in owning an anomalous piece, as you yourself, not some busy curator,
            at your leisure go through the endless literature and dealer inventory. What's the worst that could happen?
            Here's what: You yourself become a real expert on the tribal bronzes of India, or Africa, or both, without ever
            paying a cent of tuition. Simply by having invested in a piece you love anyway, whatever it turns out to be, whether
            or not the mystery is ever completely solved.

            Good luck with your decision.



            P.S. Looking at your photos again, I've actually kind of understated my admiration of the piece as art. The workmanship too is quite nice. The only problem is that it sounds like you paid too much for it. Even if it is, as I suspect, easily pre-1950.

            From: vos.brit <mailme@...>
            To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Saturday, 18 February 2012 10:18 AM
            Subject: [African_Arts] Re: bronze sculputre African or not?

            Hello all,

            I'm sorry to say it seems I've bought something new and was mislead purchasing it as being old. I emailed the Dutch Tropenmuseum and the curator himself sent me an e-mail. I've translated it (the best I can.
            I still find it hard to believe that the man from Tibet deceived me, I even have his contact details and he said I can return it and get my money back if it's not old (as I told him when buying: I'm no expert). However I do think a curator would know.

            Here's the e-mail:

            I have looked the pictures of your - let me say it in modern jargon -'bizarre' figurine. I must admit that in all the years I have never seen such a thing in India. Not even from the in the last few decades mass-produced 'jungle' bronzes, that it -in far distance- somehow looks like. It is curious that it occurs more (modern) African than South Asian. Nepal and Tibet as provenance is utterly excluded.

            I fear that the figurine is modern and that the smart trader had a good day when he sold you. Hopefully you have not paid too much, at least if you thought you had a unique trouvaille.


            --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, William Klebous <klebous@...> wrote:
            >
            > For everyone's further consideration, a brief article on the "Sidi" people of  Jambur, India,
            >
            > who are described as "immigrated from Africa hundreds of years ago". Whereas the Sidi
            >
            > have maintained substantial elements of their African identity, the article contends that
            >
            > many other Africans have long since dispersed into the general population. Whether or to
            >
            > what extent these Africans have impacted the "tribal" cultures of India are questions to which
            >
            > I have no answer. But this kind of thing does tend to support the contention that "tribal"
            >
            > cultures are much more fluid than is generally acknowledged, and that what we tend to regard
            >
            > as "authentic" simply represents the earliest known "snapshot" we happen to have of a particular
            >
            > culture. To what extent that culture may have already been impacted by trading and migration
            >
            > often remains either unknown or overlooked.
            >
            > http://www.demotix.com/news/553753/african-tribe-india
            >
            >
            > ________________________________
            >  From: William Klebous <klebous@...>
            > To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
            > Sent: Thursday, 16 February 2012 5:08 PM
            > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] bronze sculputre African or not?

            >

            >
            >
            >
            > The tribal cultures of northern India and Nepal do not seem to be well-documented. And while I agree that
            >
            > there is an African vibe to your piece, my guess is that is accidental. My suggestion is to research for bronze
            >
            > pieces described as "bastar" or "dhokra". Here are some examples that may be related:
            > http://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/sculptures/mother-goddess-folk-bronze-from-bastar-ZK06/
            >
            > http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/8687453
            >
            >
            target="_blank">http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Very-Old-Bastar-Stylized-Bronze-Couple-India-/250861696424
            >
            >
            >
            > ________________________________
            >  From: vos.brit <mailme@...>
            > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Wednesday, 15 February 2012 11:28 PM
            > Subject: [African_Arts] bronze sculputre African or not?

            >

            >
            >
            >
            > I recently travelled to India and bought a bronze sculpture from a man from Tibet. Bought it because I simply fell in love with it. The seller was quite reluctant to sell and it took a long time to purchase it. I paid a fair amount of money for it…
            > Since we came back to The Netherlands I have been searching the internet and posted on several forums. Until now the opinions are so divided that I still
            have no clue as to where it is from and if it is truly old. These are the reactions I've had so far:
            > I tried to research what it could be, but I failed. It's for sure not an African sculpture, if so, it must be a more recent fantasy product. It seems your sculpture have no sharp edges, so that it speak for a good age. I think to search in the Asian area is the right way and if you found it in India I think you're on the right trace.
            > -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
            > It's African from west central area. Do internet search for bronze sculpture, Congo River Basin and also look for on-line issues of Tribal Art magazine (also check your library).
            > Please find some pictures attached. If you can be of any help I would appreciate it very much.
            > close-up
            > sculpture
            > sculpture2
            > bottom
            >
            feet
            >




            ------------------------------------

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          • john
            Well thought out response, William K. That most auction house representatives will not stick out their neck unless there is an ironclad ( ie market acceptable
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 20, 2012
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              Well thought out response, William K.

              That most auction house representatives will not stick out their neck unless there is an ironclad ( ie market acceptable ) provenance has been thus for years ( especially for tribal works). The museum experts? I know a few. It is quite interesting what they can say inside or outside the public domain.

              --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, William Klebous <klebous@...> wrote:
              >
              > One thing that must be kept in mind when dealing with anomalous artifacts is that there is a near-zero chance of any
              > expert at a museum or auction house "authenticating" the piece without you having an ironclad provenance.
              >
              > Why? Because all the downside risk is on one side of the equation. If they turn thumbs down on the piece, there
              > is no way they can ever be discredited (barring the miracle of a very similar provenanced piece being discovered
              > later). But if they give any sort of backing to the piece, they run the risk of considerable professional embarrassment.
              >
              > With regard to "experts", the following is a nearly unbroken rule: If they've never seen anything like it, it is definitely
              > some kind of fake. And this rule holds even though there are many thousands of anomalous pieces, with provenance,
              > in museum collections. But most of them are rarely put on display.
              >
              >
              > And this "when in doubt call it a fake" rule is not a bad rule to follow as a collector. Because even if the piece is 
              > genuinely old, it will never be accepted by the marketplace. Even with scientific testing, which is rarely done on 
              > an unprovenanced anomalous piece anyway, because of the expense involved. 
              >
              >
              > The key phrase in the curator's message is "I have never seen such a thing in India". Even though he's apparently
              > looked at a large number of recent fakes and a large number of genuine pieces. Meanwhile you have the folks 
              >
              > on this list saying they've never seen anything quite like it, even though they've seen many many fakes and genuine 
              >
              > African pieces. This is sort of the very definition of an anomaly. 
              >
              >
              > One thing about most fakes, as well as most genuine pieces, is that they occur in bunches.
              >
              >
              > So there can be no definitive resolution to your quandary. Because your piece does display well as a piece of 
              >
              > naive artistry, and because it is seemingly quite uncommon, it can hardly be called worthless.
              >
              >
              > On the one hand, you can believe that some native Tibetan skillfully sculpted and cast a completely original 
              >
              > and charming piece of folk art recently, for some reason in a seemingly invented African style, to sell to a tourist. 
              >
              >
              > Or you can believe, based on your interaction with the seller, that the piece has been around for a good while, 
              >
              > with the only likely explanation that it came from the relatively nearby and anomaly-filled "tribal" bronze-casting 
              > industry of India. Or, who knows, maybe even Nepal, despite what the curator said, and despite the fact that 
              >
              > I know of no remotely similar examples. What I do know is that Nepal has both primitive tribal art and a 
              >
              > bronze-casting industry, so who knows what one-off convergence might have happened on one afternoon in 
              >
              > nineteen twenty-something? 
              >
              >
              > I hate to be this blunt but: Believe what you want.
              >
              >
              > But I can tell you there's fun to be had in owning an anomalous piece, as you yourself, not some busy curator,
              > at your leisure go through the endless literature and dealer inventory. What's the worst that could happen?
              > Here's what: You yourself become a real expert on the tribal bronzes of India, or Africa, or both, without ever
              > paying a cent of tuition. Simply by having invested in a piece you love anyway, whatever it turns out to be, whether
              > or not the mystery is ever completely solved.
              >
              >
              > Good luck with your decision.
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > ________________________________
              > From: vos.brit <mailme@...>
              > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Saturday, 18 February 2012 10:18 AM
              > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: bronze sculputre African or not?
              >
              > Hello all,
              >
              > I'm sorry to say it seems I've bought something new and was mislead purchasing it as being old. I emailed the Dutch Tropenmuseum and the curator himself sent me an e-mail. I've translated it (the best I can.
              > I still find it hard to believe that the man from Tibet deceived me, I even have his contact details and he said I can return it and get my money back if it's not old (as I told him when buying: I'm no expert). However I do think a curator would know.
              >
              > Here's the e-mail:
              >
              > I have looked the pictures of your - let me say it in modern jargon -'bizarre' figurine. I must admit that in all the years I have never seen such a thing in India. Not even from the in the last few decades mass-produced 'jungle' bronzes, that it -in far distance- somehow looks like. It is curious that it occurs more (modern) African than South Asian. Nepal and Tibet as provenance is utterly excluded.
              >
              > I fear that the figurine is modern and that the smart trader had a good day when he sold you. Hopefully you have not paid too much, at least if you thought you had a unique trouvaille.
              >
              >
              > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, William Klebous <klebous@> wrote:
              > >
              > > For everyone's further consideration, a brief article on the "Sidi" people of  Jambur, India,
              > >
              > > who are described as "immigrated from Africa hundreds of years ago". Whereas the Sidi
              > >
              > > have maintained substantial elements of their African identity, the article contends that
              > >
              > > many other Africans have long since dispersed into the general population. Whether or to
              > >
              > > what extent these Africans have impacted the "tribal" cultures of India are questions to which
              > >
              > > I have no answer. But this kind of thing does tend to support the contention that "tribal"
              > >
              > > cultures are much more fluid than is generally acknowledged, and that what we tend to regard
              > >
              > > as "authentic" simply represents the earliest known "snapshot" we happen to have of a particular
              > >
              > > culture. To what extent that culture may have already been impacted by trading and migration
              > >
              > > often remains either unknown or overlooked.
              > >
              > > http://www.demotix.com/news/553753/african-tribe-india
              > >
              > >
              > > ________________________________
              > >  From: William Klebous <klebous@>
              > > To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
              > > Sent: Thursday, 16 February 2012 5:08 PM
              > > Subject: Re: [African_Arts] bronze sculputre African or not?
              > > 
              > >
              > > 
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > The tribal cultures of northern India and Nepal do not seem to be well-documented. And while I agree that
              > >
              > > there is an African vibe to your piece, my guess is that is accidental. My suggestion is to research for bronze
              > >
              > > pieces described as "bastar" or "dhokra". Here are some examples that may be related:
              > > http://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/sculptures/mother-goddess-folk-bronze-from-bastar-ZK06/
              > >
              > > http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/8687453
              > >
              > > http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Very-Old-Bastar-Stylized-Bronze-Couple-India-/250861696424
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > ________________________________
              > >  From: vos.brit <mailme@>
              > > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
              > > Sent: Wednesday, 15 February 2012 11:28 PM
              > > Subject: [African_Arts] bronze sculputre African or not?
              > > 
              > >
              > > 
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > I recently travelled to India and bought a bronze sculpture from a man from Tibet. Bought it because I simply fell in love with it. The seller was quite reluctant to sell and it took a long time to purchase it. I paid a fair amount of money for it…
              > > Since we came back to The Netherlands I have been searching the internet and posted on several forums. Until now the opinions are so divided that I still have no clue as to where it is from and if it is truly old. These are the reactions I've had so far:
              > > I tried to research what it could be, but I failed. It's for sure not an African sculpture, if so, it must be a more recent fantasy product. It seems your sculpture have no sharp edges, so that it speak for a good age. I think to search in the Asian area is the right way and if you found it in India I think you're on the right trace.
              > > -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
              > > It's African from west central area. Do internet search for bronze sculpture, Congo River Basin and also look for on-line issues of Tribal Art magazine (also check your library).
              > > Please find some pictures attached. If you can be of any help I would appreciate it very much.
              > > close-up
              > > sculpture
              > > sculpture2
              > > bottom
              > > feet
              > >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > African Arts and Culture Discussion Group
              >
              > *Website for the group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/
              >
              > *Photos folder for the group: http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos
              >
              > *Message archives for the group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/messages
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >     http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              >
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