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Re: Vero...Dakakari? Komaland? Red List...and broad strokes

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  • LRubinstein@post.harvard.edu
    Vero: Firstly, as a necessary caveat in approaching antique works from the lower Saharan region in stone, terra cotta and bronze, I feel I should make
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 5, 2005
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      Vero:
       
      Firstly, as a necessary caveat in approaching antique works from the lower Saharan region in stone, terra cotta and bronze, I feel I should make reference to the ICOM Red List and generate some awareness of the moral and legal issues surrounding the commerce in such objects and allow the possibility for everyone to recognize and consider possible dimensions of the commerce in these items as well as to consider issues of cultural patrimony.  The Red List of African Objects can be seen in brief in English and French at  http://icom.museum/redlist/afrique/english/intro.html  in English
       
      I would be remiss in not mentioning this situation as well as in failing to acknowledge that in many instances representative objects from excavations and other sources for these objects have indeed been granted by national and/or local governments the requisite permissions and documentation to remove them from their sites and regions/nations of origin.  (Permissions granted in past decades might not be so granted in coming years.)  Countries such as Burkina Faso have been slower in recognizing such commercial and/or illicit activities (or the detrimental potential thereof), so the movement of these objects is not in all cases embroiled in legal questions.  But the fact remains that many objects that have been removed from sites spanning from Djenne, Sasso, Bankoni in Mali (see http://exchanges.state.gov/culprop/mlimage.html or http://exchanges.state.gov/culprop/mlfact.html for the background on and list of Malian antiquities under import restriction by the US State Department)  to the Nok, Sao, Sokoto and Katsina of Nigeria and the Bura of Niger -- to name a few -- prior to adequate scientific inquiries and documentation so that the subsequent impossibility of analysing these objects amidst their contextual clues might irrecoverably prevent the determination and theoretical reconstruction of their origins. 
       
      I find it awe-inspiring to imagine -- and daunting to contemplate unraveling -- the potential wealth of archaeological materials might lie beneath the ever-shifting and increasing Saharan (and other desert) sands (among other settings) and the historical information that might be gleaned from uncovering these clues to ancient cultures-- not to overlook the connections that might be hypothesized regarding their relationship to contemporary and recent "known" cultural entities.  Precedents for painting in such broad geographical and chronological strokes as I do here can be seen in the analysis of stone objects such as the "(Proto-)Yoruba" stone female figure from Nigeria held in the Horstmann Collection and featured as Object 5.75 on page 414 of the catalogue  Africa:  Art of a Continent  and the Female Shrine Figure "carved in hard granite" and presumed to be an early shrine figure from "Eshure, once part of the Ife complex in southwestern Nigeria" displayed as part of the Schulze Collection (Artists and Patrons, page 46).  While allowing reference to these figures expands our previously indicated geographical boundaries even further, I believe that Mr. Phillips' comments regarding the former puts the whole endeavor of such an inquiry into a proper light.  He states:
          "This exhibition...is content to ask questions where they arise and present enigmas where they occur.  A group of at least three stone figures that have an origin among the Yoruba and are said to have been found at abandoned shrines, do not seem at first to fit into a known pattern.  Since their age is not known they are described by the rather loose term pre-Yoruba...The massive conception and skill of their carving, however, commands our attention.  The protruding eyes placed almost at the sides of the head recall other Nigerian works including some variant twin figures (ibeji) whose stance they share.  Early African stone and terracotta artefacts [sic] from the Nomoli of the Kissi to the statuettes from Komaland are all relevant in the attempt to place this (as yet) anomalous work in at least a stylistic territory."

      I am not well educated in the range of cultures or in the nuances within each tradition that may be responsible for the creation of a vast array of unearthed stone and terra cotta objects from the broad region in question.  So, moving right past the obligatory disclaimer indicating that I am only superficially acquainted with the ancient terra cotta industries of Northern Nigeria and the broader lower Saharan region, my first thoughts on viewing your "bodyless" object in what appears to be a terra cotta medium made me think of Dakakari figures.  The Dakakari, so named by the Hausa and often referred to as such in "the literature," actually refer to themselves, I believe, as Lela with other variants including LALAWA, CLELA, KOLELA, CALA-CALA, CHILELA, CHILALA, DAKARKARI, DAKAKARI, DAKKARKARI also in use) come from the Eastern Kebbi State (formerly part of Sokoto State) and Niger State of Nigeria and thereabouts.  See http://www.motherlandnigeria.com/geography.html for a map of Nigeria delineating the states. 
       
      There is an article in Volume 6:  No. 4 (Summer, 1973) of African Arts by Allen Bassing entitled "Grave Markers of the Dakakari" that may provide illumination.
       
      There are some fine Northern Nigerian terra cottas included in this coming Saturday's (October 8) auction of Serge Reynes on page 21, Lots 230 and 231, that are worth a perusal in investigating this object.
       
      I think perhaps you will see some resonance as well between your "bodyless" and "limbless" terra cottas among examples of the Dakakari on a commercial German site I have found.  For example, look at this figure on this link:
      To see the broader range of Dakakari terra cottas at the same site, see:
      And for a whole range of terra cottas from West Africa (Nok, Katsina, Sokoto, Calabar, Bura, etc.), go to
       
       
      The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC has an interesting Dakakari grave figure at: http://www.mintmuseum.org/collections_detail.php?collection_id=4&item_id=59
      They also provide a link to this compelling terra cotta that is in South Africa:
       
      And there is a so-identified Dakakari terra cotta piece which is interesting although bears little resemblance to your figures but is still of interest for reference for purposes:  http://www.hessink.nl/Webalbum/darius/aziatica/5434.jpg
       
      Dave Rillin is also offering a piece on ebay currently which he has identified as Dakakari:
       
      Before drawing any firm conclusions -- or even generating a hypothesis for identification, a study of other terra cotta traditions including and surpassing those named thus far is certainly in order.  Among these might also be the Komaland figures of Northern Ghana to which Phillips refers above.  Selected images of Komaland figures and fragments can be viewed at:
      or a more diverse selection of Komaland objects with some background information and related sites at
       
      Someone far more knowledgeable than I in this specific field of inquiry might  offer a more accurate and well supported direction for further inquiry.  However, I hope this will provide some theoretical and regional -- however broad! -- bases for moving forward in your investigation.  Allow me to mention, too, that there is something terribly familiar in the face itself of "bodyless" that I think comes from bronze figures in the region of the Ivory Coast (Senufo?  Baule?  AKAN????  I just can't put my eye to the image that it wants to see...)
       
      But...my current and evolving philosophy:  Research avidly.  Conclude...never! 
       
      Best, Lee
    • Veronique Martelliere
      Bonjour Lee, Agape I am, with all these informations you gave me about the limbless lady . Thank you for taking the time to do this research. Merci +++. You
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 6, 2005
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        Bonjour Lee,
         
        Agape I am, with all these informations you gave me about the "limbless lady".  Thank you for taking the time to do this research. Merci +++. You are really amazing.
         
        The limbless lady has indeed a resemblance with the pieces shown on Serge Reyes catalog !
         
        I also appreciate that you remind me/us  the international regulations about archeological items. I really do. And, in principle, I agree with them.
        For example, the egyptian government is really concerned with the egyptian heritage, strictly enforces these laws, has in control the excavation sites and the respect of excavation procedures : every newly found item is documented, photographed on the spot, even before having been completely taken out of the ground - all basis needed to "reconstruct" history or enlight about forgotten traditions. This gives the item its archeological value. Besides, we know that this item is respected and well taken care of.
         
        IF the limbless lady is not a fake, she has NO archeological value (archeo, yes - logical, no). Where exactly she was found, at which depth, next to which other items... all this stays in the shadow. She is just a piece of terracotta, a speechless orphan who was taken to Lagos. Her mouth seems to shout but we do not understand the meaning.
         
        Nigeria is a place where 90% of people live on the first level of the pyramid of Maslow - struggle to get money to feed themselves and their family. You can talk to them about cultural heritage and even traditions, it does not fill their stomach. 
        Archeological sites are a source of revenue for the "diggers" and also for the policemen in charge. Bribing, in Nigeria, is as fluent as a language.
        If you are caught, at the airport, trying to export a Nok, you can be sure that this piece of terracotta will be back on the market, on the next day. 
        If you are caught in Europe, trying to import a Nok, the custom will seize it, send it back to Nigeria - and this piece of terracotta will be back on the market on the next week.
         
        Half of the items that we see in books and which are supposed to be in the "Museum of Lagos" are not there anymore.
        Not much to see in the Museum of Lagos, nowadays, no visitors, also (and, by the way, no light - you have to bring your own torch).
        No "Anthropology/ethnology Department" in the University of Lagos.
         
        There is definitely "something rotten in the kingdom" of Nigeria - and it is really a pity for the Nigerian people who, given the natural wealths of their country, could be kept away from poverty and chaos.
         
        IF the limbless lady is not a fake, and IF, one day, things had changed in Nigeria - IF an archeological museum, worthy of the name, was created in Lagos or Abuja, we may consider sending the limbless lady back to her homeland. For now, she gets her share of care and consideration with us.
         
        So, Lee, thanks again for helping the limbless lady trace her identity.
        I admire your knowledge and resources.
         
        Be well,
        Véro


        LRubinstein@... wrote:
        Vero:
         
        Firstly, as a necessary caveat in approaching antique works from the lower Saharan region in stone, terra cotta and bronze, I feel I should make reference to the ICOM Red List and generate some awareness of the moral and legal issues surrounding the commerce in such objects and allow the possibility for everyone to recognize and consider possible dimensions of the commerce in these items as well as to consider issues of cultural patrimony.  The Red List of African Objects can be seen in brief in English and French at  http://icom.museum/redlist/afrique/english/intro.html  in English
         
        I would be remiss in not mentioning this situation as well as in failing to acknowledge that in many instances representative objects from excavations and other sources for these objects have indeed been granted by national and/or local governments the requisite permissions and documentation to remove them from their sites and regions/nations of origin.  (Permissions granted in past decades might not be so granted in coming years.)  Countries such as Burkina Faso have been slower in recognizing such commercial and/or illicit activities (or the detrimental potential thereof), so the movement of these objects is not in all cases embroiled in legal questions.  But the fact remains that many objects that have been removed from sites spanning from Djenne, Sasso, Bankoni in Mali (see http://exchanges.state.gov/culprop/mlimage.html or http://exchanges.state.gov/culprop/mlfact.html for the background on and list of Malian antiquities under import restriction by the US State Department)  to the Nok, Sao, Sokoto and Katsina of Nigeria and the Bura of Niger -- to name a few -- prior to adequate scientific inquiries and documentation so that the subsequent impossibility of analysing these objects amidst their contextual clues might irrecoverably prevent the determination and theoretical reconstruction of their origins. 
         
        I find it awe-inspiring to imagine -- and daunting to contemplate unraveling -- the potential wealth of archaeological materials might lie beneath the ever-shifting and increasing Saharan (and other desert) sands (among other settings) and the historical information that might be gleaned from uncovering these clues to ancient cultures-- not to overlook the connections that might be hypothesized regarding their relationship to contemporary and recent "known" cultural entities.  Precedents for painting in such broad geographical and chronological strokes as I do here can be seen in the analysis of stone objects such as the "(Proto-)Yoruba" stone female figure from Nigeria held in the Horstmann Collection and featured as Object 5.75 on page 414 of the catalogue  Africa:  Art of a Continent  and the Female Shrine Figure "carved in hard granite" and presumed to be an early shrine figure from "Eshure, once part of the Ife complex in southwestern Nigeria" displayed as part of the Schulze Collection (Artists and Patrons, page 46).  While allowing reference to these figures expands our previously indicated geographical boundaries even further, I believe that Mr. Phillips' comments regarding the former puts the whole endeavor of such an inquiry into a proper light.  He states:
            "This exhibition...is content to ask questions where they arise and present enigmas where they occur.  A group of at least three stone figures that have an origin among the Yoruba and are said to have been found at abandoned shrines, do not seem at first to fit into a known pattern.  Since their age is not known they are described by the rather loose term pre-Yoruba...The massive conception and skill of their carving, however, commands our attention.  The protruding eyes placed almost at the sides of the head recall other Nigerian works including some variant twin figures (ibeji) whose stance they share.  Early African stone and terracotta artefacts [sic] from the Nomoli of the Kissi to the statuettes from Komaland are all relevant in the attempt to place this (as yet) anomalous work in at least a stylistic territory."

        I am not well educated in the range of cultures or in the nuances within each tradition that may be responsible for the creation of a vast array of unearthed stone and terra cotta objects from the broad region in question.  So, moving right past the obligatory disclaimer indicating that I am only superficially acquainted with the ancient terra cotta industries of Northern Nigeria and the broader lower Saharan region, my first thoughts on viewing your "bodyless" object in what appears to be a terra cotta medium made me think of Dakakari figures.  The Dakakari, so named by the Hausa and often referred to as such in "the literature," actually refer to themselves, I believe, as Lela with other variants including LALAWA, CLELA, KOLELA, CALA-CALA, CHILELA, CHILALA, DAKARKARI, DAKAKARI, DAKKARKARI also in use) come from the Eastern Kebbi State (formerly part of Sokoto State) and Niger State of Nigeria and thereabouts.  See http://www.motherlandnigeria.com/geography.html for a map of Nigeria delineating the states. 
         
        There is an article in Volume 6:  No. 4 (Summer, 1973) of African Arts by Allen Bassing entitled "Grave Markers of the Dakakari" that may provide illumination.
         
        There are some fine Northern Nigerian terra cottas included in this coming Saturday's (October 8) auction of Serge Reynes on page 21, Lots 230 and 231, that are worth a perusal in investigating this object.
         
        I think perhaps you will see some resonance as well between your "bodyless" and "limbless" terra cottas among examples of the Dakakari on a commercial German site I have found.  For example, look at this figure on this link:
        To see the broader range of Dakakari terra cottas at the same site, see:
        And for a whole range of terra cottas from West Africa (Nok, Katsina, Sokoto, Calabar, Bura, etc.), go to
         
         
        The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC has an interesting Dakakari grave figure at: http://www.mintmuseum.org/collections_detail.php?collection_id=4&item_id=59
        They also provide a link to this compelling terra cotta that is in South Africa:
         
        And there is a so-identified Dakakari terra cotta piece which is interesting although bears little resemblance to your figures but is still of interest for reference for purposes:  http://www.hessink.nl/Webalbum/darius/aziatica/5434.jpg
         
        Dave Rillin is also offering a piece on ebay currently which he has identified as Dakakari:
         
        Before drawing any firm conclusions -- or even generating a hypothesis for identification, a study of other terra cotta traditions including and surpassing those named thus far is certainly in order.  Among these might also be the Komaland figures of Northern Ghana to which Phillips refers above.  Selected images of Komaland figures and fragments can be viewed at:
        or a more diverse selection of Komaland objects with some background information and related sites at
         
        Someone far more knowledgeable than I in this specific field of inquiry might  offer a more accurate and well supported direction for further inquiry.  However, I hope this will provide some theoretical and regional -- however broad! -- bases for moving forward in your investigation.  Allow me to mention, too, that there is something terribly familiar in the face itself of "bodyless" that I think comes from bronze figures in the region of the Ivory Coast (Senufo?  Baule?  AKAN????  I just can't put my eye to the image that it wants to see...)
         
        But...my current and evolving philosophy:  Research avidly.  Conclude...never! 
         
        Best, Lee


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      • Steve Price
        Hi Veronique I see the Red List matter pretty much the same way you do. In fact, it could be argued that the Red List makes matters even worse than they
        Message 3 of 11 , Oct 6, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Veronique

          I see the "Red List" matter pretty much the same way you do. In
          fact, it could be argued that the "Red List" makes matters even worse
          than they would be. It actually creates a situation in which "corrupt" (emphasis)
          Nigerians can sell the same piece many times and get bribed for doing
          it each time. At least without the "Red List" something only gets
          sold for export once.

          Regards

          Steve Price

          --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, Veronique Martelliere
          <proximatribal@y...> wrote:
          > Bonjour Lee,
          >
          > Agape I am, with all these informations you gave me about
          the "limbless lady". Thank you for taking the time to do this
          research. Merci +++. You are really amazing.
          >
          > The limbless lady has indeed a resemblance with the pieces shown on
          Serge Reyes catalog !
          >
          > I also appreciate that you remind me/us the international
          regulations about archeological items. I really do. And, in
          principle, I agree with them.
          > For example, the egyptian government is really concerned with the
          egyptian heritage, strictly enforces these laws, has in control the
          excavation sites and the respect of excavation procedures : every
          newly found item is documented, photographed on the spot, even before
          having been completely taken out of the ground - all basis needed
          to "reconstruct" history or enlight about forgotten traditions. This
          gives the item its archeological value. Besides, we know that this
          item is respected and well taken care of.
          >
          > IF the limbless lady is not a fake, she has NO archeological value
          (archeo, yes - logical, no). Where exactly she was found, at which
          depth, next to which other items... all this stays in the shadow. She
          is just a piece of terracotta, a speechless orphan who was taken to
          Lagos. Her mouth seems to shout but we do not understand the meaning.
          >
          > Nigeria is a place where 90% of people live on the first level of
          the pyramid of Maslow - struggle to get money to feed themselves and
          their family. You can talk to them about cultural heritage and even
          traditions, it does not fill their stomach.
          > Archeological sites are a source of revenue for the "diggers" and
          also for the policemen in charge. Bribing, in Nigeria, is as fluent
          as a language.
          > If you are caught, at the airport, trying to export a Nok, you can
          be sure that this piece of terracotta will be back on the market, on
          the next day.
          > If you are caught in Europe, trying to import a Nok, the custom
          will seize it, send it back to Nigeria - and this piece of terracotta
          will be back on the market on the next week.
          >
          > Half of the items that we see in books and which are supposed to be
          in the "Museum of Lagos" are not there anymore.
          > Not much to see in the Museum of Lagos, nowadays, no visitors, also
          (and, by the way, no light - you have to bring your own torch).
          > No "Anthropology/ethnology Department" in the University of Lagos.
          >
          > There is definitely "something rotten in the kingdom" of Nigeria -
          and it is really a pity for the Nigerian people who, given the
          natural wealths of their country, could be kept away from poverty and
          chaos.
          >
          > IF the limbless lady is not a fake, and IF, one day, things had
          changed in Nigeria - IF an archeological museum, worthy of the name,
          was created in Lagos or Abuja, we may consider sending the limbless
          lady back to her homeland. For now, she gets her share of care and
          consideration with us.
          >
          > So, Lee, thanks again for helping the limbless lady trace her
          identity.
          > I admire your knowledge and resources.
          >
          > Be well,
          > Véro
          >
          >
          > LRubinstein@p... wrote:
          > Vero:
          >
          > Firstly, as a necessary caveat in approaching antique works from
          the lower Saharan region in stone, terra cotta and bronze, I feel I
          should make reference to the ICOM Red List and generate some
          awareness of the moral and legal issues surrounding the commerce in
          such objects and allow the possibility for everyone to recognize and
          consider possible dimensions of the commerce in these items as well
          as to consider issues of cultural patrimony. The Red List of African
          Objects can be seen in brief in English and French at
          http://icom.museum/redlist/afrique/english/intro.html in English
          > http://icom.museum/redlist/afrique/french/intro.html in French
          >
          > I would be remiss in not mentioning this situation as well as in
          failing to acknowledge that in many instances representative objects
          from excavations and other sources for these objects have indeed been
          granted by national and/or local governments the requisite
          permissions and documentation to remove them from their sites and
          regions/nations of origin. (Permissions granted in past decades
          might not be so granted in coming years.) Countries such as Burkina
          Faso have been slower in recognizing such commercial and/or illicit
          activities (or the detrimental potential thereof), so the movement of
          these objects is not in all cases embroiled in legal questions. But
          the fact remains that many objects that have been removed from sites
          spanning from Djenne, Sasso, Bankoni in Mali (see
          http://exchanges.state.gov/culprop/mlimage.html or
          http://exchanges.state.gov/culprop/mlfact.html for the background on
          and list of Malian antiquities under import restriction by the US
          State Department) to
          > the Nok, Sao, Sokoto and Katsina of Nigeria and the Bura of Niger -
          - to name a few -- prior to adequate scientific inquiries and
          documentation so that the subsequent impossibility of analysing these
          objects amidst their contextual clues might irrecoverably prevent the
          determination and theoretical reconstruction of their origins.
          >
          > I find it awe-inspiring to imagine -- and daunting to contemplate
          unraveling -- the potential wealth of archaeological materials might
          lie beneath the ever-shifting and increasing Saharan (and other
          desert) sands (among other settings) and the historical information
          that might be gleaned from uncovering these clues to ancient cultures-
          - not to overlook the connections that might be hypothesized
          regarding their relationship to contemporary and recent "known"
          cultural entities. Precedents for painting in such broad
          geographical and chronological strokes as I do here can be seen in
          the analysis of stone objects such as the "(Proto-)Yoruba" stone
          female figure from Nigeria held in the Horstmann Collection and
          featured as Object 5.75 on page 414 of the catalogue Africa: Art of
          a Continent and the Female Shrine Figure "carved in hard granite"
          and presumed to be an early shrine figure from "Eshure, once part of
          the Ife complex in southwestern Nigeria" displayed as part of the
          Schulze
          > Collection (Artists and Patrons, page 46). While allowing
          reference to these figures expands our previously indicated
          geographical boundaries even further, I believe that Mr. Phillips'
          comments regarding the former puts the whole endeavor of such an
          inquiry into a proper light. He states:
          > "This exhibition...is content to ask questions where they arise
          and present enigmas where they occur. A group of at least three
          stone figures that have an origin among the Yoruba and are said to
          have been found at abandoned shrines, do not seem at first to fit
          into a known pattern. Since their age is not known they are
          described by the rather loose term pre-Yoruba...The massive
          conception and skill of their carving, however, commands our
          attention. The protruding eyes placed almost at the sides of the
          head recall other Nigerian works including some variant twin figures
          (ibeji) whose stance they share. Early African stone and terracotta
          artefacts [sic] from the Nomoli of the Kissi to the statuettes from
          Komaland are all relevant in the attempt to place this (as yet)
          anomalous work in at least a stylistic territory."
          >
          > I am not well educated in the range of cultures or in the nuances
          within each tradition that may be responsible for the creation of a
          vast array of unearthed stone and terra cotta objects from the broad
          region in question. So, moving right past the obligatory disclaimer
          indicating that I am only superficially acquainted with the ancient
          terra cotta industries of Northern Nigeria and the broader lower
          Saharan region, my first thoughts on viewing your "bodyless" object
          in what appears to be a terra cotta medium made me think of Dakakari
          figures. The Dakakari, so named by the Hausa and often referred to
          as such in "the literature," actually refer to themselves, I believe,
          as Lela with other variants including LALAWA, CLELA, KOLELA, CALA-
          CALA, CHILELA, CHILALA, DAKARKARI, DAKAKARI, DAKKARKARI also in use)
          come from the Eastern Kebbi State (formerly part of Sokoto State) and
          Niger State of Nigeria and thereabouts. See
          http://www.motherlandnigeria.com/geography.html for a map of Nigeria
          > delineating the states.
          >
          > There is an article in Volume 6: No. 4 (Summer, 1973) of African
          Arts by Allen Bassing entitled "Grave Markers of the Dakakari" that
          may provide illumination.
          >
          > There are some fine Northern Nigerian terra cottas included in this
          coming Saturday's (October 8) auction of Serge Reynes on page 21,
          Lots 230 and 231, that are worth a perusal in investigating this
          object.
          > http://www.serge-
          reynes.org/console/managermedias/documents/8octobre05.pdf
          >
          > I think perhaps you will see some resonance as well between
          your "bodyless" and "limbless" terra cottas among examples of the
          Dakakari on a commercial German site I have found. For example, look
          at this figure on this link:
          > http://www.art-vs.de/portal/bild_popup.php?
          src==portal/artikel/pics/dak_d.jpg&resize==1
          > To see the broader range of Dakakari terra cottas at the same site,
          see:
          > http://www.art-vs.de/dakakari/galerie,0,0,0,liste,,654.html
          > And for a whole range of terra cottas from West Africa (Nok,
          Katsina, Sokoto, Calabar, Bura, etc.), go to
          > http://www.art-
          vs.de/african_terracotta/galerie,0,0,0,liste,,2082.html
          >
          > Barakat also hosts some so-identified Dakakari terra cotta examples
          at
          http://www.barakatgallery.com/store/index.cfm/FuseAction/subcatItemsDe
          tails/UserID/0/CFID/11319002/CFTOKEN/7360246/CategoryID/30/SubCategory
          ID/800.htm
          >
          > The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC has an interesting Dakakari grave
          figure at: http://www.mintmuseum.org/collections_detail.php?
          collection_id==4&item_id=Y
          > They also provide a link to this compelling terra cotta that is in
          South Africa:
          > http://www.totemgallery.co.za/dakakari_grave_monument_80.htm
          >
          > And there is a so-identified Dakakari terra cotta piece which is
          interesting although bears little resemblance to your figures but is
          still of interest for reference for purposes:
          http://www.hessink.nl/Webalbum/darius/aziatica/5434.jpg
          >
          >
          > Dave Rillin is also offering a piece on ebay currently which he has
          identified as Dakakari:
          > http://cgi.ebay.com/ANCIENT-FUNERARY-DAKAKARI-TERRACOTTA-
          NIGERIA_W0QQitemZ7354243995QQcategoryZ37947QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcm
          dZViewItem
          >
          > Before drawing any firm conclusions -- or even generating a
          hypothesis for identification, a study of other terra cotta
          traditions including and surpassing those named thus far is certainly
          in order. Among these might also be the Komaland figures of Northern
          Ghana to which Phillips refers above. Selected images of Komaland
          figures and fragments can be viewed at:
          > http://www.art-vs.de/koma_land/galerie,0,0,0,liste,,2480.html
          > or a more diverse selection of Komaland objects with some
          background information and related sites at
          > http://spaces.msn.com/members/komaland-ghana/
          >
          > Someone far more knowledgeable than I in this specific field of
          inquiry might offer a more accurate and well supported direction for
          further inquiry. However, I hope this will provide some theoretical
          and regional -- however broad! -- bases for moving forward in your
          investigation. Allow me to mention, too, that there is something
          terribly familiar in the face itself of "bodyless" that I think comes
          from bronze figures in the region of the Ivory Coast (Senufo?
          Baule? AKAN???? I just can't put my eye to the image that it wants
          to see...)
          >
          > But...my current and evolving philosophy: Research avidly.
          Conclude...never!
          >
          > Best, Lee
          >
          >
          >
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        • LRubinstein@post.harvard.edu
          Veronique and Steve: I appreciate your thoughts on the Red List and matters of cultural patrimony in light of the very real conditions in which the List has
          Message 4 of 11 , Oct 6, 2005
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            Veronique and Steve:
             
            I appreciate your thoughts on the Red List and matters of cultural patrimony in light of the very real conditions in which the List has come to be.  The pragmatics that influence the production of and commerce in African objects are indeed complex, and awareness of the List and the matters to which it points helps to reveal some of the conditions that I choose to consider and address --  not merely to appreciate the works themselves but also to gain insight into the evolving realities of the peoples from which they come and whose hands and lives they have touched.  Among the questions I try to consider when seeking the source, significance and history of an object of which I enjoy custodianship are those regarding where and how an object can best be given an opportunity to manifest its diverse meanings and to generate positive outcomes for all who have come into contact with it as well as to generate awareness in myself and others of contemporary realities and cultural, trans-cultural and historical insights. I try to grapple with my own materialism, pre-conceptions and ignorance and to be worthy of the opportunities and responsibilities I have been granted through my relationships with these objects.  Through this process of consideration I am learning much about other peoples' realities (past, present and future) and my own (past, present and future), and that process helps me to locate myself within the world and to contribute to the communities of which I am a part in various ways. 
             
            That is not to say that I do not often (even continually) sit back and savor the pure aesthetic rapture that can be gained from a wordless appreciation inspired by a particular object well apart and far away from the complex world from which it arises and through which it has traveled perchance to me...for the fleeting present moment.
             
            Lee
          • Steve Price
            Hi Lee Another way to look at the whole issue is to wonder aloud: All of Nigeria s cultural artifacts belong in Nigeria, all of Egypt s ccultural artifacts
            Message 5 of 11 , Oct 6, 2005
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              Hi Lee

              Another way to look at the whole issue is to wonder aloud: All of
              Nigeria's cultural artifacts belong in Nigeria, all of Egypt's
              ccultural artifacts belong in Egypt, and all of Mali's cultural
              artifacts belong in Mali. If that's true, then don't all Italian
              cultural artifacts belong in Italy, all Dutch artifacts belong in the
              Netherlands, all Flemish paintings belong in Belgium? If not, why
              not?

              To put it bluntly, I think the "Red List" is a manifestation of the
              patronizingly sanctimonious attitudes the western world has toward
              Africa.

              Back to my bunker.

              Steve Price

              --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, LRubinstein@p... wrote:
              > Veronique and Steve:
              >
              > I appreciate your thoughts on the Red List and matters of cultural
              patrimony
              > in light of the very real conditions in which the List has come to
              be. The
              > pragmatics that influence the production of and commerce in
              African objects
              > are indeed complex, and awareness of the List and the matters to
              which it
              > points helps to reveal some of the conditions that I choose to
              consider and
              > address -- not merely to appreciate the works themselves but also
              to gain insight
              > into the evolving realities of the peoples from which they come
              and whose
              > hands and lives they have touched. Among the questions I try to
              consider when
              > seeking the source, significance and history of an object of which
              I enjoy
              > custodianship are those regarding where and how an object can best
              be given an
              > opportunity to manifest its diverse meanings and to generate
              positive
              > outcomes for all who have come into contact with it as well as to
              generate awareness
              > in myself and others of contemporary realities and cultural, trans-
              cultural
              > and historical insights. I try to grapple with my own materialism,
              > pre-conceptions and ignorance and to be worthy of the opportunities
              and
              > responsibilities I have been granted through my relationships with
              these objects. Through
              > this process of consideration I am learning much about other
              peoples'
              > realities (past, present and future) and my own (past, present and
              future), and that
              > process helps me to locate myself within the world and to
              contribute to the
              > communities of which I am a part in various ways.
              >
              > That is not to say that I do not often (even continually) sit back
              and savor
              > the pure aesthetic rapture that can be gained from a wordless
              appreciation
              > inspired by a particular object well apart and far away from the
              complex world
              > from which it arises and through which it has traveled perchance
              to me...for
              > the fleeting present moment.
              >
              > Lee
            • Veronique Martelliere
              Hi Steve, Yes, I agree with you - also about the patronizingly sanctimonious attitudes the western world has toward Africa . ... Not only temples : noone
              Message 6 of 11 , Oct 6, 2005
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                Hi Steve,
                 
                Yes, I agree with you - also about the "patronizingly sanctimonious attitudes the western world has toward Africa".
                 
                But still, I believe that two things justify a Red List :
                > archeology. The archeologists are not looking for art or pleasure (aesthetic). They are historians treating human amnesia, trying to make things speak and reveal forgotten ways of living, thinking, believing - one side of the human history.
                > brutal dilapidation of temples - as it is still the case in Cambodia or in south America, for example.
                Not only temples : noone would let anyone steal the clock of Big Ben.
                 
                There are exceptions. For example : Arnold Messner, an Austrian (and first man who reached the top of Mount Everest without oxygen), started collecting tribal items in Tibet, 25 years ago... that was before the Chinese came in and destroyed all tibetan "cultural artifacts" on their way. So, what do we say ? We say : Thank you, Arnold. Danke schön.
                 
                For the rest, the world must go on playing cards with their Rembrandt, Rodin, Andy Warhol, crucifix in all styles, Lega spoons, masks and figures, and so on.
                Cultural exchanges are probably one of the best and healthiest things for humankind.
                Far before soccer / football.
                 
                Cheers !
                Véro
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 

                Steve Price <sprice@...> wrote:
                Hi Lee

                Another way to look at the whole issue is to wonder aloud:  All of
                Nigeria's cultural artifacts belong in Nigeria, all of Egypt's
                ccultural artifacts belong in Egypt, and all of Mali's cultural
                artifacts belong in Mali.  If that's true, then don't all Italian
                cultural artifacts belong in Italy, all Dutch artifacts belong in the
                Netherlands, all Flemish paintings belong in Belgium?  If not, why
                not?

                To put it bluntly, I think the "Red List" is a manifestation of the
                patronizingly sanctimonious attitudes the western world has toward
                Africa.

                Back to my bunker.

                Steve Price

                --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, LRubinstein@p... wrote:
                > Veronique and Steve:

                > I appreciate your thoughts on the Red List and matters of cultural 
                patrimony
                > in light of the very real conditions in which the List has come to 
                be.  The
                > pragmatics that influence the production of and commerce in 
                African objects
                > are indeed complex, and awareness of the List and the  matters to
                which it
                > points helps to reveal some of the conditions that I choose  to
                consider and
                > address --  not merely to appreciate the works themselves  but also
                to gain insight
                > into the evolving realities of the peoples from  which they come
                and whose
                > hands and lives they have touched.  Among  the questions I try to
                consider when
                > seeking the source, significance and  history of an object of which
                I enjoy
                > custodianship are those regarding  where and how an object can best
                be given an
                > opportunity  to manifest its diverse meanings and to generate
                positive
                > outcomes for all  who have come into contact with it as well as to
                generate awareness
                > in  myself and others of contemporary realities and cultural, trans-
                cultural 
                > and historical insights. I try to grapple with my own materialism, 
                > pre-conceptions and ignorance and to be worthy of the opportunities
                and 
                > responsibilities I have been granted through my relationships with
                these  objects.  Through
                > this process of consideration I am learning much about  other
                peoples'
                > realities (past, present and future) and my own (past,  present and
                future), and that
                > process helps me to locate myself within the  world and to
                contribute to the
                > communities of which I am a part in various  ways. 

                > That is not to say that I do not often (even continually) sit back
                and  savor
                > the pure aesthetic rapture that can be gained from a wordless 
                appreciation
                > inspired by a particular object well apart and far away from  the
                complex world
                > from which it arises and through which it has traveled  perchance
                to me...for
                > the fleeting present moment.

                > Lee





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              • Boubacar Doumbia
                Merci Veronique... Thank you Veronique... -An italian would speak for Italian,a French would speak for French Arts, But an African is ignored to speak about
                Message 7 of 11 , Oct 6, 2005
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                  Merci Veronique...
                  Thank you Veronique...
                   
                  -An italian would speak for Italian,a French would speak for French Arts,
                  But an African is ignored to speak about his own...


                  Master Doumbia Boubacar,4th.Degree Black Belt,World-Taekwondo-Federation.--Arts restoration and Trading...


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                • Veronique Martelliere
                  Bonjour Boubacar ! When you state that an African is ignored to speak about his own arts , are you refering to real art (art for art - contemporary art) or
                  Message 8 of 11 , Oct 7, 2005
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                    Bonjour Boubacar !
                     
                    When you state that "an African is ignored to speak about his own arts", are you refering to "real art" (art for art - contemporary art) or to traditional artifacts ?
                     
                    Well, as to traditional artifacts, I am pretty sure that there are no borders in the world of anthropologists and art lovers... who are looking forward listening and exchanging informations and ideas with everybody, incl sub-saharian Africans.
                     
                    There is a misunderstanding issue. Most of Africans do not understand why Westerners are fascinated by "old and broken" objects. Some of them even think that we are crazy.
                    It seems that for most Africans, traditions = regression. They want (they need !) to look at the future. They want their future as western present is - at least what they perceive of it on TV : the surface.
                     
                    Meanwhile, Westerners suddenly realize that they miss rites and traditions they got rid of, thinking they would live better without.
                    So now, what happens ? Westerners create new traditions, revive some old ones or study world traditions, they are collecting traditional objects on the everywhere-flourishing fleamarkets - and more and more people dream to have a garden to plant his own lettuces and carrots (and there is even a fashion for old species of vegetables - 100% bio, of course).
                     
                    Top of the top, some people, in France, are trying to re-discover the Gallic traditions which exist before Gaul was 100% colonized by Romans.
                     
                    It is of course a luxury of preoccupation, from the point of view of an Angolan or a Bengalese whose every minute wonder is : how feeding myself and family.
                     
                    So, Boubacar : speak out !
                    And have a nice Ramadan !
                     
                    Véro
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                    Boubacar Doumbia <fakolysora@...> wrote:
                    Merci Veronique...
                    Thank you Veronique...
                     
                    -An italian would speak for Italian,a French would speak for French Arts,
                    But an African is ignored to speak about his own...


                    Master Doumbia Boubacar,4th.Degree Black Belt,World-Taekwondo-Federation.--Arts restoration and Trading...


                    Yahoo! for Good
                    Click here to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.


                    Yahoo! for Good
                    Click here to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

                  • Mo Okdg
                    It is probably more complicated than saying Africans do not care or no longer understand their indigenous heritage because Africans are now involved in the
                    Message 9 of 11 , Oct 7, 2005
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                      It is probably more complicated than saying Africans do not care or no longer understand their indigenous heritage because Africans are now involved in the daily struggles of survival, or are caught up in the rat race of (post)modernity.
                       
                      In the west, the purvew of art remains in the hand of western art experts. Few westerners can tell the differences between Raphael and Michelangelo, or between Braque and Picasso. Even fewer still care about the differences. Most westerners are quite happy to go to a print shop to buy a tacky poster to decorate their appartments and homes. But there are experts in the west who know these differences, who write about them, and who curate these objects. They are usually westerners. I really do not know of a situation in which Renaissance art--or contemporary western art for that matter--is entrusted to a nonwesterner as a curator.
                       
                      Similarly in Africa, most people do not know or care about the differences between Gelede or Epa masks. But there are practitioners and experts, such as priests, devotees and performers, who know these things in details, who are born into the making, manipulation and curation of these objects. Partly what bothers Boubacar and seems to distract him from the Ramadan that Veronique would want him to enjoy, is the fact that such experts are not the ones who often speak about these objects. The African experts are regarded as illiterates, primitive, unsophisticated and, at best, primary sources for western researchers, who consider themselves the sole authorities on these objects. Right Boubacar?
                    • Ed JONES
                      Dear Veronique. Touche! I agree with your perceptions and I know also them to be true. I have found the essence of what you state to be my experiences in
                      Message 10 of 11 , Oct 7, 2005
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                        Dear Veronique.

                        Touche! I agree with your perceptions and I know also
                        them to be true. I have found the essence of what you
                        state to be my experiences in life with many cultures
                        of people; Turkish, Mexican, Chinese as well as
                        Eastern European heritages.

                        In all aspects, well said !!

                        Ed Jones



                        --- Veronique Martelliere <proximatribal@...>
                        wrote:

                        > Bonjour Boubacar !
                        >
                        > When you state that "an African is ignored to speak
                        > about his own arts", are you refering to "real art"
                        > (art for art - contemporary art) or to traditional
                        > artifacts ?
                        >
                        > Well, as to traditional artifacts, I am pretty sure
                        > that there are no borders in the world of
                        > anthropologists and art lovers... who are looking
                        > forward listening and exchanging informations and
                        > ideas with everybody, incl sub-saharian Africans.
                        >
                        > There is a misunderstanding issue. Most of Africans
                        > do not understand why Westerners are fascinated by
                        > "old and broken" objects. Some of them even think
                        > that we are crazy.
                        >
                        > It seems that for most Africans, traditions =
                        > regression. They want (they need !) to look at the
                        > future. They want their future as western present is
                        > - at least what they perceive of it on TV : the
                        > surface.
                        >
                        > Meanwhile, Westerners suddenly realize that they
                        > miss rites and traditions they got rid of, thinking
                        > they would live better without.
                        > So now, what happens ? Westerners create new
                        > traditions, revive some old ones or study world
                        > traditions, they are collecting traditional objects
                        > on the everywhere-flourishing fleamarkets - and more
                        > and more people dream to have a garden to plant his
                        > own lettuces and carrots (and there is even a
                        > fashion for old species of vegetables - 100% bio, of
                        > course).
                        >
                        > Top of the top, some people, in France, are trying
                        > to re-discover the Gallic traditions which exist
                        > before Gaul was 100% colonized by Romans.
                        >
                        > It is of course a luxury of preoccupation, from the
                        > point of view of an Angolan or a Bengalese whose
                        > every minute wonder is : how feeding myself and
                        > family.
                        >
                        > So, Boubacar : speak out !
                        > And have a nice Ramadan !
                        >
                        > Véro
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Boubacar Doumbia <fakolysora@...> wrote:
                        > Merci Veronique...
                        > Thank you Veronique...
                        >
                        > -An italian would speak for Italian,a French would
                        > speak for French Arts,
                        > But an African is ignored to speak about his own...
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Master Doumbia Boubacar,4th.Degree Black
                        > Belt,World-Taekwondo-Federation.--Arts restoration
                        > and Trading...
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > ---------------------------------
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                        > Click here to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief
                        > effort.
                        >
                        > SPONSORED LINKS
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                        >
                        >
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                        >
                        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email
                        > to:
                        > African_Arts-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        >
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                        > Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                        >
                        >
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                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > ---------------------------------
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                      • Veronique Martelliere
                        Hi Mo After reading your post, I feel the need to underlign what seems to me to be another misunderstanding. To me, it is difficult to agree with you when you
                        Message 11 of 11 , Oct 7, 2005
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                          Hi Mo
                           
                          After reading your post, I feel the need to underlign what seems to me to be another misunderstanding.
                           
                          To me, it is difficult to agree with you when you make a comparison between "the few Westerners who can't make the difference between a Braque and a Picasso" - and the Yoruba "who can't make a difference between a Gelede mask and an Epa one".
                           
                          When you refere to Braque and Picasso, you refere to Art - Art pour l'art - art for art. To my eyes, this has nothing to do with what we call "traditional art" & traditional artifacts.
                           
                          Since the time that artists are recognized and sign their works (i.e. from the Renaissance, in W-Europe), art is an individual expression -  one single person's "Weltanschauung" - it is a private move. Its aim is to show reality, as today-photographers (Renaissance portraits, for ex), or reporters (Rembrandt, Lautrec, for ex), to show beauty (Turner, Van Gogh). It can deliver a message  but can do very well without delivering any.
                           
                          MichelAngelo and Raphael were paid by the christian authorities to paint what I would call trivially (to make it short) religious "propaganda". I do not think that they painted with their soul but for fame and salary (and that does not question their talent).
                           
                          Traditional arts, from where-ever it is from, are not  only the expressions of a group (the group's beliefs and customs) but also mediums as well as respected symbols which identify a group (from the extern point of view) or cement it (from the intern point of view).
                          The builders of pyramids, temples, churches, cathedrals, the carvers of madonnas, Gelede, St Francis, Nkisi, Bouddhas, Epa masks, etc... worked with not only their soul but with their community's soul, stimulated by their beliefs.
                           
                          Experts. Only a vain title. I believe that passion and enthusiasm and an endless hunger for research are the basic conditions to become an expert worth the name, in whatever field. 
                          Real experts know the infinity of what remains for them to be explored and studied so that they are humble enough not to dare claiming they are "experts". Well, that is only my point of view.
                           
                          I also believe that reality is approchable by the conjunction of different point of views - internal and external : to try to know about Eskimo life and traditions, I would read the observations of an Eskimo sociologist (or sort of ~) and also the ones of an italian, indian, african (or so on) sociologist (or sort of ~) who worked on this subject.
                           
                          I am really surprised to read that "The African experts are regarded as illiterates, primitive, unsophisticated and, at best, primary sources for western researchers, who consider themselves the sole authorities on these objects". I do not know with which square heads you had to deal with, but I would like to know more about your experience and its context (University ?). You could maybe give me another subject of fight.
                           
                          Finally : "...the Ramadan that Veronique would want [Bubacar] to enjoy..". Well, Mo, I lived long enough in a Muslim country to know that Ramadan is a period of the year that Muslims enjoy : time of gathering and having a good time between dusk and dawn. Am I wrong ?
                           
                          Thank you, Mo, for reading my worst frenglish (and, maybe, worst points of views) down to here.
                          Be well,
                          Vero
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           


                          Mo Okdg <okdg@...> wrote:
                          It is probably more complicated than saying Africans do not care or no longer understand their indigenous heritage because Africans are now involved in the daily struggles of survival, or are caught up in the rat race of (post)modernity.
                           
                          In the west, the purvew of art remains in the hand of western art experts. Few westerners can tell the differences between Raphael and Michelangelo, or between Braque and Picasso. Even fewer still care about the differences. Most westerners are quite happy to go to a print shop to buy a tacky poster to decorate their appartments and homes. But there are experts in the west who know these differences, who write about them, and who curate these objects. They are usually westerners. I really do not know of a situation in which Renaissance art--or contemporary western art for that matter--is entrusted to a nonwesterner as a curator.
                           
                          Similarly in Africa, most people do not know or care about the differences between Gelede or Epa masks. But there are practitioners and experts, such as priests, devotees and performers, who know these things in details, who are born into the making, manipulation and curation of these objects. Partly what bothers Boubacar and seems to distract him from the Ramadan that Veronique would want him to enjoy, is the fact that such experts are not the ones who often speak about these objects. The African experts are regarded as illiterates, primitive, unsophisticated and, at best, primary sources for western researchers, who consider themselves the sole authorities on these objects. Right Boubacar?


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