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Re: seated figure?? and help!

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  • Armin
    Hello Ed, I don`t agree that nowadays there are no good carvers to find in Africa!!!! With this conviction, you must be very careful. You can easily get on
    Message 1 of 15 , May 2, 2013
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      Hello Ed,
      I don`t agree that nowadays there are no good carvers to find in Africa!!!! With this conviction, you must be very careful. You can easily get on very well done forgery... ;-)
      Cheers
      Armin

      --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, Ed Jones <bucit@...> wrote:
      >
      > Happens frequently, particularly when figures, masks and other things are carved in a variety of places from photographs from African art books.  
      >  
      > One would be "hard pressed" to find skilled carvers globally, especially in Africa nowadays. 
      >  
      > LOL.  These young carvers love photo depictions as much as the "cult calling" of African art enthusiast and collector seeking an exciting pictorial publication. 
      >  
      > Ed
      >
      >   
      >
      > ________________________________
      > From: Armin <toguna2002@...>
      > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 6:57 AM
      > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: seated figure?? and help!
      >
      >
      >  
      >
      > Hello Lee,
      > I don`t understand. Please can you explain me how a Baga influence can come into a Baule statue when the Baga live 2000 km away from the Baule?
      > Sincerely
      > Armin
      > --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, "Lee Rubinstein" <leerubinstein@> wrote:
      > >
      > > While the body form seems perhaps Baule-inspired, characteristics of the eyes, crest and facial markings seem to be derived from Baga -- especially Nimba (or D'mba) -- influences.
      > >
      > > Lee
      > >
      > > --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, GARYGLS2000@ wrote:
      > > >
      > > > The first figure appears to be Baule.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > In a message dated 4/14/2013 8:51:48 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
      > > > ironjpa@ writes:
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > 1) Can any one help me to place this figure.
      > > >
      > > > photos at:
      > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/680325432/pic/list
      > > >
      > > > 2) I posted this quite some time ago and got no help. I thoght I would ask
      > > > again and see if anyone can place it.
      > > >
      > > > photos at:
      > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/616524097/pic/list
      > > >
      > > > Thanks
      > > > Joe
      > > >
      > >
      >
      >
      >  
      >
    • Ed Jones
      Read it again Armin;   I did not state that there are no good carvers in Africa... I said one would be hard pressed to find skilled carvers globally,
      Message 2 of 15 , May 2, 2013
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        Read it again Armin;
         
        I did not state that there are no good carvers in Africa... I said one would be "hard pressed" to find skilled carvers globally, especially in Africa. 
         
        :)
         
        From: Armin <toguna2002@...>
        To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2013 3:41 AM
        Subject: [African_Arts] Re: seated figure?? and help!
         
        Hello Ed,
        I don`t agree that nowadays there are no good carvers to find in Africa!!!! With this conviction, you must be very careful. You can easily get on very well done forgery... ;-)
        Cheers
        Armin

        --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, Ed Jones <bucit@...> wrote:
        >
        > Happens frequently, particularly when figures, masks and other things are carved in a variety of places from photographs from African art books.  
        >  
        > One would be "hard pressed" to find skilled carvers globally, especially in Africa nowadays. 
        >  
        > LOL.  These young carvers love photo depictions as much as the "cult calling" of African art enthusiast and collector seeking an exciting pictorial publication. 
        >  
        > Ed
        >
        >   
        >
        > ________________________________
        > From: Armin <toguna2002@...>
        > To: mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 6:57 AM
        > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: seated figure?? and help!
        >
        >
        >  
        >
        > Hello Lee,
        > I don`t understand. Please can you explain me how a Baga influence can come into a Baule statue when the Baga live 2000 km away from the Baule?
        > Sincerely
        > Armin
        > --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, "Lee Rubinstein" <leerubinstein@> wrote:
        > >
        > > While the body form seems perhaps Baule-inspired, characteristics of the eyes, crest and facial markings seem to be derived from Baga -- especially Nimba (or D'mba) -- influences.
        > >
        > > Lee
        > >
        > > --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, GARYGLS2000@ wrote:
        > > >
        > > > The first figure appears to be Baule.
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > In a message dated 4/14/2013 8:51:48 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
        > > > ironjpa@ writes:
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > 1) Can any one help me to place this figure.
        > > >
        > > > photos at:
        > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/680325432/pic/list
        > > >
        > > > 2) I posted this quite some time ago and got no help. I thoght I would ask
        > > > again and see if anyone can place it.
        > > >
        > > > photos at:
        > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/616524097/pic/list
        > > >
        > > > Thanks
        > > > Joe
        > > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >  
        >

      • Armin
        Sorry Ed, the term hard pressed was unknown to me. Even Babel fish could not provide a meaningful translation in German. Viele Gr��e Armin
        Message 3 of 15 , May 2, 2013
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          Sorry Ed,
          the term "hard pressed" was unknown to me. Even Babel fish could not provide a meaningful translation in German.
          Viele Grüße
          Armin

          --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, Ed Jones <bucit@...> wrote:
          >
          > Read it again Armin;
          >  
          > I did not state that there are no good carvers in Africa... I said one would be "hard pressed" to find skilled carvers globally, especially in Africa. 
          >  
          > :)
          >  
          >
          > ________________________________
          > From: Armin <toguna2002@...>
          > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2013 3:41 AM
          > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: seated figure?? and help!
          >
          >
          >
          >  
          >
          > Hello Ed,
          > I don`t agree that nowadays there are no good carvers to find in Africa!!!! With this conviction, you must be very careful. You can easily get on very well done forgery... ;-)
          > Cheers
          > Armin
          >
          > --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, Ed Jones <bucit@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Happens frequently, particularly when figures, masks and other things are carved in a variety of places from photographs from African art books.  
          > >  
          > > One would be "hard pressed" to find skilled carvers globally, especially in Africa nowadays. 
          > >  
          > > LOL.  These young carvers love photo depictions as much as the "cult calling" of African art enthusiast and collector seeking an exciting pictorial publication. 
          > >  
          > > Ed
          > >
          > >   
          > >
          > > ________________________________
          > > From: Armin <toguna2002@>
          > > To: mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com
          > > Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 6:57 AM
          > > Subject: [African_Arts] Re: seated figure?? and help!
          > >
          > >
          > >  
          > >
          > > Hello Lee,
          > > I don`t understand. Please can you explain me how a Baga influence can come into a Baule statue when the Baga live 2000 km away from the Baule?
          > > Sincerely
          > > Armin
          > > --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, "Lee Rubinstein" <leerubinstein@> wrote:
          > > >
          > > > While the body form seems perhaps Baule-inspired, characteristics of the eyes, crest and facial markings seem to be derived from Baga -- especially Nimba (or D'mba) -- influences.
          > > >
          > > > Lee
          > > >
          > > > --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, GARYGLS2000@ wrote:
          > > > >
          > > > > The first figure appears to be Baule.
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > > In a message dated 4/14/2013 8:51:48 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
          > > > > ironjpa@ writes:
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > > 1) Can any one help me to place this figure.
          > > > >
          > > > > photos at:
          > > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/680325432/pic/list
          > > > >
          > > > > 2) I posted this quite some time ago and got no help. I thoght I would ask
          > > > > again and see if anyone can place it.
          > > > >
          > > > > photos at:
          > > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/616524097/pic/list
          > > > >
          > > > > Thanks
          > > > > Joe
          > > > >
          > > >
          > >
          > >
          > >  
          > >
          >
        • Lee Rubinstein
          Armin: The category tribal African art is not used to delimit the topics which this group discusses; the stated and actual purview of our discussions is
          Message 4 of 15 , May 2, 2013
          • 0 Attachment
            Armin:

            The category "tribal African art" is not used to delimit the topics which this group discusses; the stated and actual purview of our discussions is inclusive of both ritual and contemporary African art and the range of gradations that occur between these poles. The majority of work to which the bulk of contemporary collectors have access arises from a field somewhere between traditional ritual production and modern reproduction/re-interpretation. To identify and/or attribute likenesses to observable styles associated with particular artistic traditions is not to imply an object's ritual authenticity in relation to the historical religious and aesthetic traditions of a particular culture or cultures; rather, it is meant only to provide a subjective analysis of formal observations that can lead an interested individual to explore the object further in search of a greater sense of an object's relation to the influences which appear to have contributed to its creation. Please do not conflate attribution of style with appraisal of ritual authenticity. The latter, as often discussed in this group and elsewhere, is a far more complex process of study and analysis.

            A reproduction of the Mona Lisa is not the Mona Lisa, but one would surely be inclined to note any obvious similarity between the reproduction and the original which inspired it; in the same way, the shape of a stool or the appearance of particular facial markings can be linked to the forms which are associated in an aesthetic or formal analysis with specific cultural or regional traditions and styles of representation. When admixtures of elements can be observed in a figure, mask, etc., one is indeed encouraged to ask the question you raised regarding how a particular figure could contain elements associated with disparate cultural origins. To raise such a question prompts one to ask where, under what circumstances and for what purpose a figure in question might have been produced. In some instances, such a question may lead to important insights into unexpected links between seemingly disparate traditions; in others, it helps to identify incongruous aspects that might suggest the likely inauthenticity of that figure as an expression of a specific historic and cultural place and moment.

            The proliferation of Fang byeri-style figures on the market, for example, has never been constrained by the purported cessation of ritual production of such objects in their original context of production and usage. In many cases, this extended production serves commercial, non-ritual purposes of which -- as you suggest -- many collectors are unaware. One can also see, however, reproductions of Kota reliquary forms in contemporary regional architecture; in this latter instance, observable forms continue to arise in spite of their departure from the materials, scale and uses from which they have been taken. Obviously, though, one would not likely mistake such a concrete architectural image with its stylistic predecessor. Yet the forms remain meaningful... however different they may be from the context in which they arose.

            Through sharing my own observations and helping to provide a forum in which all participants are invited to share their perceptions as well, I seek to maintain an accessible locus in which interested individuals have an opportunity to share and query their findings as a means to develop greater understanding of the forms which interest and attract them. Only through the process of interaction both with objects and with other individuals of varying experience, insight and opinions may one develop a greater perspective into the vast and evolving (from past through present to future) field of African arts. You are invited -- as are all group members -- to share your observations and concerns as they pertain to the piece in question or other queried objects offered for consideration.

            Appreciation of an object is wholly subjective. Valuation and assessment are ultimately a consensus composed of the contributions of interested parties both in commercial and conversational settings. Personally, my primary interest in considering an object is not to assess its ritual authenticity or its market value. I am more interested in considering observable traits and linking them to the artistic and cultural traditions that I perceive as well as an appreciation of quality of workmanship. Others are frequently more concerned with market value and authenticity (which can often not be determined without analysis of provenance, materials, etc., and is often not suitable without direct access to the object or documentation of its provenance). Each participant is, however, welcome to comment and elucidate their concerns and observations with respect to his or her own priorities in considering an object presented to the group.

            I hope this helps to clarify the functions of the group and my own personal style of responding to inquiries within it. As always, I would be delighted if more participants would be more forthcoming in sharing their own insights and reactions to queries which are posted. As the significance of the objects we consider is rooted in their original socio-cultural contexts, so too is their continued and changing value a function of the way in which we all share our knowledge and insights amid this increasingly broad, complex socio-cultural global setting.

            Thanks, Lee

            --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Armin" <toguna2002@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hello Lee,
            >
            > so far, I thought this was a forum that is dealing with what is understood by the term "african tribal art". I often read in this forum and I even often wondered with which conviction very clear recognizable tourist pieces are attributet in a very convincing acting terminology as originals from an ethnic group. The owner is happy then and probably he thought that he is now in the possession of an incredibly valuable and expensive object…
            > I find it interesting to stimulate this discussion here in the Forum: What is actually meant by the term "African Tribal Art"?
            > Please can you imagine for example: I am a novice in african art and someone would offer me a very expensive but faked statue for sale. I have no idea about African art and try to get information via the Internet. I find this forum, post a photo and ask for help because I don't know if this statue is genuine or not, whether the statue was ever in indigenous use and if anyone wants to cheat me or not. And what happens then? Someone in the forum told me something about Baule statues with Baga influence…. Wow! I have never seen or heard something about Baule or Baga and do not know that these two peoples live thousands of miles away from each other and have at all no contacts to each other. I am impressed by the professional information of alleged experts and buy the statue! Now the Forum has helped who? Me??? Or perhaps the one who cheated me with the faked statue?
            >
            > Maybe the term "african tribal art" is different seen in United States. Here in Europe masks or statues which are made for the sale were called at best "decoration" or "souvenir". If this decoration is equipped with a artificial patina in order to simulate age and indigenous use, so it is called a "fake". Typically, if a museum or an anthropologist speaks (here in Europ) of a real object of material culture, so he thinks an object that was made for the indigenous use and not for the sale to tourists. And with this knowing it is senseless to search for an attibution for a statue that comes from the tourist market. If it is not possible in normal finding Baga influence in a Baule statue why is it then not what it is: A tourist piece or a fake!
            > If a collector in Europe determines that a mask which he bought is not genuine – what means: was not in indigenous use - then he gives it back. This would be even after years and even if the mask has a beautiful expression and as such could even be called artwork. The originality and the age (and in the meantime the provenance as a guarantor for age, originality and quality) makes it whether a mask is sold for $25 or $25000.
            > I don't think that anyone would bid the beautiful Mambila for a huge price at Sotheby`s (in two weeks) if this statue would have been carved only for sale to tourists. I think any good Gallery in Paris or Brussels would have to close if they would offer Baule statues with Baga influence…
            >
            >
            > Please Lee, don't get me wrong. I will not attack you. I collect African art for about 30 years. Due to my travels, I've spent altogether several years in Africa. I have seen there many real objects - as well as far more workshops, working in series for the tourist market
            > Here in Germany my profession is to make bases and stands for masks and statues. Every year I have several hundred objects on my workbench. I am always asked what I think of an objects. Real or false? Old or new? Was the price reasonable? Unfortunately, it is often the case that in the end the base is more valuable than the object he carries - and this not because my work is so expensive... ;-). Many beginners bring me their masks or statues for to make bases for. They all mean: look, like in the book... like in the collection of... It Does me very sorry when I see that once again someone has spent lots of money on a fake object because he was badly advised. Many of them lose the fun for collecting African tribal art. "Because you will anyway just crappy.... usually firewood is cheaper…."
            > My point of view: If I'm not sure at 100% I say nothing about the objects of my clients. Neither positive nor negative! This saves me much trouble.
            >
            >
            > Do we have different different views?
            > Honestly! I would like to know what do you mean is "african tribal art"?
            > Sincerely
            > Armin
            >
            >
            > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Lee Rubinstein" <leerubinstein@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Armin:
            > >
            > > I didn't state that a Baga influence came into a Baule statue; rather, I am noting the presence of aspects of style associated with both Baule and Baga figures and imagine that a carver anywhere (Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, or even Germany, e.g.) could draw upon the influences to create a synthesis of elements to create something which is neither Baule or Baga but instead a creative synthesis that resides within neither culture organically. Instead, the figure is an expression of an artist's vision and is likely a modern aesthetic integration rooted in commercial culture as opposed to a ritual object -- in a sense, contemporary and "pan-African"...
            > >
            > > Lee
            > >
            > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Armin" <toguna2002@> wrote:
            > > >
            > > > Hello Lee,
            > > > I don`t understand. Please can you explain me how a Baga influence can come into a Baule statue when the Baga live 2000 km away from the Baule?
            > > > Sincerely
            > > > Armin
            > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Lee Rubinstein" <leerubinstein@> wrote:
            > > > >
            > > > > While the body form seems perhaps Baule-inspired, characteristics of the eyes, crest and facial markings seem to be derived from Baga -- especially Nimba (or D'mba) -- influences.
            > > > >
            > > > > Lee
            > > > >
            > > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, GARYGLS2000@ wrote:
            > > > > >
            > > > > > The first figure appears to be Baule.
            > > > > >
            > > > > >
            > > > > > In a message dated 4/14/2013 8:51:48 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
            > > > > > ironjpa@ writes:
            > > > > >
            > > > > >
            > > > > >
            > > > > >
            > > > > > 1) Can any one help me to place this figure.
            > > > > >
            > > > > > photos at:
            > > > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/680325432/pic/list
            > > > > >
            > > > > > 2) I posted this quite some time ago and got no help. I thoght I would ask
            > > > > > again and see if anyone can place it.
            > > > > >
            > > > > > photos at:
            > > > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/616524097/pic/list
            > > > > >
            > > > > > Thanks
            > > > > > Joe
            > > > > >
            > > > >
            > > >
            > >
            >
          • Bob Ibold
            Lee, Thanks for your excellent answer to Armin s questions about authenticity. Now let s focus on the subject of antiquing. This practice is widespread and is
            Message 5 of 15 , May 3, 2013
            • 0 Attachment
              Lee,

              Thanks for your excellent answer to Armin's questions about authenticity.

              Now let's focus on the subject of antiquing. This practice is widespread and is not limited to expensive forgeries. In fact, Africans know the market demands old-looking pieces regardless of quality. 

              I've even heard of briefly danced masks being antiqued to increase their sales appeal. Today the masks used in culture are finished in commercial paint, but they'll get a fake patina or worse before they ever reach the market.

              Could I encourage the group to take a position against this practice?

              Bob


              At 05:24 PM 5/2/2013, you wrote:
               



              Armin:

              The category "tribal African art" is not used to delimit the topics which this group discusses; the stated and actual purview of our discussions is inclusive of both ritual and contemporary African art and the range of gradations that occur between these poles. The majority of work to which the bulk of contemporary collectors have access arises from a field somewhere between traditional ritual production and modern reproduction/re-interpretation. To identify and/or attribute likenesses to observable styles associated with particular artistic traditions is not to imply an object's ritual authenticity in relation to the historical religious and aesthetic traditions of a particular culture or cultures; rather, it is meant only to provide a subjective analysis of formal observations that can lead an interested individual to explore the object further in search of a greater sense of an object's relation to the influences which appear to have contributed to its creation. Please do not conflate attribution of style with appraisal of ritual authenticity. The latter, as often discussed in this group and elsewhere, is a far more complex process of study and analysis.

              A reproduction of the Mona Lisa is not the Mona Lisa, but one would surely be inclined to note any obvious similarity between the reproduction and the original which inspired it; in the same way, the shape of a stool or the appearance of particular facial markings can be linked to the forms which are associated in an aesthetic or formal analysis with specific cultural or regional traditions and styles of representation. When admixtures of elements can be observed in a figure, mask, etc., one is indeed encouraged to ask the question you raised regarding how a particular figure could contain elements associated with disparate cultural origins. To raise such a question prompts one to ask where, under what circumstances and for what purpose a figure in question might have been produced. In some instances, such a question may lead to important insights into unexpected links between seemingly disparate traditions; in others, it helps to identify incongruous aspects that might suggest the likely inauthenticity of that figure as an expression of a specific historic and cultural place and moment.

              The proliferation of Fang byeri-style figures on the market, for example, has never been constrained by the purported cessation of ritual production of such objects in their original context of production and usage. In many cases, this extended production serves commercial, non-ritual purposes of which -- as you suggest -- many collectors are unaware. One can also see, however, reproductions of Kota reliquary forms in contemporary regional architecture; in this latter instance, observable forms continue to arise in spite of their departure from the materials, scale and uses from which they have been taken. Obviously, though, one would not likely mistake such a concrete architectural image with its stylistic predecessor. Yet the forms remain meaningful... however different they may be from the context in which they arose.

              Through sharing my own observations and helping to provide a forum in which all participants are invited to share their perceptions as well, I seek to maintain an accessible locus in which interested individuals have an opportunity to share and query their findings as a means to develop greater understanding of the forms which interest and attract them. Only through the process of interaction both with objects and with other individuals of varying experience, insight and opinions may one develop a greater perspective into the vast and evolving (from past through present to future) field of African arts. You are invited -- as are all group members -- to share your observations and concerns as they pertain to the piece in question or other queried objects offered for consideration.

              Appreciation of an object is wholly subjective. Valuation and assessment are ultimately a consensus composed of the contributions of interested parties both in commercial and conversational settings. Personally, my primary interest in considering an object is not to assess its ritual authenticity or its market value. I am more interested in considering observable traits and linking them to the artistic and cultural traditions that I perceive as well as an appreciation of quality of workmanship. Others are frequently more concerned with market value and authenticity (which can often not be determined without analysis of provenance, materials, etc., and is often not suitable without direct access to the object or documentation of its provenance). Each participant is, however, welcome to comment and elucidate their concerns and observations with respect to his or her own priorities in considering an object presented to the group.

              I hope this helps to clarify the functions of the group and my own personal style of responding to inquiries within it. As always, I would be delighted if more participants would be more forthcoming in sharing their own insights and reactions to queries which are posted. As the significance of the objects we consider is rooted in their original socio-cultural contexts, so too is their continued and changing value a function of the way in which we all share our knowledge and insights amid this increasingly broad, complex socio-cultural global setting.

              Thanks, Lee

              --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Armin" <toguna2002@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hello Lee,
              >
              > so far, I thought this was a forum that is dealing with what is understood by the term "african tribal art". I often read in this forum and I even often wondered with which conviction very clear recognizable tourist pieces are attributet in a very convincing acting terminology as originals from an ethnic group. The owner is happy then and probably he thought that he is now in the possession of an incredibly valuable and expensive object…
              > I find it interesting to stimulate this discussion here in the Forum: What is actually meant by the term "African Tribal Art"?
              > Please can you imagine for example: I am a novice in african art and someone would offer me a very expensive but faked statue for sale. I have no idea about African art and try to get information via the Internet. I find this forum, post a photo and ask for help because I don't know if this statue is genuine or not, whether the statue was ever in indigenous use and if anyone wants to cheat me or not. And what happens then? Someone in the forum told me something about Baule statues with Baga influence…. Wow! I have never seen or heard something about Baule or Baga and do not know that these two peoples live thousands of miles away from each other and have at all no contacts to each other. I am impressed by the professional information of alleged experts and buy the statue! Now the Forum has helped who? Me??? Or perhaps the one who cheated me with the faked statue?
              >
              > Maybe the term "african tribal art" is different seen in United States. Here in Europe masks or statues which are made for the sale were called at best "decoration" or "souvenir". If this decoration is equipped with a artificial patina in order to simulate age and indigenous use, so it is called a "fake". Typically, if a museum or an anthropologist speaks (here in Europ) of a real object of material culture, so he thinks an object that was made for the indigenous use and not for the sale to tourists. And with this knowing it is senseless to search for an attibution for a statue that comes from the tourist market. If it is not possible in normal finding Baga influence in a Baule statue why is it then not what it is: A tourist piece or a fake!
              > If a collector in Europe determines that a mask which he bought is not genuine – what means: was not in indigenous use - then he gives it back. This would be even after years and even if the mask has a beautiful expression and as such could even be called artwork. The originality and the age (and in the meantime the provenance as a guarantor for age, originality and quality) makes it whether a mask is sold for $25 or $25000.
              > I don't think that anyone would bid the beautiful Mambila for a huge price at Sotheby`s (in two weeks) if this statue would have been carved only for sale to tourists. I think any good Gallery in Paris or Brussels would have to close if they would offer Baule statues with Baga influence…
              >
              >
              > Please Lee, don't get me wrong. I will not attack you. I collect African art for about 30 years. Due to my travels, I've spent altogether several years in Africa. I have seen there many real objects - as well as far more workshops, working in series for the tourist market
              > Here in Germany my profession is to make bases and stands for masks and statues. Every year I have several hundred objects on my workbench. I am always asked what I think of an objects. Real or false? Old or new? Was the price reasonable? Unfortunately, it is often the case that in the end the base is more valuable than the object he carries - and this not because my work is so expensive... ;-). Many beginners bring me their masks or statues for to make bases for. They all mean: look, like in the book... like in the collection of... It Does me very sorry when I see that once again someone has spent lots of money on a fake object because he was badly advised. Many of them lose the fun for collecting African tribal art. "Because you will anyway just crappy.... usually firewood is cheaper…."
              > My point of view: If I'm not sure at 100% I say nothing about the objects of my clients. Neither positive nor negative! This saves me much trouble.
              >
              >
              > Do we have different different views?
              > Honestly! I would like to know what do you mean is "african tribal art"?
              > Sincerely
              > Armin
              >
              >
              > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Lee Rubinstein" <leerubinstein@> wrote:
              > >
              > > Armin:
              > >
              > > I didn't state that a Baga influence came into a Baule statue; rather, I am noting the presence of aspects of style associated with both Baule and Baga figures and imagine that a carver anywhere (Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, or even Germany, e.g.) could draw upon the influences to create a synthesis of elements to create something which is neither Baule or Baga but instead a creative synthesis that resides within neither culture organically. Instead, the figure is an expression of an artist's vision and is likely a modern aesthetic integration rooted in commercial culture as opposed to a ritual object -- in a sense, contemporary and "pan-African"...
              > >
              > > Lee
              > >
              > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Armin" <toguna2002@> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > Hello Lee,
              > > > I don`t understand. Please can you explain me how a Baga influence can come into a Baule statue when the Baga live 2000 km away from the Baule?
              > > > Sincerely
              > > > Armin
              > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Lee Rubinstein" <leerubinstein@> wrote:
              > > > >
              > > > > While the body form seems perhaps Baule-inspired, characteristics of the eyes, crest and facial markings seem to be derived from Baga -- especially Nimba (or D'mba) -- influences.
              > > > >
              > > > > Lee
              > > > >
              > > > > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, GARYGLS2000@ wrote:
              > > > > >
              > > > > > The first figure appears to be Baule.
              > > > > >
              > > > > >
              > > > > > In a message dated 4/14/2013 8:51:48 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
              > > > > > ironjpa@ writes:
              > > > > >
              > > > > >
              > > > > >
              > > > > >
              > > > > > 1) Can any one help me to place this figure.
              > > > > >
              > > > > > photos at:
              > > > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/680325432/pic/list
              > > > > >
              > > > > > 2) I posted this quite some time ago and got no help. I thoght I would ask
              > > > > > again and see if anyone can place it.
              > > > > >
              > > > > > photos at:
              > > > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/616524097/pic/list
              > > > > >
              > > > > > Thanks
              > > > > > Joe
              > > > > >
              > > > >
              > > >
              > >
              >

            • Ed Jones
              Not withstanding the insatiable Western markets, SKILLED traditional African carvers were well known and revered (much like Leroy Neiman, Basquiat, or Frank
              Message 6 of 15 , May 3, 2013
              • 0 Attachment
                Not withstanding the insatiable Western markets, SKILLED traditional African carvers were well known and revered (much like Leroy Neiman, Basquiat, or Frank Lloyd Wright of our times).  Their distinctive "signature / soul" was crafted in every piece in such a way that anyone viewing their works could identify the carver by name.  As most esteemed carvers began dying off 40-50 years ago, a terrible VOID and evolution / transition socially, environmentally and globally continues to occur.  Africa is certainly evolving, and will never be as it was.  Where does that leave artistic skill?  It exists, but not in copying and forging "Rembrandt" from yesterday.  And that is to the shame and discredit of ignorant Western types... Not "black" Africans.  This behavior is well documented that I know of even in the mid 1800s
                 
                If one is fortunate enough to possess a very good carved work (particularly, with age), count yourself privileged.
                 
                Funny how western dogma has [hypocritically] demanded "old", used and worn objects, and at the same time, decry the terms "fake"... Never taken the African seriously to know or acknowledge their purposed systems and value. 
                 Now antiquing.  "Antiquing" implies something belonging to, made in, of an earlier period (typically classified at 100 year or older).  An object having special value because of its age, especially esteemed for its artistry, beauty, or period of origin. 
                 
                Why encourage anyone to take a stand against the very thing they lust for?  In essence, young, inexperienced  African carvers with poor skills share much in common with the "uniformed" and enthusiasts... Lust, improper or [mis]education and "subjectivity" and ignorance that reigns supreme.  The essential ingredients to make the cons and clever types a nice profit.  
                 
                LOL and smite.  Who can tell dare the "collector" much of anything?  Make no doubt about it, this is not isolated to only to those on the continent of Africa,    
                 
                Ed
                 
                 
                From: Bob Ibold <bob.ibold@...>
                To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Friday, May 3, 2013 10:28 AM
                Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: seated figure?? and help!
                 
                Lee,

                Thanks for your excellent answer to Armin's questions about authenticity.

                Now let's focus on the subject of antiquing. This practice is widespread and is not limited to expensive forgeries. In fact, Africans know the market demands old-looking pieces regardless of quality. 

                I've even heard of briefly danced masks being antiqued to increase their sales appeal. Today the masks used in culture are finished in commercial paint, but they'll get a fake patina or worse before they ever reach the market.

                Could I encourage the group to take a position against this practice?

                Bob


                At 05:24 PM 5/2/2013, you wrote:
                 



                Armin:

                The category "tribal African art" is not used to delimit the topics which this group discusses; the stated and actual purview of our discussions is inclusive of both ritual and contemporary African art and the range of gradations that occur between these poles. The majority of work to which the bulk of contemporary collectors have access arises from a field somewhere between traditional ritual production and modern reproduction/re-interpretation. To identify and/or attribute likenesses to observable styles associated with particular artistic traditions is not to imply an object's ritual authenticity in relation to the historical religious and aesthetic traditions of a particular culture or cultures; rather, it is meant only to provide a subjective analysis of formal observations that can lead an interested individual to explore the object further in search of a greater sense of an object's relation to the influences which appear to have contributed to its creation. Please do not conflate attribution of style with appraisal of ritual authenticity. The latter, as often discussed in this group and elsewhere, is a far more complex process of study and analysis.

                A reproduction of the Mona Lisa is not the Mona Lisa, but one would surely be inclined to note any obvious similarity between the reproduction and the original which inspired it; in the same way, the shape of a stool or the appearance of particular facial markings can be linked to the forms which are associated in an aesthetic or formal analysis with specific cultural or regional traditions and styles of representation. When admixtures of elements can be observed in a figure, mask, etc., one is indeed encouraged to ask the question you raised regarding how a particular figure could contain elements associated with disparate cultural origins. To raise such a question prompts one to ask where, under what circumstances and for what purpose a figure in question might have been produced. In some instances, such a question may lead to important insights into unexpected links between seemingly disparate traditions; in others, it helps to identify incongruous aspects that might suggest the likely inauthenticity of that figure as an expression of a specific historic and cultural place and moment.

                The proliferation of Fang byeri-style figures on the market, for example, has never been constrained by the purported cessation of ritual production of such objects in their original context of production and usage. In many cases, this extended production serves commercial, non-ritual purposes of which -- as you suggest -- many collectors are unaware. One can also see, however, reproductions of Kota reliquary forms in contemporary regional architecture; in this latter instance, observable forms continue to arise in spite of their departure from the materials, scale and uses from which they have been taken. Obviously, though, one would not likely mistake such a concrete architectural image with its stylistic predecessor. Yet the forms remain meaningful... however different they may be from the context in which they arose.

                Through sharing my own observations and helping to provide a forum in which all participants are invited to share their perceptions as well, I seek to maintain an accessible locus in which interested individuals have an opportunity to share and query their findings as a means to develop greater understanding of the forms which interest and attract them. Only through the process of interaction both with objects and with other individuals of varying experience, insight and opinions may one develop a greater perspective into the vast and evolving (from past through present to future) field of African arts. You are invited -- as are all group members -- to share your observations and concerns as they pertain to the piece in question or other queried objects offered for consideration.

                Appreciation of an object is wholly subjective. Valuation and assessment are ultimately a consensus composed of the contributions of interested parties both in commercial and conversational settings. Personally, my primary interest in considering an object is not to assess its ritual authenticity or its market value. I am more interested in considering observable traits and linking them to the artistic and cultural traditions that I perceive as well as an appreciation of quality of workmanship. Others are frequently more concerned with market value and authenticity (which can often not be determined without analysis of provenance, materials, etc., and is often not suitable without direct access to the object or documentation of its provenance). Each participant is, however, welcome to comment and elucidate their concerns and observations with respect to his or her own priorities in considering an object presented to the group.

                I hope this helps to clarify the functions of the group and my own personal style of responding to inquiries within it. As always, I would be delighted if more participants would be more forthcoming in sharing their own insights and reactions to queries which are posted. As the significance of the objects we consider is rooted in their original socio-cultural contexts, so too is their continued and changing value a function of the way in which we all share our knowledge and insights amid this increasingly broad, complex socio-cultural global setting.

                Thanks, Lee

                --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, "Armin" <toguna2002@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hello Lee,
                >
                > so far, I thought this was a forum that is dealing with what is understood by the term "african tribal art". I often read in this forum and I even often wondered with which conviction very clear recognizable tourist pieces are attributet in a very convincing acting terminology as originals from an ethnic group. The owner is happy then and probably he thought that he is now in the possession of an incredibly valuable and expensive object…
                > I find it interesting to stimulate this discussion here in the Forum: What is actually meant by the term "African Tribal Art"?
                > Please can you imagine for example: I am a novice in african art and someone would offer me a very expensive but faked statue for sale. I have no idea about African art and try to get information via the Internet. I find this forum, post a photo and ask for help because I don't know if this statue is genuine or not, whether the statue was ever in indigenous use and if anyone wants to cheat me or not. And what happens then? Someone in the forum told me something about Baule statues with Baga influence…. Wow! I have never seen or heard something about Baule or Baga and do not know that these two peoples live thousands of miles away from each other and have at all no contacts to each other. I am impressed by the professional information of alleged experts and buy the statue! Now the Forum has helped who? Me??? Or perhaps the one who cheated me with the faked statue?
                >
                > Maybe the term "african tribal art" is different seen in United States. Here in Europe masks or statues which are made for the sale were called at best "decoration" or "souvenir". If this decoration is equipped with a artificial patina in order to simulate age and indigenous use, so it is called a "fake". Typically, if a museum or an anthropologist speaks (here in Europ) of a real object of material culture, so he thinks an object that was made for the indigenous use and not for the sale to tourists. And with this knowing it is senseless to search for an attibution for a statue that comes from the tourist market. If it is not possible in normal finding Baga influence in a Baule statue why is it then not what it is: A tourist piece or a fake!
                > If a collector in Europe determines that a mask which he bought is not genuine – what means: was not in indigenous use - then he gives it back. This would be even after years and even if the mask has a beautiful expression and as such could even be called artwork. The originality and the age (and in the meantime the provenance as a guarantor for age, originality and quality) makes it whether a mask is sold for $25 or $25000.
                > I don't think that anyone would bid the beautiful Mambila for a huge price at Sotheby`s (in two weeks) if this statue would have been carved only for sale to tourists. I think any good Gallery in Paris or Brussels would have to close if they would offer Baule statues with Baga influence…
                >
                >
                > Please Lee, don't get me wrong. I will not attack you. I collect African art for about 30 years. Due to my travels, I've spent altogether several years in Africa. I have seen there many real objects - as well as far more workshops, working in series for the tourist market
                > Here in Germany my profession is to make bases and stands for masks and statues. Every year I have several hundred objects on my workbench. I am always asked what I think of an objects. Real or false? Old or new? Was the price reasonable? Unfortunately, it is often the case that in the end the base is more valuable than the object he carries - and this not because my work is so expensive... ;-). Many beginners bring me their masks or statues for to make bases for. They all mean: look, like in the book... like in the collection of... It Does me very sorry when I see that once again someone has spent lots of money on a fake object because he was badly advised. Many of them lose the fun for collecting African tribal art. "Because you will anyway just crappy.... usually firewood is cheaper…."
                > My point of view: If I'm not sure at 100% I say nothing about the objects of my clients. Neither positive nor negative! This saves me much trouble.
                >
                >
                > Do we have different different views?
                > Honestly! I would like to know what do you mean is "african tribal art"?
                > Sincerely
                > Armin
                >
                >
                > --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, "Lee Rubinstein" <leerubinstein@> wrote:
                > >
                > > Armin:
                > >
                > > I didn't state that a Baga influence came into a Baule statue; rather, I am noting the presence of aspects of style associated with both Baule and Baga figures and imagine that a carver anywhere (Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, or even Germany, e.g.) could draw upon the influences to create a synthesis of elements to create something which is neither Baule or Baga but instead a creative synthesis that resides within neither culture organically. Instead, the figure is an expression of an artist's vision and is likely a modern aesthetic integration rooted in commercial culture as opposed to a ritual object -- in a sense, contemporary and "pan-African"...
                > >
                > > Lee
                > >
                > > --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, "Armin" <toguna2002@> wrote:
                > > >
                > > > Hello Lee,
                > > > I don`t understand. Please can you explain me how a Baga influence can come into a Baule statue when the Baga live 2000 km away from the Baule?
                > > > Sincerely
                > > > Armin
                > > > --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, "Lee Rubinstein" <leerubinstein@> wrote:
                > > > >
                > > > > While the body form seems perhaps Baule-inspired, characteristics of the eyes, crest and facial markings seem to be derived from Baga -- especially Nimba (or D'mba) -- influences.
                > > > >
                > > > > Lee
                > > > >
                > > > > --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, GARYGLS2000@ wrote:
                > > > > >
                > > > > > The first figure appears to be Baule.
                > > > > >
                > > > > >
                > > > > > In a message dated 4/14/2013 8:51:48 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
                > > > > > ironjpa@ writes:
                > > > > >
                > > > > >
                > > > > >
                > > > > >
                > > > > > 1) Can any one help me to place this figure.
                > > > > >
                > > > > > photos at:
                > > > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/680325432/pic/list
                > > > > >
                > > > > > 2) I posted this quite some time ago and got no help. I thoght I would ask
                > > > > > again and see if anyone can place it.
                > > > > >
                > > > > > photos at:
                > > > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/616524097/pic/list
                > > > > >
                > > > > > Thanks
                > > > > > Joe
                > > > > >
                > > > >
                > > >
                > >
                >

                 
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