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Re: [African_Arts] Re: Help To Identify Source of African Art - Nigeria/Youruba, possibly Gelede mask

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  • Ed Jones
    Terraine:   Maybe, there is something common between the two masks.The link to from Masks Of The World bears similar resemblance.  Unfortunately, I don t
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 18, 2013
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      Terraine:
       
      Maybe, there is something common between the two masks.The link to from Masks Of The World bears similar resemblance.  Unfortunately, I don't have any knowledge or purpose, intent or possible era of mask invention.  I am weak on in depth and specific attributes of the Yoruba peoples.   Aside from the Igbo and Yoruba sharing common lineage and linguistic heritage with the Igbo, I am studying the Ibgo / Igala and Idoma masquerades (have been for some time) and find their creative invention fascinating, but haven't invested any time making comparisons between the groups
       
      Previously, I mentioned a book titled "A HISTORY OF Theatre in Africa".  I am sure it would act as a catalyst in assisting with interpreting and understanding certain African masquerades.  Unfortunately, new and inventive characters are added by tribal groups through-out the continent, and there is no running revision cycle to maintain currency.  additionally, the book is VERY HEAVY with text (no photos) and can be rather complex and overwhelming.
       
      One of my favorite publications regarding African masquerades is a book by Z.S Strother titled INVENTING MASKS;  Agency And History In The Art Of The Central Pende. This is a really a brilliant publication that can illuminate a reader's understanding of masquerades and help identify characters and intent (as well as community involvement).   
      I found it to be quite humorous and well as informative and insightful, and would recommend this publication if one is a big fan of Pende or not.  After-all, the Pende came from the Chokwe peoples.. splitting and escaping into the DRC (former Zaire) to avert slavery.  The Pende's sense of humor can literally have you in stitches.
       
      In short, both books are strongly recommended and worth the time and money. 
       
      Anyway, regarding your mask; since you stated the wood is heavy (dense), I seriously doubt that the holes were burned, but believe they were drilled my some mechanical means.  Dull drill bits, especially if they have been constantly used, and are not carbide-tipped will cause a "burning look and odor".  The technique of burning soft wood mask holes has been around for centuries.  It involves heating a (sharp) rod and literally pressing it into the wood.   It does not take much effort to burn through.  Another effective way was using a long, sharp knife and "whittle" or carefully twist through the wood and make a hole.   Either one of these methods are still practiced today, but as you know, does not validate or merit authenticity in itself.  
       
      I think as much as we can learn and understand concerning specific masquerades will embolden enthusiasts, and change one's approach and enhance ones over-all appreciations. 
       
      Bob:  I as you know, I have perused your website a few times, during our personal communications.  I think you have  had some good examples.  
       
      Ed
       
       
      From: Terraine <terraineechols@...>
      To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 4:39 PM
      Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Help To Identify Source of African Art - Nigeria/Youruba, possibly Gelede mask
       
      Hello Ed,

      Thanks for taking the time to help identify my mask. That is an interesting observation in regards to masquerade characters. I will definitely explore that subject in further detail. It seems like a very interesting subject! As far as the Yoruba peoples, the only mask I was able to locate that was similar is listed at this link below;

      http://www.masksoftheworld.com/Africa/African%20Yoruba%20Mask.htm

      Yes, it is difficult for me to tell if it has been repainted or not. However, the mask does have coloring but not sure if its paint or some other substance. The holes do appear to be burned and not drilled. The mask is very heavy for this size. The carving does seem to be good, and original. I appreciate your time and the information provided.

      Regards

      Terraine

      --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, Ed Jones <bucit@...> wrote:
      >
      > I think you are correct about the mask being affiliated with the Yoruba peoples, as the eyes and scarifications so vividly depict.   Although I have very little knowledge about Yoruba masquerades (Gelede / Egungun / Ibeji / Edo, etc.), but I like your mask.  It appears to be a good carving. 
      >  
      > Has the mask been repainted?  Do the mask holes appear burned or drilled?   It  may not be easy to tell since the inside of the mask has been painted black.  Is the mask softwood and very light-weight?  Khaya species and Nigerian satinwood, but there are also hardwood khaya. 
      >  
      > Ed  
      >
      >  
      >
      > ________________________________
      > From: Terraine <terraineechols@...>
      > To: mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 8:51 AM
      > Subject: [African_Arts] Help To Identify Source of African Art - Nigeria/Youruba, possibly Gelede mask
      >
      >
      >  
      >
      > Hello everyone,
      >
      > Does anyone have an idea on this mask that I have submitted? I think it is possibly from Nigeria/Youruba. Possibly a Gelede mask? Can anyone assist in identification?
      >
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/album/2051236734/pic/list
      >

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