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Re: [African_Arts] Re: About a Lobi...

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  • LRubinstein@post.harvard.edu
    Jan: I m on the fence with regard to this particular object. If somebody were to give it to me, I would definitely be happy to receive it. One element that
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 27, 2006
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      I'm on the fence with regard to this particular object.  If somebody were to give it to me, I would definitely be happy to receive it.  One element that I like very much is the sharp delineation of the pectoral region that is unique to Lobi figures and one of those details that fascinate me about the stylistic details that characterize each culture-specific representation of the human form.  It's quite interesting how the over-all form appears sharply defined from the front while other views show elements with a seemingly unfinished quality.  The torso and belly are quite smooth while the arms and the pronounced pectorals are a bit rough.  It is this uneven refinement that makes it difficult to get a bead on Lobi figures. 
      Another interesting element of this figure is the way in which the legs resolve into a circular base rather than being defined as feet.  I haven't had a chance yet to look into the significance of that element, although Rand's quotes and links offer a plethora of source material to wade through in seeking a better sense of so many elements regarding Lobi figures.  I am including below some images of a figure with that base characteristic that I haven't yet loaded on to web-site yet, as I have had difficulty capturing strong images of this particular figure.  It is 30.5" and weighs just over 25 lbs, so the wood is extremely dense and is the tallest and heaviest Lobi piece I have ever come directly.  (It's also slightly lop-sided, more from the back than the front, if that makes sense.)  The linked articles that Rand provided may also indicate if and which woods are specified in the creation of bateba or suggest other criteria to consider.  The articles and other links linked from them will provide a lot of interesting insights and perhaps insight on that detail to consider in making your decision.  The indigenous impressions, I find, are among the most intriguing and illuminating information that I think can be brought to an object.  Such insights should provide a larger part of the basis for identifying and understanding objects, whenever possible.
      To continue...the cut marks on the figure you are considering also appear consistent with those seen on other documented Lobi figures, so that is certainly a piece of data for the "Pro" column. The more I look, the more I am intrigued by the piece.  Each angle and side offers a different impression, which is something I like about having such works around me at home so that I can constantly move and relight and consider from different angles. 
      I think it is the pricing that would hold me back, so if investment and resale are considerations, I would definitely seek additional insights from those who have previously handled the objects to gain a sense of the considerations that prompted them to de-accession. The work may indeed (likely) be authentic but may not be an example sufficiently distinguished to appreciate commercially.  Then again...
      Since you mentioned that you are not ordinarily drawn to traditions form this region, I am curious to hear any detail about why you are drawn to this particular figure.  The very fact that a work outside of the traditions that generally draw you may indicate that this piece is calling out to you!  On the other hand, I would recommend looking around to see other objects of this class and compare the forms and the prices to see whether this particular selection fulfills your desires and satisfies your economic parameters.
      Anyway, these are just some thoughts and impressions I am able to bring to the piece at the moment.  I hope I will soon have a chance to read more of the information available and would then be eager to have some further discussion among group members regarding this -- and other -- Lobi figures.
      Front, Full Figure.
      Side Angle, Full Figure.
      Side Angle, Lower and Mid-section.
      Upper Side, Angle
      Upper Side, Detail
      Base and Legs, Detail
      Front mid-section detail.
      Front, Head.
      Side -- head, Neck and Upper Shoulders.
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