Buy African Art & Antiques

If you want to buy African Art and Antiques, I recommend you visit https://buyafricanantiques.com/ 

The site is owned by David Norden an antique dealer with more than 30 years of experience. On his site you can participate in African art auctions, or buy straight from his African Art Shop.

How to determine African Art Authenticity and age.

 

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A New Group to trade African Art..

Tribal Art Trade!
The NEW Facebook Group Show

Curated by

//  NEW  //

Have you heard about the NEW ongoing

Tribal Art Show Group on Facebook?

Tribal Art Trade

https://www.facebook.com/groups/tribalarttrade/

It’s very simple, with the world now being what it is, we all need a place where collectors can confidently buy online. 

Fact is 1,200 new members already joined !

With that in mind, this group’s material is constantly vetted by the community. 

Objects are 100% guaranteed by their sellers for all time 

In this group sellers promise

Authenticity, Transparency and Collegiality

and
To help one another 
– To sell only authentic objects  
– To take the community grow, in complete

transparency and safety
 
Please read the rules.

1.      AUTHENTIC ART ONLY Everyone knows this is a gray zone. Sellers/Traders must guarantee that their object is authentic. For life. Break this rule and be banned for life. We want a community of trustworthy souls.

2.      OBJECTS MUST BE PRICED. Please specify currency. Default currency is USD.

3.      ASK FOR REFERENCES. Don’t hesitate to put the community to work upholding a seller/buyer/trader

4.      THIS GROUP IS FOR SALES/TRADES ONLY. Kindly subscribe to other group to establish the authenticity of your object. Once here, it must be guaranteed or you will be banned.

I Requested Mark to do a special price for the readers of my newsletter. Instead of paying 150$ a YEAR you can become a CHARTER MEMBER for the recurring price of 100$ a year for your lifetime if you wish or until you cancel the subscription.  But you can first have a look inside for free to convince yourself

VISIT today and ENJOY

https://www.facebook.com/groups/tribalarttrade

Or if you are already convinced

PAY YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY AND PARTICIPATE at https://py.pl/10Y8S6 ( 100$ yearly recurring subscription as a charter member )

Stay safe everyone..
Indulge in retail therapy!


P.S.1 Did you know as of today members sold for more than 115,534 USD, have a look at  https://www.facebook.com/groups/tribalarttrade/. Want to become a member for life ?  https://py.pl/10Y8S6

P.S.2 : My First offering in the Tribal Art Trade Group : 

“Auction” Announcement.

This wonderful old Songye figure with Provenance will be on sale with a LOW starting price starting FRIDAY (ending SUNDAY) . Join up to follow!

Tribal Art Trade Group.
The WAZE concept applied to Tribal Art

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Les œuvres africanistes du musée de Tervueren

Carte blanche: Plaidoyer pour la réhabilitation des œuvres africanistes du musée de Tervueren

Une statue de Léopold II endommagée par des militants puis recouverte d’une bâche dans le parc de l’Africa Museum à Tervueren, en juin 2020.

Une statue de Léopold II endommagée par des militants puis recouverte d’une bâche dans le parc de l’Africa Museum à Tervueren, en juin 2020. – Reuters.

Depuis le meurtre de George Floyd, le 25 mai 2020, à Minneapolis, lors d’une arrestation policière brutale, un mouvement légitime et salutaire de protestation a parcouru l’Amérique et puis le monde.

Très vite, les manifestations dénonçant les discriminations et les violences touchant les membres des communautés afro-descendantes se sont muées en des mouvements iconoclastes s’attaquant à toute représentation symbolique, et donc le plus souvent artistique, de personnalités historiques jugées coupables d’actes, voire de pensées, racistes ou colonialistes.

Comme dans toutes les révolutions, des têtes devaient alors tomber sur simple dénonciation et sans procès. De Christophe Colomb à Winston Churchill ou au mahatma Gandhi, en passant par Colbert, Robert Baden-Powell, Victor Schoelcher ou le Roi Léopold II de Belgique, des dizaines de statues furent vandalisées de par le monde avant d’être déboulonnées, quand elles n’étaient pas, comme celle d’Edward Colston à Bristol, piétinées par les manifestants et jetées à la mer.

Insupportables de bêtise et témoignant le plus souvent d’une méconnaissance historique, ces actes furent à leur tour condamnés avec beaucoup de pertinence par une foule, certes beaucoup moins démonstratrice, mais mieux instruite.

Il était temps que la résistance s’organise car la même folie destructrice s’emparait déjà de nouveaux « commissaires politiques » auto-proclamés qui se proposaient de purger, après la statuaire, toute forme d’art, à commencer par la littérature ou le théâtre, sans même épargner le cinéma. Autant en emporte le vent…

L’art, première victime des révisionnistes

Pourtant, ces violences faites aux arts sous l’œil avide des médias ne sont que la partie visible de l’iceberg car, depuis une bonne décennie, on observe un mouvement plus sourd mais aussi plus profond qui entend revisiter notre histoire et la « réparer ».

L’Art, cet allié plus ou moins objectif du pouvoir, ce témoin parfois complice, parfois contestataire de la pensée et des mœurs de son temps, est la première victime des révisionnistes bien-pensants.

Ainsi, et ce n’est malheureusement qu’un exemple parmi tant d’autres, c’est dans une indifférence générale qu’un autre mouvement iconoclaste a pu sévir en toute impunité dans les couloirs et salles voulues « décolonisés » de l’Africa Museum de Tervueren aux portes de Bruxelles.

Le site officiel consacré au patrimoine belge renseigne : « Lors de l’importante rénovation du musée qui s’est terminée en décembre 2018, toutes les statues coloniales controversées ont été retirées des salles d’exposition et installées à part au sous-sol. Seules celles des niches de la rotonde, en raison de leur classement qui empêche leur enlèvement sont restées en place. Une plaque explicative a été placée dans la salle. »

« Les statues coloniales controversées », à l’exception de celles protégées par un providentiel classement in situ, ont donc été « retirées » et remisées dans la salle dite « hors-jeu » afin d’illustrer la politique de décolonisation prônée par la direction du Musée.

C’est aujourd’hui dans cette salle de la honte que les quatre plâtres monumentaux réalisés par l’artiste africaniste anglais Herbert Ward, qui depuis les années 50 avaient les honneurs de la grande rotonde par laquelle on entrait jadis dans le plus grand musée au monde dédié aux arts d’Afrique centrale, ont été mis « hors-jeu ».

Pourtant, l’élève âgé de 10 ans que j’étais, il y en a déjà 40, peut témoigner de la forte impression que lui firent dès l’entrée au musée ces statues qui lui paraissaient gigantesques. Cette sortie scolaire, comme on disait alors, avait été préparée depuis une semaine et ses enseignements devaient encore nous occuper pendant deux autres. Notre institutrice, Madame Colson, nous avait remis à chacun des feuillets sur lesquels étaient reproduits les statues de Ward connues souvent sous le nom du « Chef de tribu », du « Dessinateur », du « Sculpteur d’idole » et de « l’Allumeur de feu », qui allaient nous permettre de faire le lien avec les collections muséales africaines qui à l’époque étaient encore présentées en grand nombre. C’est ce jour-là et en ce lieu que j’ai découvert l’Afrique, la force première de ses peuples dont on nous enseignait déjà qu’à la faveur de grandes migrations préhistoriques, nous étions tous issus et que j’ai posé pour la première fois les yeux sur un art dont la passion devait me rattraper plus tard.

Un mépris incompréhensible

Alors, pourquoi tant de mépris à l’égard des œuvres d’Herbert Ward ?

Ce n’est certainement pas dans la biographie de cet artiste de talent que les petits juges qui ont décidé d’appliquer la peine de relégation, qui a pourtant disparu depuis longtemps de nos arsenaux judiciaires, ont trouvé matière à justifier leur condamnation.

Né à Londres en 1863, Herbert Ward quitte l’école à l’âge de quinze ans pour s’embarquer vers la Nouvelle-Zélande et l’Australie. Il sera chercheur d’or, mineur, vacher, artiste de cirque, cadet à la British North Borneo Company avant qu’un accès de malaria ne le contraigne à être rapatrié en Angleterre.

En 1884, il rencontre Henry Morton Stanley à Londres qui le nomme à un poste d’officier au Congo où il passera deux années à explorer le Haut et le Bas-Congo. Remplacé par un officier belge, Ward rejoint la Sanford Exploring Company, jusqu’en mars 1887. De retour en Angleterre, Stanley, qui prépare la célèbre expédition de secours à Eduard Schnitzer dit Emin Pacha, le nomme la même année lieutenant de l’expédition. Il passera les quatorze mois suivants, au lieu des quatre annoncés, à attendre le retour de Stanley à Yambuya sur les rives de l’Aruwimi. A son retour Stanley racontera cette mission de sauvetage dans un long récit : In darkest Africa qui inspira plus tard Joseph Conrad pour son roman Au cœur des ténèbres, dont s’inspire notamment Apocalypse Now de Francis Ford Coppola

Il quittera le Congo en 1889 pour ne plus jamais y revenir, mais sa biographie publiée en 1927 à Londres résume ainsi ses années au Congo : « l’enchantement de l’Afrique le saisit pour toujours, commandant son avenir, donnant des couleurs et des formes à toute l’œuvre de sa vie – l’empreinte de ces cinq années était indélébile ».

Ce n’est pas plus dans la qualité de ses œuvres, qui plaident très bien leur cause toutes seules, qu’on trouvera la motivation de la sanction. De Grands Musées, dont celui d’Orsay à Paris ont d’ailleurs acquis deux œuvres africanistes d’Herbert Ward, présentés au public notamment en 2019 lors de l’exposition « Le modèle noir de Géricault à Matisse ».

Non, c’est bien dans les qualités même des statues réalisées par Ward que réside la faute à expier. Ces représentations réalistes d’Africains dans des postures, certes traditionnelles, mais également académiques, sont vues par les censeurs qui sévissent au musée royal de Tervueren comme autant de déclarations solennelles d’intentions coloniales, alors même qu’ils seraient bien en peine d’expliquer en quoi elles diffèrent profondément de celles figurant des ouvriers belges comme le « Débardeur du port d’Anvers » ou le « Mineur à la hache » de Constantin Meunier.

Un courant littéraire et artistique africaniste

Pourtant, ces œuvres ne sont pas des allégories coloniales, ni même des documents ethnographiques mais s’inscrivent dans le courant littéraire et artistique africaniste apparu en Europe dans la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle et qui se rapproche du mouvement orientaliste qui le précède.

Comme le rappelle l’historienne de l’art et essayiste britannique Lynne Thornton : « Ce qui distingue particulièrement l’africanisme est l’affranchissement des peintres voyageurs des images stéréotypées, d’inspiration politique ou sociale, (…) » ou encore son confrère béninois, Didier Houénoudé, dans sa thèse soutenue en 2007 : « Il faut cependant reconnaître que les motivations des Africanistes étaient nobles et qu’ils ont joué certainement un rôle important dans l’évolution positive de l’image du corps noir. »

Rien ne justifie donc l’affront fait à Herbert Ward et à son œuvre.

Malheureusement, le sort réservé aux statues d’Arthur Dupagne ou d’Arsène Matton n’est pas vraiment plus enviable.

La propagande des censeurs

Forcés de maintenir ces œuvres classées in situ dans les niches de la rotonde et ne voyant en elles qu’une propagande colonialiste, les censeurs engagés par le musée, sous le prétexte de le « décoloniser », vont y afficher, sans la moindre subtilité, une nouvelle propagande.

Le paroxysme de la désinformation avait sans doute été atteint dans la « salle Diaspora » du musée dans laquelle une chercheuse du MRAC, en qualité de commissaire de cette salle, avait fait inscrire sur un cartel retiré il y a peu, une statistique ethnique, pour ne pas dire raciale, dont j’ai personnellement horreur et résultant par ailleurs d’interprétations tronquées d’autres études : « Les nouveaux venus (sous-entendu : « africains arrivant en Belgique ») affichent en moyenne un niveau de formation supérieur à celui des Belges blancs et des travailleurs immigrés venus des pays méditerranéens et de leurs descendants, mais ils sont le plus souvent discriminés. »…

Un travail à laisser aux historiens, pas aux militants

Mais revenons à nos pauvres statues que le projet artistique « RE-STORE », retenu par les missionnaires de cette nouvelle Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, a recouvertes de voiles semi-transparents sur lesquels sont imprimés des dessins contemporains et qui évoqueraient une tension avec les statues, le tout agrémenté d’un cartel explicatif en anglais.

Re-Storehttp://jeanpierremuller.com/re-store/4594954695

Interrogé, l’un des deux artistes, Jean-Pierre Müller, précise « le visiteur a un travail à faire. L’objectif est de créer un choc d’images et à faire réfléchir. »

Eh bien, défi relevé, travaillons et réfléchissons ensemble, par exemple, sur l’une des seize statues masquées d’un voile et commentées par les artistes du projet « RE-STORE », l’œuvre de Dupagne figurant un Africain combattant un serpent.

Pour « décoloniser » cette statue, les artistes lui ont superposé une caricature de Léopold II de 1906 provenant d’un journal anglais qui, concurrence coloniale oblige, n’épargnait pas le souverain belge.

Pourtant, réflexion faite, et au-delà même du fait que cette statue, ainsi couverte d’un voile de repentance, s’inscrit dans le mouvement artistique africaniste qui n’a nullement besoin d’être décolonisé, celle-ci, comme le rappelle régulièrement le Docteur Julien Volper, peut-être le seul véritable conservateur du MRAC, s’inspire de la statue d’Hercule combattant Achéloüs métamorphosé en serpent, de François-Joseph Bosio, qui se trouve au Louvre.

Ce n’est donc rien moins que le fils de Zeus sculpté sous les traits fiers d’un Congolais que l’ignorance de pâles inquisiteurs a couvert d’une bien triste caricature…

Si le travail mémoriel engagé dans nos sociétés doit se poursuivre, il est urgent de le confier à des historiens et non à des militants.

Les œuvres de Herbert Ward, Matton ou Dupagne doivent être réhabilitées et exposées au public, pour ce qu’elles sont : un témoignage des idées de leurs temps mais surtout, l’évocation fantasmée de cette Afrique tant rêvée par Livingstone et de Stanley.

En savoir plus sur les sculptures de l’AfricaMuseum..:

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Anonymity and attribution of historical African art

The questions we ask about the achievements of others are a measure of our own curiosity and engagement. These Yoruba, Luba, and Pende case studies suggest what is likely missing from the record of many other traditions. They also signal that authorship cannot simply be reduced to a single name. In the instances in which we are able to retrieve that information, it is urgent that we do so, as a measure of respect and means to deepen and enrich appreciation of the achievements of gifted individuals within their respective creative networks. With the passage of time, it is increasingly unlikely that this can be achieved with any degree of specificity – and where that is the case, it is important to draw attention to the dearth of specific names, as a real and significant loss. Doing so carries with it the need to provide accounts of the historical circumstances that contributed to such omissions; and it calls for renewed engagement with the continuation of artistic traditions in contemporary society.

Naming rights – anonymity and attribution in African art

Mudimbe emphasises African art’s ‘amazingly diverse, complex, and conflicting regional styles’ and the need to consider these ‘as we do literary texts’.

Article Found in the December 2020 issue of Apollo Magazine 

by Alisa LaGamma  5 Dec 2020

Of the hundreds of thousands of artefacts valorised for the creative ingenuity of their makers across sub-Saharan Africa, and now in museums and private collections around the world, few are identified by name.

From societies in which history and praise were relayed orally we are left with no literal signatures. This is not a reflection of enormous temporal divides, as it is with ancient archaeological artefacts. Instead it reflects a paradoxical legacy of Western collecting: on the one hand, the material aspect of complex traditions was historically privileged over all else; on the other, different standards were applied to the recognition of African makers’ achievements than those of their Western contemporaries.

Such collecting practices decoupled intangible and material heritage. But beyond that fact, it is disconcerting that, given the opportunity to document the material record, little effort was made to do so. Whether these objects were collected in the 19th century or the 1970s, and despite the fact that most were no more than a few generations old at the time, we are left with generic attributions to entire ethnic groups and equally vague dates, often spanning centuries. This lack of precision concerning material culture relating to an entire subcontinent has contributed to public assumptions about the lack of importance originally placed on recognising the individual men and women responsible for the objects’ creation.

Just over 20 years ago I sought to refute the notion of authorial irrelevance with ‘Master Hand: Individuality and Creativity Among Yoruba Sculptors’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York – an exhibition that drew on the rich and extensive literature by Yoruba intellectuals, as well as several generations of art-historical research. The presentation outlined a creative process, examined the significance of particular sculptural genres and their interpretation by a range of individuals, and gave prominence to the authors through archival photographs and the Yoruba praise poetry that evoked their contributions and place in society. It is, however, impossible to generalise about Africa, and not least in the realm of creative expression; it is instead best defined by its immense diversity of cultures, each of which has fostered an array of distinct visual traditions. In his groundbreaking book The Invention of Africa (1988), the philosopher V.Y. Mudimbe emphasises African art’s ‘amazingly diverse, complex, and conflicting regional styles’ and the need to consider these ‘as we do literary texts’. In what follows, I offer three case studies, each of which highlights a culturally specific perspective on the significance of authorship; together, they suggest how pervasive assumptions about African sculpture reflect a widespread misreading of an array of distinct creative processes.
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The first of these is the example of Olowe of Ise (or Olowere; c. 1875–1939), maker of an elaborately carved portal from the entrance of the Ikere Palace in Nigeria, now in the British Museum. The work was commissioned by Onijagbo Obasoro Alowolodu, the Ogoga of Ikere, who is himself depicted in the left-hand panel’s second register. Only a decade after its completion, it was lent by its Yoruba patron to be exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition, London, in 1924. What was at that time a recently completed regional landmark was displayed ostentatiously with no acknowledgement of its living author. Reaction to the work was so enthusiastic that the British Museum presented the Ogoga with an offer to acquire it for the national collection. There it remained anonymous for the next quarter of a century.
Ikere Palace door and lintel (c. 1910–14), Olowe of Ise, Yoruba peoples, Nigeria. British Museum, London

The Ogoga received a British-made throne in exchange and commissioned a replacement portal from Olowe in 1925. Rather than merely produce a copy of the original, the artist responded by carving a radically different composition; Yoruba palace decor was updated, reflecting how this society placed a premium on innovation. Roslyn Adele Walker, the author of the first monograph on Olowe and a curator at the Dallas Museum of Art, notes that from the 1940s on, many affluent Nigerian patrons replaced sculpted wood veranda posts and architectural features with concrete-covered adobe pillars. It is likely that the replacement portal of 1925 was itself eventually displaced by a renovation scheme; it is now in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The painstaking reconstruction of this art history by Walker culminated in the first catalogue raisonné of a pre-20th-century African artist, published in 1998. Until then, the achievements of Olowe of Ise had been enumerated and celebrated locally in performed oriki, or praise poetry, and through photographic documentation. More recently, the art historian Rowland Abiodun has identified a photograph of the artist himself. While it is not known when he learned to carve, Olowe began his career as a lowly messenger at the court of the Arinjale of Ise; in oriki, he is credited with sculptural programmes developed for the palaces at Ise, Ikere, Owo, and Akure.

The portrait that emerges is of a professional sculptor, from whom the most ambitious Yoruba patrons of his day sought works that were highly visible. Despite this, as Walker notes, prevailing biases were such that the official who selected the Ikere palace doors for display in London likely never thought to ask: ‘Who made this?’ It was not until after the Second World War that Olowe was recognised outside the Ekiti region as its author (by Philip A. Allison, a British forester stationed in Nigeria from 1931–59).
The artistic vision that informed Olowe’s approach is evident in the corpus assembled by Walker. The criteria used to assess his achievements are the subject of a rich Yoruba tradition of aesthetic commentary; following the completion of a sculpture, its evaluation began with a ritual announcement: ‘there ends the work of the sculptor/Let the critic start his own.’ The philosopher Olabiyi Yai emphasises that the response of a Yoruba critic never simply addresses the formal appearance of an isolated work but instead expansively invokes its carver, orisa (deities), patrons, viewers, and even the critic’s own role as commentator.

In the lexicon of Yoruba criticism sa is the verb which means ‘to select, to discern, to discriminate’, while asa is the noun used to denote the concept of ‘tradition’. In his execution of the architectural elements he designed to frame the entrances of grand residences and shrine portals as well as pillars for interior courtyards, Olowe followed the asa, developed in Ekiti-Yoruba centres. Da asa, informed departure or break with tradition, drove his expansion beyond those parameters. Contemporaries, such as Areogun of Osi-Illorin, elected to underscore the bilateral symmetry of their sculptural programmes for doors and filled their surfaces with frontal figures. In contrast, Olowe’s oju-ona, or design consciousness, is expressed through figures that extend beyond their picture frame and an allocation of space in asymmetrical panels driven by the subject matter presented. The dynamism of those compositions is further enlivened with a sense of movement and highly complex incised graphic surfaces.

Ise Palace door (Ilekun aafin) (c. 1904–10), Olowe of Ise, Yoruba peoples, Nigeria. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

These principles are manifest in the palace door produced between 1904–10 for the Arinjale of Ise to commemorate his meeting with the British travelling commissioner Captain Ambrose at the turn of the century. According to Walker it was this work that inspired the Ogoga of Ikere to enlist Olowe’s talents to produce the door and lintel now at the British Museum. The Ise portal’s right panel is now in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and the left is a recent promised gift to the Met. While these material products of Olowe’s ingenuity are credited to him as an author, to reflect upon his impact it is necessary to evoke more fully the complex network of creative forces within which he operated – including the local context of patronage and aesthetic assessment in Yoruba society, which thrived on change.
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The first study devoted to an African artist, the so-called Buli Master, was prompted by the striking style of sculptures that have since been found not to refer to the work of a single individual but to a workshop. Luba leaders in the Katanga region of south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo were patrons of sublime sculptural artefacts. Critical to a Luba chief’s investiture rites and legitimacy, such insignia of divine kingship, consecrated by spirit mediums and held in treasuries, were rarely visible. The major repository of that legacy today is the Africa Museum (or Royal Museum for Central Africa) at Tervuren, founded in 1897 by King Leopold II of Belgium to advertise the resources of his private colony, the Congo Free State. From the many 19th-century Luba works that arrived in Belgium during the colonial era, in 1947 the Flemish anthropologist Frans Olbrechts identified several as the creative output of a master of ‘the long-faced style’, or master from the town of Buli. (Olbrechts was a pioneer among Europeans in questioning the anonymity of African artists and advocating for intensive first-hand interviews and field research; his approach, in which universalist aesthetic evaluations are applied to decontextualised art, has been criticised for its ethnocentrism.)

The arrival of princely figures from the east ushered in the beginnings of the Luba state around 1400. The culture hero Mbidi Kiluwe introduced enlightened governance to the Luba, and his son Kalala Ilunga was the first legitimate sovereign. According to Luba ideology, every subsequent ruler is a personification of these bearers of culture. The art historian Mary Nooter Roberts has underscored that, in parallel, Luba title-holders and court historians to this day emphasise the conflation of all Luba insignia of office with their legendary prototypes – including staffs of office, carved ceremonial seats and bow stands, the most elaborate of which incorporate visual evocations of the source of life and perpetuation of sacred kingship in the form of female figures.


Headrest (19th century), Master of the Cascade Coiffure, Luba or Shankadi peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The forging of iron is among the technical innovations attributed to Mbidi Kiluwe. Roberts notes that Luba woodcarvers were generally blacksmiths who emphasised their connection to an originary past over individual creative identities. Accordingly, their production of sculpture, whether for Luba kings or foreign patrons, has been characterised as reworking and giving new life to pre-existing ideas. The records relating to hundreds of these artefacts now in Tervuren trace many of those that are most artistically admired in the West to eastern Luba territories. Despite such documentation, however, there is never any mention of the names of their creators. Roberts poses the question of whether this is simply a reflection of the brutal colonial mindset that dehumanised its subjects and requisitioned treasures. Although this may have contributed to the loss of information, she notes, the context in which such works were produced as sacred carriers of divine kingship consecrated by a spirit medium subsumed individual achievement into networks of royal patronage and ritual use.

Despite the Luba conceptual emphasis on reproducing ‘prime creations’, a diverse array of distinctive approaches to their formal interpretation is evident in the corpus of 19th-century Luba sculptures. In the absence of attributions to specific individuals, these works have been ascribed to an array of workshops, or ‘hands’. These stylistic groupings suggest that ateliers specialised in particular genres, rather than the full array of insignia found in a single leader’s treasury.

 


Seat of leadership (19th century), Buli Master, possibly Ngongo ya Chintu, Luba or Hemba peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Since Olbrechts’ original attribution of several works to a Buli Master, that corpus has grown to some 20 objects. It appears that they are the work of several generations of sculptors based at the crossroads of the Luba and neighboring Hemba regions. A number of these are seats of office featuring caryatid figures. One of these, acquired by the Met in 1979, was the focus of an exhibition introducing the Buli Master in 1980. In this example, a female caryatid is framed by circular discs of the seat balanced on the crown of her head and a base. Eyes cast downward, she bears the weight of the world on the tips of fingers that extend from broad flattened hands to grasp either rim of the seat. The soft, expressive exaggeration of such ‘Buli’ creations contrasts sharply with the crisply defined idealisation of those by a contemporaneous master labelled ‘Warua’ (a term used by Swahili traders to refer to Luba and related people) by the German ethnographer Leo Frobenius in 1904. That corpus of especially refined works includes several ceremonial bow stands and three caryatid seats.

Prestige stool (Kipona) (late 18th–early 19th century), Master of the Warua or the Kunda, Luba peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

 

A further workshop was responsible for some 20 exquisitely carved headrests, or ‘pillows’, designed to preserve their owners’ elaborate labour-intensive hairstyles while in repose. Likely produced in the Luba heartland, they are associated with a master from the Shankadi region.

The focal points of these more intimate prestige items are female figures who themselves model one of the most popular coiffures of the latter half of the 19th century, as worn around the towns of Kamina and Kabondo Dianda. The layered parallel steps of this ‘cascade style’ project laterally, echoing the slightly bowed horizontal neck support at the summit. The dynamism of that crowning element is amplified by the fluid asymmetrical postures of the figure. Field research has suggested that the enduring appeal of such widely favoured, signature carving styles was such that they were perpetuated by as many as three successive generations of sculptors.
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Female mask (Gambanda) (late 19th-first decade of the 20th century), Pende peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

A Pende mask carved in the DRC at the turn of the 20th century (and held at the Met since 2011) follows culturally established conventions in its representation of Gambanda, an ideal of youthful womanhood. Its author’s command of his idiom is evident in his portrayal of the oval cast of the face; the calm, level forehead; the delicate nose; the smooth plump cheeks; the seductive hooded eyes; the fine continuous brow; and the fullness of thick locks of hair. In performance, the allure of this sculptural element’s classic beauty would have been animated by a dancer whose dress, movements and hairstyle embraced fashions of the utmost contemporaneity. As with most Pende masks dispersed internationally, although this work was likely of recent vintage and in use at the time it was acquired in or before 1908 by Émile Lejeune, a Belgian colonial officer, none of the specifics of its origins have been recorded. All we can surmise about its author is that he, like the majority of Pende sculptors of his generation, was a professional blacksmith.

The art-historical research undertaken by Zoë S. Strother at the source during the 1980s allows us to anchor such works to a larger narrative of Pende society at a moment of unprecedented change. Notable among its agents was Gabama a Gingungu (1890s–1965), recognised by Pende cognoscenti as the most accomplished sculptor of the 20th century. By the 1920s Gabama had garnered acclaim both across Pendeland among dancers who favoured his masks and from a foreign clientele who published features on him in the colonial press. Despite this recognition during his lifetime and beyond, at the time of his death those works that had remained in his community were lost in the chaos, looting, and fires that ensued when its members were obliged to evacuate over the course of a rebellion against the Congolese government in the 1960s.

Gabama was instructed by his uncle Maluba, who had himself been entranced by Gizeza of Kasele’s three-dimensional modeling of his subjects. Gabama’s talent and entrepreneurial savvy led to his success as a full-time professional, with a broad market for his work. He founded his own workshop, comprised of several of his sons as well as maternal nephews, which continued into the late 1980s. Delegated to apprentices were time-consuming and labour-intensive tasks of grinding colours and processing the elaborate raffia fibre ‘hair’ added as coiffures. Among the most talented of these proteges, Nguedia Gambembo was eventually allowed to block out a mask for Gabama to complete.

Strother’s interviews and examination of photographic records with sculptors of the generation who followed Gabama led to the attribution of a mask of a chief, or fumu, which entered the Africa Museum’s collection in the early 1930s, to him. Their recognition of his particular style, luholo lu’enji, was made on the basis, Strother writes, of ‘the shape of the face, the handling of the ear, the form of the eyebrows, the prominence given the nostrils, the shape of the mouth, the form of the cicatrices, the manner of working the coiffure’. What he had achieved was to render concretely the complex character of the chief as ‘a man who is unquestionably male, potent, the father of many children, who nonetheless has a command of feminine skills’.

By focusing on the talents of the individual sculptor, however, we run the risk of ignoring or missing out on earlier phases of the creative process of even greater consequence. The launch of a successful new Pende masquerade carried the promise of lutumbu, fame and public acclaim; Gabama’s innovations as a sculptor responded to the call of Pende youth driven by the ambition to add to the repertoire. That process began with their composition of a song, followed by the development of a corresponding dance and the definition of its dramatis personae in advance of consulting a sculptor. The inventor credited with the masquerade performance of Gatomba, Miteleji Mutundu, demonstrated its song and dance to Gabama who in turn gave form to its character through a customised face mask. In such patronage networks, sculptural innovations reflect collaborations between dancers, singers, musicians and sponsors, as well as the carvers who create them. It is in this broader frame of reference that we ought to consider the Pende mask now at the Met.

The questions we ask about the achievements of others are a measure of our own curiosity and engagement. These Yoruba, Luba, and Pende case studies suggest what is likely missing from the record of many other traditions. They also signal that authorship cannot simply be reduced to a single name. In the instances in which we are able to retrieve that information, it is urgent that we do so, as a measure of respect and means to deepen and enrich appreciation of the achievements of gifted individuals within their respective creative networks. With the passage of time, it is increasingly unlikely that this can be achieved with any degree of specificity – and where that is the case, it is important to draw attention to the dearth of specific names, as a real and significant loss. Doing so carries with it the need to provide accounts of the historical circumstances that contributed to such omissions; and it calls for renewed engagement with the continuation of artistic traditions in contemporary society.

Article Found in the December 2020 issue of Apollo.

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Chief Nkuko in the MAS 100 X Congo exhibition

Dear  FRIEND,

Times are strange,

I was at the MAS museum last week here in Antwerp to see the interesting exhibition “100 X Congo”beautiful but also critical, in the interesting catalog it is mentionned some of those objects where taken by force ( Like the Nail figure from chief Nkuko that I studied here)  and that at the turn of the century African people where exhibited in the Antwerp Zoo, and that many of them died from the flu . It’s a change from the period where those crimes where hidden and that there was only praise for the colonialist that where bringing “civilisation” to Africa. We now know better and can praise the MAS for also involving Congolese scholars in the research, that’s refreshing. .

See the pictures I have taken at the MAS:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10157359035966073&type=3

But isn’t it going a bit far when the MAS Belgian conservator who also has Congolese roots Nadia Nsayi and who collaborated to do the catalog with experts from the Kinshasa museum, is pleading on television to discuss the return of those important African art objects to Congo, finding our attitude paternalistic.
Aren’t museums an Universal place for everyone, should we realy try to change the past and empty our museums from our best objects ?

There was also an activist Mwazulu Diyabanza who came to Antwerp to claim the return of the African art and chief Nkuko to Congo ( see image below) , strangely enough during his visit he wasn’t able to identify the Luba staff but seemed to be able to give an explanation on it’s spiritual signification https://www.mo.be/reportage/activist-mwazulu-diyabanza-op-bezoek-het-mas-chef-ne-kuko-moet-naar-huis

La Statue Nkisi Kondi de l’AfricaMuseum qui a été récolté par le Lieutenant Delcommune près de Boma le lendemain d’une expédition ou il avait brûlé le village qui refusait de se rendre aux ordres de Leopold II ( read more at https://africanart.press/nkisi-kondi-africamuseum/ )

Last but not least ending this sunday I have Five African Art lots at auction for you to discover

David Norden African Art. Sint Katelijnevest 27. B2000 Antwerpen. Belgium.

Phone: +32 3 227 35 40                                    email: david.norden@telenet.be

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Hemba object of the day

Dear  [Name,fallback=],

The Hemba object of the day in my Catawiki auction :

Hemba

https://www.catawiki.com/l/40148137-figure-wood-singiti-hemba-congo-drc

In a Hurry ?

https://www.catawiki.com/a/383849-exclusive-african-art-auction-private-collection

Live lots : https://www.catawiki.com/u/365835-nordend
The Flip catalog : https://online.fliphtml5.com/jqqr/yxnj/#p=1

The auction ends next sunday around 8 pm.

Figure – Wood – Luba – Congo DRC

Closes in

Figure - Wood - Luba - Congo DRC
Reserve price not met: €315

Fetish – Wood – Yaka – Congo DRC

Closes in

Fetish - Wood - Yaka - Congo DRC
Reserve price not met: €350
Masquette - Wood - Ma Go - Dan - Liberia
Reserve price not met: €200
Figure - Wood - Tchitcheri - Moba - Togo
Reserve price not met: €450
Fetish - Wood - Nkishi - Songye - Congo DRC
Reserve price not met: €800
Mask - Wood - Kpele - Senufo - Ivory Coast
Reserve price not met: €400
Mask - Wood - Chilunga Ilunga - Chokwe - Angola
Reserve price not met: €400
headle Pulley - Wood - Senufo - West Africa
Reserve price not met: €250
Reserve price not met: €375

Masquette – Wood – Dan – Liberia

Closes in

Masquette - Wood - Dan - Liberia
Reserve price not met: €250
Figure - Wood - Provenance  Herman Haan - Dogon - Mali
Reserve price not met: €1200
Reserve price not met: €222
No reserve price
No reserve price
Figures (3) - Wood - Hazomanga - Sakalava - Madagascar
Reserve price not met: €600
Fetish Dog - Nail, Wood - Nkisi Nkondi  - Bakongo - Congo DRC
Reserve price not met: €1232
Spoon - Wood - Wakemia - Dan - Liberia
Reserve price not met: €270
Mask - Wood - Okoroshi  - Igbo - Nigeria
Reserve price not met: €150
Stool - Wood - Master of Buli - Luba - Congo DRC
Reserve price not met: €400
Figure - Wood - No Price Limit - Lengola - Ituri
No reserve price
Figure - Wood - Pare - Kwere - Tanzania
Reserve price not met: €250
Fetish - Wood - Boccio - Fon - Benin
Reserve price not met: €350

Figure – Wood – Fon – Benin

Closes in

Figure - Wood - Fon - Benin
Reserve price not met: €150
Figures (2) - Wood - Evolués - Bakongo - Congo DRC
Reserve price not met: €425
Head - Wood - Boki - Anyang - Nigeria
Reserve price not met: €550
Mask - Wood - Zamble, Taitt collection - Guro - Ivory Coast
Reserve price not met: €775
Mask - Wood - Agbogho Mmwo - Igbo - Eastern Nigeria
Reserve price not met: €1200
Mask - Wood - Idimu - Lega - Congo
Reserve price not met: €450
Figure - Wood - Singiti - Hemba - Congo DRC
Reserve price not met: €1200

David Norden African Art. Sint Katelijnevest 27. B2000 Antwerpen. Belgium.

Phone: +32 3 227 35 40                                    email: david.norden@telenet.be

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Life is Strange

Dear  friends,

In a Hurry ? https://www.catawiki.com/u/365835-nordend

I hope you are all doing well in those strange days where the whole world is trying to avoid contacts, while desperately wanting to get other people around them .

My  new online auction starts Friday July 24, 2020 to end Sunday August 2, 2020 around 8 p.m. Belgian time. Remember: When you bid on Catawiki there is only 9 % on the hammer price, and if you can’t attend the end of the auction the auto-bid function is your best friend. .

The packing and shipping cost is 25€ for Europe, and 50€ outside.

This auction is made mostly from objects that did not sell during my previous auctions,  I even lowered reserve prices more, making it great  bargains .

And sorry if I do not answer your questions immediately, it might well be that I am watching my cucumbers growing…

www.catawiki.com/u/365835-nordend

Packing and transport costs are low and in house only 25€ for Europe and 50€ outside Europe, if you buy more than one lot the transportation costs are only charged once.

 

David Norden African Art. Sint Katelijnevest 27. B2000 Antwerpen. Belgium.

Phone: +32 3 227 35 40                                    email: david.norden@telenet.be

P.S. If this email was forwarded to you, know that more than ten thousand are already happy subscribers to this free African art newsletter.
To stay informed on African art auctions, Fairs, books, exhibitions, etc…

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https://www.instagram.com/africanartexpert/

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Unexpected

Dear  African Art lovers,

In a Hurry ? https://www.catawiki.com/u/365835-nordend

I hope you are all doing all well and adapting in a new world where social distance is the new normal .. Since May 11 my shop in Antwerp reopened, allowing two people maximum at a time, but since a lot of people don’t travel anymore business is slow, and only one or two people enter my shop every few days. This summer I will not be open all the time and only two people can visit at one time. . So if you want to visit me please check in advance if I am here.

It’s unexpected but I just started a new online auction today that is ending Sunday June 28, 2020 around 8 p.m. Belgian time. Remember: When you bid on Catawiki there is only 9 % on the hammer price, and if you can’t attend the end of the auction the auto-bid function is your best friend. .

The packing and shipping cost is 25€ for Europe, and 50€ outside.

Discover below, click the links for more details and images..

Lots offered by David Norden Buy African Antiques.

A colorful Mukyeem Beaded Mask
H= 45 cm

top of a cultivator staff - Wood - Senufo - West Africa
From a Dutch collection. H= 31 cm
Published in “Living African Art Treasures” by David Norden. ( A catalog will be included in your package) .

Figure - Wood - Bateba Phuwe- Provenance Jan Kusters - Lobi - Burkina Faso

An old standing female Lobi figure with a big head, body position slightly bending forward.
Named Bateba Thilkotina, those figures where kept in shrines to protect the family.

Height 38 cm.

Provenance: – Andreas Artemenko -Jan Kusters Netherland.

A collectors NUMBER on the side of the feet in white paint 1402

Mask – Wood – Chihongo Chilunga- NO RESERVE PRICE – Chokwe – Congo DRC

Mask - Wood - Chihongo Chilunga- NO RESERVE PRICE - Chokwe - Congo DRC

Height 48 cm. wood red pigments. Feathers, raffia

Central Africa | Chihongo mask representing Chilunga the mythological founder from the Chokwe people. Angola or Democratic Republic of Congo

Spoon - Wood - NO LIMIT PRICE - Teke - Congo DRC

A Teke spoon with a complete figure on top.

H= 29cm, 35 cm on the custom made metal stand

Stool - Wood - Luba - Congo DRC
This female anthropomorphic stool ( 25cm high) is from the Luba people
Sickness Mask - Raphia, Wood - Provenance Patrick Dierickx - Pende - West Africa
H= 30 cm.

The mbangu mask is a variation on the representation of a highly regarded hunter who has been stricken with facial paralysis

Collected in the 70’s by Patrick Dierickx, Brussels. Estimated age: 1940-50’s

Plaque - Brass - Provenance Donald Taitt - Benin - Nigeria

A small Benin Plaque XIXth century or older, in the shape of a mud fish or insect coming from Donald Taitt collection a painter who lived in France and collected since the 1970’s.

H= 29 cm. 32cm on the custom made metal stand.

Smoking pipe - Bronze, Snakeskin, Wood - Sénoufo - Côte d'Ivoire

L= 50 cm H= 15 cm on custom makde metal and wood stand

Large, African pipe of wood with bronze animal amulets and wrapped in snakeskin. Complete with bowl.

Knife - Copper, Iron, Wood - Kusu - Congo DRC

A Kusu knife from the rain Forest.

The knifes from the Tetela area exist in several variations they all make a graceful impression.
The ones including the Kusu and Sungu are remarkable.

Provenance: Gaethan Schoonbroodt collection, Verviers..

H= 45 cm

Figure - Wood - Nkisi - Songye - Congo DRC

A Big cubistic Songye figure, bought from a private collection during a Ateaf Fair in Wilrijk near Antwerp.

H= 58 cm

Basket - Leather, Raphia - Toussian - Burkina Faso

A Tussian Wedding basket made of 11 little basket imbricated like a Russian doll.

H= 25 cm,

Nkisi Nkondi Kozo Mbwa Fetish dog with Documentation.

L= 55 cm , H= 30 cm. The wood tail and feet have been re-glued, some metal nails and inserts missing (see pictures) blades, nails in iron, iron blades, red pigments on the face, a mirror charge on top above the head.

Provenance: – Private Collection New Orleans
– Andreas Achmann Munchen (written documentation of the provenance included)

Double Head Lobi - Wood - Dayir - Lobi - Burkina Faso

A double Head Lobi figure

H= 58 cm
One metal chain around the feet.

Collected in the 70’s by a private dutch collector Netherland.
Estimated age: early to mid-XXth

Figure - Wood - Luba - Congo DRC
A female Luba figure H= 40 cm coming from the collection of Frédéric Coppin.
Monkey Mask - Wood - Sakamutu- Provenance Patrick Dierickx - Hemba - Congo DRC

The Saka Mutu mask from Patrick Dierickx collection combines animal (chimpanzee) and human facial features. Saka Mutu means “monkey face” in Kishwahili .

H= 28 cm,

Cup - Wood - Basongolo- Provenance Patric Claes - Lulua-Luntu - Congo DRC

A Palm Wine Cup From Patric Claes collection.

H= 30 cm no stand .

CONDITION: Honey patina wood,

Seated Maternity - Wood - Provenance Woolley and Wallis - Baoulé - Ivory Coast

A Baule seated maternity figure, Ivory Coast, with an infant on her back and another feeding from her right breast, the figure seated on an Akan chair.

H= 75 cm high. Grayish patina.

A Big Baule Seated Maternity Figure

Provenance: Woolley and Wallis, UK 2015

Mask - Wood - Ekpe - Ibibio - Nigeria

 

Packing and transport costs are low and in house only 25€ for Europe and 50€ outside Europe, if you buy more than one lot the transportation costs are only charged once.

 

David Norden African Art. Sint Katelijnevest 27. B2000 Antwerpen. Belgium.

Phone: +32 3 227 35 40                                    email: david.norden@telenet.be

P.S. If this email was forwarded to you, know that more than ten thousand are already happy subscribers to this free African art newsletter.
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Subsribe to our African Art newsletter below:

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Curious

Dear  friends,

In a Hurry ? https://www.catawiki.com/u/365835-nordend

I hope you are all doing well in those strange days where the whole world is staying at home and I am paid to keep my shop closed .

My  new online auction is ending tonight Sunday May 10, 2020 around 8 p.m. Belgian time. Remember: When you bid on Catawiki there is only 9 % on the hammer price, and if you can’t attend the end of the auction the auto-bid function is your best friend. .

The packing and shipping cost is 25€ for Europe, and 50€ outside.

Discover the low reserve prices below, click the links for more details and images..

Lots offered by David Norden Buy African Antiques.

Mask - Wood - Faso Karanga - Mossi - Mali

Stool Fragment – Wood – child birth – Chokwe – Angola

Stool Fragment - Wood - child birth - Chokwe - Angola

Reserve Price 380€

2nd half 19th century – Excellent

A fine fragment of a Chokwe Chief’s Throne, Angola representing a birth scene with two male figures in attendance

Height: 13 cm. 21 cm on the custom made wood base ( included in your package). The wood stand is 34 cm large


Figure - Stone - Tumba Ntadi -NO PRICE RESERVE - Bacongo - Congo DRC
NO PRICE RESERVE The Kongo place stone figures called tumba on the graves of powerful people. This chief is shown kneeling and holding a power insigna
H= 16cm . Inscription under the base. ( see images). Gray steatite stone turned black and with remains of Tokula red powder.

Mask - Wood - Lukwakongo - Lega - Congo DRC
1st half 20th century – Good

An Lega Mask from Congo DRC. with a very sensitive expression.

22 cm 27 cm on the metal stand included.

Figurative Mangbetu Vessel mid-XXth with a t-shapped nose

Height 29 cm. Red fired clay. Some restorations at the ears, the back of the coiffure, and cracks on the base ( see pictures)

Reserve price Mangbetu Vessel : €450

Doll - Wood - Akuaba - Ashanti - Côte d'Ivoire
A Baule Colon figure representing a French officer
H= 45 cm
Baule Reserve price= €350

H= 27cm with horn, 31 cm on the custom made wood base.

Estimated Age: around 1900-1930.

Katatora Reserve price : €250

Provenance: A valuable big female Songye fertilty figure.coming from the well known collection of Michel Gaud in Saint Tropez France.
Then in the collection of Jan Kusters, Netherland.H= 59 cm with horn, 65cm on the custom made wood base.

Age: around 1900.



Figure – Seeds, Wood – Decorative Nkishi -NO PRICE RESERVE – Bakongo – Congo DRC

Packing and transport costs are low and in house only 25€ for Europe and 50€ outside Europe, if you buy more than one lot the transportation costs are only charged once.

 

David Norden African Art. Sint Katelijnevest 27. B2000 Antwerpen. Belgium.

Phone: +32 3 227 35 40                                    email: david.norden@telenet.be

P.S. If this email was forwarded to you, More than ten thousand are already happy subscribers to this free African art newsletter.
To stay informed on African art auctions, Fairs, books, exhibitions, etc…
Subsribe to our African Art newsletter below:

https://africanart.press/subscribe-to-our-newsletter/

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David Norden African Art Antiques

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