African Sculptured Figurine? help needed!

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African Sculptured Figurine? help needed!

Post by Flintztone on February 22nd 2013, 1:21 am

Would very much like to know the origin of this wonderful piece of sculpture I purchased from a charity shop. I'm not sure what wood was used. There are no visible markings, so find it difficult to identify. It's free standing and is 1ft 8" in height. I've looked at many carvings but find this one is in my opinion unique and in it's own entirety.

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Re: African Sculptured Figurine? help needed!

Post by NaomiM on February 22nd 2013, 11:40 am

Looks like mahogany. A lot of African sculpture has been made for the tourist trade and exported from N. Africa.
More recently some of it is being made by small family businesses selling through the Fair Trade category and using wood from sustainable logging operations, although one would expect it to me marked.
For collectors of ethnographic items it's best to have the provenance - where it was made, when, and (if you're lucky) by whom. And made pre-tourism. Difficult to find that info afterwards. As it stands it's just a decorative object.

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Re: African Sculptured Figurine? help needed!

Post by Flintztone on February 22nd 2013, 1:41 pm

Thanx for you info. It's ashame there is no markings though, especially when you look at the work that gone into it.
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Re: African Sculptured Figurine? help needed!

Post by studio-pots on February 23rd 2013, 10:44 pm

Carved African figures for tribal use would have had no markings, as they were never meant to show or highlight the skill of one specific carver. Often it is possible to identify the style of carving and associate it with a specific tribe or area but that doesn't mean that it was made there, as much of the "tribal art" seen around these days is made to order and distressed to look old in small factory operations.

Your figure will have no doubt been made by a skilled craftsman in Africa but doesn't show any characteristics of traditional wooden carvings made in that continent. Therefore it will have been made purely for the European visitor or for export.

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Re: African Sculptured Figurine? help needed!

Post by Flintztone on February 28th 2013, 1:41 am

Thanx for your detailed information. It is a well decorative piece and I just love the exaggerated detail within the design. Your help is very much appreciated.
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