TRIBAL HARDWOOD DOLLS?

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Post by CharlieC April 28th 2021, 9:52 am

A group of primitive carved hardwood figures, possibly mid 20th Century (or earlier?) Anyone know origin? African, Indian?? Tallest one is 8 1/2". Curiously, they have all lost their arms... Most vulnerable? Any info would be great, thanks.

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Post by studio-pots April 28th 2021, 2:33 pm

Almost everything you are going to find around is going to be post 1980.

They look African to me but when you say they have lost their arms, do you think that they might not have been carved?

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Post by CharlieC April 28th 2021, 2:52 pm

The arms have all broken off. In my opinion, a long while ago. The break has patina and is polished. Have to say, they do look older than 1980. Look more like 1940 – 1960s to me. But I'm no expert on Tribal Art.
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Post by NaomiM April 28th 2021, 3:20 pm

Possibly African, but a lot of this sort of thing comes out of New Guinea and other Indonesian countries where they were used as support posts in their houses, and their tops carved into a figure to ward off evil spirits or for ancestor worship. I use a group on FB for IDing/authenticating this sort of thing - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1636493203289627

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Post by studio-pots April 28th 2021, 4:47 pm

CharlieC wrote:The arms have all broken off. In my opinion, a long while ago. The break has patina and is polished. Have to say, they do look older than 1980. Look more like 1940 – 1960s to me. But I'm no expert on Tribal Art.

Back in the 1990s when much of the tribal art that is around was coming into this country, I would see things made yesterday that looked 100 years old. The dark straining and polished look is typical of some of the stuff coming in back then and I suspect the "broken arms" where probably never there and all part of the "aging process". I am not saying there is anything wrong with it as long as the person buying knows what they are buying. I used to collect and sell a few pieces back then and still have some that I like and enjoy.

Older wooden carvings from Africa that have the dark polished patina usually come from what is now Nigeria but your pieces might have originated in the Congo (at least they look as if they might). Belgium back in the 1990s was the centre of the European Tribal Art trade and still is. Much of the stuff that I used to see in London came in from the former Belgian colony via Belgium. Later other items came here directly from Ghana, although the figures weren't necessarily purporting to be from there.

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