This page is a record of an exhibit that took place
in 2002. The individual links below will take you to
the CURRENT VERSION of the pages
that formed part of that exhibit.
NEW CATALOG ONLINE of this exhibition, Follow links below for images,
sizes, prices and more information
Six exciting and varied groups of works are featured in our third summer selections exhibition.
From deep in the Ituri rain forest in northern Dem. Rep. of Congo (Zaire) come the wonderful bark cloth painting of the Mbuti pygmy. Made by beating inner tree bark until it is thin and pliable, done by the men, the cloth is then transformed by the women with painted designs, often with symbolic meaning. Long sold out of these, we are glad to again have a large selection in inventory. The page will be updated soon with even more additional cloths.
BAMILEKE BEDS, Cameroon
Carved from a single large piece of hardwood, the beds are relatively flat and can function as a utilitarian low "coffee" table in our culture. Most Bamileke art (and the work of other kingdoms of the Cameroon Grasslands) relates to kings and important chiefs, who defined their power by the display of prestige objects during important ceremonies. Beds, like stools were among the most important of these objects. The motifs include leopards, human figures and heads, spiders, lizards and other subjects plus abstract designs. The spider, often found abstracted in repeating patterns,is a symbol of wisdom. The leopard; cunning, fast, mobile and guardedly aggressive, signifies the ability to survive and is the most important royal icon, often even the king's alter ego. The page will be updated soon with additional beds.
LOBI TERRACOTTA VESSELS, Burkina Faso
These pots are among the rarest and most prized in African pottery. Visually relating to exotic fruit forms, they are wonderfully crafted. Some have 4-sided openings cut almost invisibly into the top, which lifts out to reveal a small opening. The others have more loosely fitting lids. The page will be updated soon with additional vessels.
NUPE TERRACOTTA VESSEL SUPPORTS, Nigeria
Nupe pots and vessel supports are among the finest fired pottery objects of Africa, with their distinctive forms, shapes and elaborate surface decoration. They served prestige and ceremonial puposes as well as functional ones. Formed by women potters, all have highly embellished surfaces. These tall, elegant flaring forms are supports, buried halfway in the ground to provide a stable base for a stack of the rounder pots. Whole walls of terracotta vessels often lined the inside of Nupe houses. Most of these show evidence of being buried, sometimes with deterioration or encrustation, most often with the exposed top portion darkened with smoke from cooking and fires kept in the home.
NUPE TERRACOTTA VESSELS, Nigeria
Most Nupe art is abstract, with only some abstracted animals in relief on their doors and rare pots. These functional pots, always embellished with carefully executed surface patterns, were stacked on half-buried vessel supports when not in use. Whole walls of terracotta vessels often lined the inside of Nupe houses. Some of these of these show evidence of being repeatedly stacked, with subtle damage or ear around the inside of the lip or rim, or on the outside on the bottom. Several have encrusted surfaces and some are darkened with smoke from cooking and fires kept in the home.
TOMA, LANDAI MASKS, Guinea (also known as LOMA, in Liberia)
These brooding, often quite large, masks represent a forest spirit, Landai. They were used by the men's Poro Society to initiate boys into manhood. The large masks, in what was often a frightening ritual for the boys, would symbolically swallow the boy, who would then re-emerge as a man. The masks were worn with a large raffia costume. Most have a flat face, the traditional beaked nose, jaws of teeth, protruding brow and horns.
TOMA, LANDAI POSTS, Guinea (also known as LOMA, in Liberia)
These posts relate to the brooding, often quite large, masks of the Toma, representing a forest spirit, Landai. They were used by the men's Poro Society to initiate boys into manhood. Like the masks most of the posts have a flat face, the traditional beaked nose, protruding brow and horns.
SENUFO BEDS, Ivory Coast
Senufo beds are much more abstract, with simple, elegant forms, raised "pillows" and four massive legs that taper downward. Carved from a single large piece of hardwood, the beds are relatively flat and can function as a utilitarian low "coffee" table in our culture.