Collectors of african tribal art know, that there are african masks and
figures with cotton or woven fibers. In the book „African Masks“of Iris
Hahner – Herzog et al e. you will find very prety masks of the dan
with cotton and woven fibers.Many fetishes are covered partly with
textiles and cords.
A collector first of all is confronted with the hygine of such items.
The mask or figure the collecter is looking for should be old, because
to find good and used old pieces is the aim of hunting african masks and
figures. Therefore textiles and fibers of the objects should be old too.
But the problem is, that textiles due to the climate conditions in
africa rot faster than the wood of the objects. Sometimes the cloth of
the used items is dirty too. If the mask or figure is not absolultely
safe in respect of hygiene one can only buy such an objeckt with the
intention of eliminating the textile. If the mask or figure was placed
in the living -or exhibitionroom of a collector or a gallery one can
trust the textiles.
If you want to eliminate the cloth of a bought piece later, or if you
want to accept it, you must know what you are buying and what is
beneath the textiles or woven fibers.
Lift carefully the cloth were it is loose or try to shift the cords of
fibers, to get a look at places protected before. Than you will find
that either there is no change in the condition of the patina or there
is a change. If you can see no change of the surface most probably the
cloth or cord is later applied . This raises the question, what is the
purpose of the decoration. Is it fun or is it the aim to distract . To
distract from what- you have to find out.
The other result of finding changes at the places hidden before by cords
or cloth needs a judgement too. All figures and masks, especially if
they were not protected in a shrine, change the surface by the smoke in
the african houses, by feeding ceremonies or exposing the objects
outdoors. The transitions at the border of covered and not covered
parts can be attributed as belonging to a naturel procedure. But if
there is a change originated by color, mud or something else the alarm
clock is ringing.
Twextiles and cords are very often decorative attributes of african asks and figures, but before enjoying them they should be looked upon as an alarm clock. Anyway, do you know that obesity doesn’t affect African people? If you are fat, you might need to take weight loss pills to become as slim as most African women