MERGING CULTURES THE IMPACT OF TRADE AND TRAVEL ON TRIBAL ART
T R I B A L A R T L O N D O N
Exhibitors Bryan Reeves - UK Cordelia Donohoe - UK David MalĂk - UK Emmanuel Ameloot - Belgium Frans Faber - Netherlands Ian Shaw - UK Jeremy Sabine - South Africa Kenn MacKay - UK Kezhia Orege - UK Mark Eglinton - USA
Rob Temple - Belgium Sam Handbury Madin - UK
Introduction Merging Cultures: The impact of trade and travel on Tribal Art explores the
development of trade routes used to move items such as gold and salt through Africa and to the rest of the world, and in contrast the impact of European imports into tribal communities. The exhibition will not only explore trade through physical goods but the movement and exchange of ideas, artistic inspiration and religious doctrines.
The exhibition Merging Cultures examines the beginnings of global industries, cultural individuality and development in the face of outside influence. It
portrays the power of commodities and celebrates centuries of explorers and merchants who opened up the world.
African Madonna. Makonde culture. Southern Tanzania and Northern Mozambique. Early 20th century. H - 73 cm. ÂŁ4800.
Konkomba Ceremonial head adornment. Northern Ghana. First half 20th century. Ex private collection UK. H - 82 cm. ÂŁ1250.
North African/Moroccan. Silver pendant cross. Height 9.5cms. Width 9 cms. weight 110 grams. Â£650.
UNITED KINGDOM email@example.com www.azultribe.com
Silver Jewish Khamsas. Morocco - Meknes or Fez region. 19th century. H10cm. Â£750.
D A V I D M A L Í K
Baule (Baoulé) mask. Ivory Coast. Wood. 23 x 17 cm. Late 19th / Early 20th Century. Provenance: Private collection, London, UK. £6700.
UNITED KINGDOM firstname.lastname@example.org www.davidmalikarts.com
Baule (BaoulĂŠ) mask. Ivory Coast. Wood. 25 x 16 cm. Late 19th / Early 20th Century. Provenance: Private collection, London, UK. Price per request.
Mende ‘Niayekoi’ Mask. Sierra Leone. Early 20th. Wood and Trade Mirror. 68 cmx 26 cm.
Royal regalia â€™Pomaâ€™. Asante,Ghana. Wood, handhamerd goldleaves, gold
wire tags and chain, black pigment, iron ending. Early 20th Century. Height figure: 41 cm / with stick: 186 cm Wide: 20.5 cm. POA.
Stool from the Maroon. Saramaka river, Suriname. Wood, brass tacks. Height 32 cm, Length 42 cm. First quarter 20th century. Â£1150.
NETHERLANDS email@example.com www.fransfaber.com
Dayak ancestor figure. Hampatong. Kalimantan, Indonesia Iron wood. Height 150 cm. First quarter 20th century. ÂŁ6500.
Ashante gold prestige ring in the shape of a Turtle. 19th century. POA.
Ewe textile. Volta region of Ghana. Mid 20th Century. POA.
JEREMY SABINE SOUTH AFRICA firstname.lastname@example.org
Beaded wooden 'gun'. Ndebele. Early 20th Century. Â£285.
Native America Plains pipe bag. Sioux circa. last quarter 19th century. Buck skin, decorated with porcupine quill and imported European glass beads. ÂŁ1250.
UNITED KINGDOM email@example.com www.tribalartantiques.com
Ba Congo Ba kongo Colonial Staff head. 19th century. Height: 20 cm, 8 inches. Provenance: Private collection Brussels. ÂŁ650.
Ewe men’s Cloth from Ghana. 19th century. Dimensions L271cmxW166 cm £3500.
UNITED KINGDOM firstname.lastname@example.org www.kezhiafields.com
A pair of Kamba Stools. Kenya. Wood, glass beads. Mid 20th century. H 30 cm x W 36 cm. H 30 cm x W 30 cm. Â£950.
Zulu/Xhosa. Knobkerrie. South Africa. 19th century. Wood and copper wire. 54cm. Provenance. James Stephanson, NY Private collection, UK. POA.
Tsonga headrest and bowl. S.Africa / Mozambique. 1st quarter 20th Century. 22" / 56cms long. POA.
BELGIUM email@example.com www.robtemple.com
Ashanti procession group. Carved by Osei Bonsu (1900-1977). 1st half 20th Century 16.25" / 41cms long. POA.
SAM HANDBURY MADIN
Shona Snuff Bottle. Zimbabwe / Mozambique. 19th Century. 19.5 cm high , 4 cm wide. Ex private UK collection. Â£850.00.
UNITED KINGDOM firstname.lastname@example.org www.handburytribalart.com
South African Zulu Male Doll. Late 19th / early 20th Century. Good condition with restoration to the left foot. 19.5 cm high , 7 cm wide. Ex private UK collection. ÂŁ450.
THE 'EVIL EYE' By Cordelia Donohoe www.azultribe.com
‘Protective eye’ beads There is an idea that the belief in the evil eye originated in western Asia or India and spread from culture to culture through diffusion. Interestingly the phenomenon seems to have originated first with groups of shepherds who domesticated animals and competed for land with settled farmers, typical of Western Asia and the Mediterranean region beginning in Neolithic times. By contrast hunter gatherer societies do not seem to have placed the same importance on the protective eye talisman. With the invention or introduction of glass into Western Asia, Egypt and Europe one of the first objects created was the eye bead. Eye spot beads were the earliest type. They appear as glass drops or as rings impressed into the glass matrix in New Kingdom Egypt. Stratified eyes were popular with the Egyptians, Phoenicians and Chinese through at least the first millennium BC.
Gao in Mali is historically the capitol of the Songhay Empire. It is located along the river Niger between the Sahara and the Savanna. The Gao area excavations have yielded valuable information on some of West Africa’s earliest trading networks. In the early 1970s then later excavations found evidence from the seventh to eleventh centuries, which precedes the Songhay Empire. Evidence of glass bead making has been found as well as traded glass from elsewhere. Excavations in the 1990s revealed the presence of imported objects including beads of glass, carnelian and terracotta, hippo ivory and copper – all evidence of Gao’s wealth and its role as a center for trans Sahara trade. In the remains of elite and early mosque buildings exotic goods such as glass beads, along with weights, vessels and gold have been found.
According to the testimony of geographer Muhammad al Idrisi (1099-1165) strings of glass beads were a key commodity transported across the Sahara. And its within the Islamic faith that belief in the evil eye and the wearing of protective eye bead amulets have the strongest representation, no one, rich or poor is safe from its wrathful stare. Ancient eye beads were probably introduced during the spread of Islam, although they may date back to the days of the Roman traders. A preference for blue beads, particularly blue eye beads appears to be of historical and cross cultural significance. The majority of ancient eye beads have a blue matrix with white, yellow or blue eyes. The history of eye beads reminds us that beads have always functioned in culture as more than adornment. Worn by people for over 5000 years, this class of beads reminds us, perhaps more than any other, that it reaches across a wide range of cultures and a great span of time. 3
Image 1 and 3 - A strand of 56 blue Islamic eye beads excavated eye beads found in Mali, specifically in the caravan towns of Timbuktu, Mopti, Djenne and Gao they are between 1000-1400 years old. Image 2 - A strand of 49 ancient Islamic folded glass, mirror, mosaic and eye beads found in Mali 1000-1400 years old. All beads for sale at www.azultribe.com
'Gold: A West African Storyâ€™ BY VICTORIA ROGERS
Mansa Musa, the 14th Century West African ruler is notably contested as the richest man who ever lived (worth an approximate ÂŁ400 billion today), riches he acquired by monopolising the gold, copper markets and trade routes through West Africa into the North and Europe.
In 1324, Mansa Musa the ruler of Mali set out on the 4000-mile pilgrimage to Mecca. He took with him 80 camels, each carrying 300 pounds of gold. 60,000 men;12,000 of these men were slaves whom he had dressed in silk from Persia. He was the first West African ruler to take on such an arduous journey and as the Muslim faith dictated he gifted vast amounts of gold to people he encountered on his travels. His generosity was such that it caused the price of gold in Egypt to drop creating economic instability in the middle east for many years after his visit.
His wealth was estimated at approximately 400 billion over taking any other as the wealthiest person of all time.
He brought philosophers, artists and architects from around the world to West Arica and encouraged and funded arts and architecture, he also funded literature and built schools, libraries and mosques. His extreme wealth was the result of a series of events and advantageous circumstances, starting on the rivers of the Niger where farmers under threat from roving hunters banded together. West Africa was abundant in both Salt and Gold initially traded and controlled by the Berbers of North Africa. However as alliances grew in West Africa and with the introduction of camels to the region, transporting large quantities of gold and salt across the Sahara became possible and the focus of power shifted. West Africans began to take control of these two key commodities spurned on by demand from the North and onwards Europe and there began the growth of three great empires. The first of the three early African empires was Ghana, which lasted approximately from 300-1200 Century. Afterwards the Mali empire existed from 1200-1500 Century. Finally, the Songahi, the last of these three great empires, remained from 1464-1591 Century.
A pivotal point in the development of the wealth of these empires was determined by Sundiata Mari Jara. As a young warrior 3 he performed well on the battlefield fighting off opposing tribes, capturing the gold producing areas of Bambok and Bure and extending the corners of the existing empire. Sundiata Mari Jara went on to be appointed the first Mansu (equivalent of Emperor) of Mali and ensured stability by appointing leaders in each provenance creating a sense of independent identity. However, the most significant policy he implemented was the taxation of all goods both imported and exported to the kingdom, this was the seed that Mansu Musa’s wealth was sown from. Islam had swept across West Africa introduced by Arab traders and while Mali’s rulers had converted, they did not encourage gold producers to convert to Islam, since prospecting and production of the metal was dependent on rituals with the earth, water and the spiritual ancestors that existed within. In the fourteenth century, cowrie shells were introduced from the eastern coast as local currency, but gold and salt continued to be the principal mediums of long-distance trade. When Mansu Musa came to the throne in the fourteenth century there was unrest in Mali caused by the over spending of his predecessor. Mansu Musa’s reign was a brief 25 years which makes what he accomplished all the more impressive.
Apart from his legendary pilgrimage he created stability in the empire by securing the allegiance of his military placing high ranking members in roles at his royal court, he
developed Timbuktu, Djenne, and Gao as key trading posts especially for gold, salt and shells and commissioned the building of mosques and universities. The Sankoré University, (capable of housing 25,000 students) contained one of the worlds largest libraries with roughly 1,000,000 manuscripts on its shelves. A mosque and university built under Mansu Musa’s rule still stand in Timbuktu today. The Akan a co-existing tribe continued the trade of gold through until the 19th century owning principle goldmines. Gold was a pillar of their tribal history conveyed in the legend of the Ashanti (a sub group of the Akan) golden stool which was supposed to have descended from the heavens on the request of a high priest and landed in the lap of Osei Tutu anointing him as the first Ashanti King. In order to carry out trade more efficiently with the Portuguese, Spanish and later the Dutch, the Akan of West Africa created gold weights used to weigh out gold dust; these weights are evidence of the impact and importance of gold in West Africa over thousands of years which earned the area the nickname of the Gold Coast. Images: 1. Ashante 19th Century gold ring 2. Map of Mansa Musa journey to Mecca and trade routes 3. Royal regalia ’Poma’ Asante,Ghana
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Clemens, Jayna, "Impact of Colonialism on Contemporary African Art" (2017). Africana Studies Student. Research Conference. 4. June 2020 https://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/africana_studies_conf/2016/001/4 The BBC, (Date Unknown). West African Kingdoms—Mali., from The Story of Africa June 2020 Web site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ worldservice/africa/features/storyofafrica/4chapter3.shtml The BBC, (Date Unknown). West African Kingdoms. The Story of Africa June 2020 Web site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/africa/ features/storyofafrica/4chapter4.shtml Hooker, Richard (1996). Civilizations in Africa--Songhay, from World Civilizations June 2020 Web site: http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/ CIVAFRCA/SONGHAY.HTM Metropolitan Museum of Art, (2000). Empires of the Western Sudan, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Web June 2020 site: http:// www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/wsem/hd_wsem.htm (2000) Western Sudan, 500–1000 A.D; Western Sudan, 1000 - 1400 A.D; Western Sudan 1400 - 1600 A.D. Metropolitan Museum of Art Web site: June 2020 http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ht/?period=06®ion=afu MacDonald, K.C. (Date Unknown). The Road to Timbuktu from The Wonders of the African World. June 2020 Web site: http:// www.pbs.org/wonders/Episodes/Epi5/5_wondr4.htm Dr. Joseph A. Bailey II, MD., FACS (2015) The Ankh of African Tradition. June 2020 Website https://theievoice.com/the-ankh-of-africantradition/#:~:text=Thereafter%2C%20the%20Ankh%20became%20known,The%20Ankh%20symbolizes%20many%20things. Rotondo-McCord, J. (1998). Mali: Introduction. From The Kingdoms on Medieval Sudan Xavier University of Louisiana June 2020 Web site: http://webusers.xula.edu/jrotondo/Kingdoms/welcome.html Hecht, Johanna. “Ivory and Boxwood Carvings, 1450–1800.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 2020. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/boxw/hd_boxw.htm