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A Guide To Buying African Sculptures And Related Artwork

African sculptures displayed at the National Museum of China
African sculptures displayed at the National Museum of China

Africa has long been an abundant source of inspiration for many people outside of her shores. But nobody is more inspired to make artistic tributes than the people who live within her very borders. And the best thing about it is that the art world is beginning to take notice, especially from serious dealers and collectors looking for the next big thing.

Like considering works from other regions, you should be aware of the distinctive signs that are indicative of African artwork. For example, you must know the differences between giant masks and African sculptures since these will influence your decision in buying a prospective piece. This handy guide below will fill you in on what you should know before deciding to purchase your first piece.

Diversity matters. The continent is comprised of many unique countries, and that means no two pieces will look the same. The things you see in Kenya or Madagascar will obviously be different when you go to other places like Egypt or Zimbabwe. Do your research and look up on the differences that each country has when it comes to the art that they produce.

Brush up on the categories. Seeing stuff in museums or in movies and TV shows will likely give you an idea of what to expect in reality. You might be interested in decorating your walls with gigantic tribal masks or adorning a corner of your room with a tall totem sculpture to add some interest. There are different types of art to choose from, so you should choose based on what you like.

Know the materials used. Quite often, you will notice that the pieces created are made from natural materials which are often rare. Artists will often use precious stones or a coveted type of wood that grows only in a specific area. This will help you understand how certain works are priced accordingly.

Respect the backstory. The continent has an extensive wealth of cultural aspects pertaining to ancient myths and legends. Many artisans use their regional histories to create pieces that tell those mythic stories in a tangible form. Be informed that anything you purchase has a deeper significance to it.

The gods are in the details. Artisans pride themselves on creating works that showcase their creative talents. Every intricate groove in a carving or every carefully handpainted brushstroke on a vase is something that should be lauded. Have some deep appreciation for this exceptional level of artistry.

Ascertain the provenance. If authenticity matters to you, then it is essential that you speak with the dealer if the work is truly from the artist who made it. Even in the art world, fakes are prevalent. Make sure that what you will be buying is an original item so your money is well spent.

Having an interest in arts and crafts made in Africa is good as it supports the locals who produce them on a regular basis. Not only are you helping the economy of a continent, but you are also appreciating a cultural aspect that is regarded as influential. With these guidelines, you can find some joy in amassing a sizable collection of your own.


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