Re: Tribal Repairs

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Posted by Steve Price on April 15, 1999 at 09:20:17:

In Reply to: Tribal Repairs posted by Marla Mallett on April 15, 1999 at 08:28:54:

Dear Marla,

I have a couple of soumak pieces with crochet-type repairs done in colors that indicate much later dates than those in the original. They are kind of wonky, and while I turn them so the repairs don't show if the pieces are displayed, I do show them to visitors with any interest in textiles.

A dealer offered me an intact pair of Caucasian saddlebags with a white sock sewn into the bridge as a repair. It did have a certain charm, but the aesthetic of the piece was sufficiently disturbed by the sock that I passed on it.

There's a similar selection phenomenon among African art collectors. Certain kinds of stabilization of the wood (often cracked or rotted) is acceptable, and that is the kind that the original owners in the tribal setting would have used. Nice, neat repairs done by a skilled woodworker are unacceptable.

Interesting, and speaks to the issue of what it is that collectors want of their pieces.

Steve Price

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