african masks

A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

African Art books I like | Genuine African Masks

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Heidelberg, 1 March 2007, All images taken by a German friend.

One commentary from a visitor: 

"Oh look, this is one of the moooost
beautiful examples for modern African tribal art"

This is what a German friend wrote me:

Hi David,

I visited the opening of the Heidelberg exhibition last Sunday. I smuggled
this german "Gartenzwerg" into the exhibition room in protest against this
sales-exhibition. See pictures. In this exhibition the
objects from the private collection are fakes - no doubt. 

But there are some
really good old objects from the Portheim-Museum - like this nail-fetish
(not my Gartenzwerg ;-) --> see picture. And thats really the problem with
this exhibition. Now it`s known that there are fakes in this exhibition and
some self-appointed specialists begin to find the originals for fake. It`s
incredible what Pavaloi expects from the visitors.

By the way, in the newspapers is written about a "wonderful exhibition".
Nobody wrights about the opening when Pavaloi was encircled from collectors
and peoples from other german museums. It was not easy for Pavaloi .-)



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More pieces on view:

Please send your comments on the pieces in the discussion group (move over the image to read the nr, click to enlarge) 
African Antiques group English

I like the Nuna-Dogon Mask below ;-)
This happens when a Ouagadougou sculptor makes a wedding gift for a Dogon
man who married a Nuna woman ... or so...

Heidelberg 4.jpg (36174 bytes)Heidelberg 1.jpg (47097 bytes)Heidelberg 2.jpg (43900 bytes) Heidelberg 3.jpg (23073 bytes) Heidelberg 5.jpg (32479 bytes)Heidelberg 6.jpg (38216 bytes)Heidelberg 7.jpg (39646 bytes)

voelkerkunde museum heidelberg

Bad Museum of the month shows fakes and old pieces mixed together

Völkerkundemuseum, Hauptstraße 235, 69117 Heidelberg (Plan)
Öffnungszeiten: Mi-Sa 14-18 Uhr, So & Feiertag 11-18 Uhr

Tel. 06221/22067 Fax 914370
Tel. 06221/914372

All the decorative pieces can be seen at

by David Norden 26 February 2007

LOOK AT ME I AM A FAKE EXHIBITED AT THE VOELKERKUNDE MUSEUM HEIDELBERG !!!! Faked restoration tries to give the idea the piece has been tribally restored Image removed on publisher request view All the decorative pieces can be seen at

The Heidelberg Museum in Germany has a new exhibition called "Kunst aus Afrika". 

Last year they had also an exhibition about Gabun Art

It is incredible to see that the Museum director  Dr. Margareta Pavaloi is doing as if here nose is bleeding, and that she doesn't know the pieces are recent counterfeits of known African Art pieces. I called her last year about her Gabon exhibition and she told me that she isn't the expert on African Art. I told her she should take contact with the known experts in the field on Gabonese art and even gave her a list of known experts.

But this year she did even worse: She looked in her reserves and mixed the Museum  pieces with the faked items, and even did not mention witch ones where collected a long time ago from those recent .

The catalogue is this year also produced with detailed and clear pictures, but the description of the pieces as last year makes you think it are all old pieces. If you need a catalogue from clear fake pieces for 100 € you will find the copy and paste link below the page.

When you don't know a thing about African Art you think everything is authentic.

This kind of exhibition is setup just for commercial reasons, and the fact that an official Museum is giving its caution is destroying the work from all the other Museums conservators


Lets hope that the "Museum Direktorin" with get more insight next year and stop working with Peter de Boer who is only importing atelier works directly from Africa and take contact with one or another Museum (Like the Rietberg ) to set up a new team !
She certainly got the attention she deserved, hopefully next year it will be for better reasons.
David Norden
P.S.: Mail the BAD taste Museum Direktorin of the month : Dr. Margareta Pavaloi

The self named experts who did this shameless exhibition (Do not ask them for serious work - the only one who worked seriously was the photographer ):

Dr. Cees op´t Land, cultural anthropologist, curator emeritus
African art Museum voor Volkenkunde Rotterdam;
Dr. Bernd Leicht, Heidelberg, cultural anthropologist;

All the decorative pieces can be seen at

Die schöpferische Kraft Afrikas hat nicht nur zu kultureller Mannigfaltigkeit geführt, sondern spiegelt sich auch in reichen künstlerischen Ausdrucksformen wieder.
Die Ausstellung zeigt Falsche Masken, Figuren und counterfeited Ritual objekte aus West- wie auch Äquatorial- und Zentralafrika. Vielfalt, Umfang und Art der Zusammenstellung erlauben hierbei einen tiefen Einblick in das kreative und expressive Kunstschaffen vieler afrikanischer Ethnien.
Zu der Ausstellung liegt ein Katalog vor 100 € :

25. Februar 2007 - 15. Juli 2007

related articles : 

Fake Gabun ! by Lorenz Homberger . Contrary to the temptation! An appeal for a new dialogue among museums and collectors, scholars, and dealers 

African Antiques newsletter March 2007





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In this section:

African art books

The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

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