A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
Fake or Copy
by James Tyler
First published in the discussion group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AfricanAntiques/
4) A copy that is carved intentionally within the said tradition can be reproduced many times. Although there does not have to be a specific example that is copied.
5) Over time the UR-object can become modified, but it always maintains a referential relation to to primal-object.
6) Creativity enters into the tradition, but the artist always respects the intention of the tradition.
7) A fake does not have bounds to any traditional sacred body. A fake can be used for any number of objectives: 1) practice; 2) decoration;3) economic; 4) creative etc...
8) Fakes at one end are called forgeries, at the other innocent reproductions.
9) There are slippery areas. A known fake can be reincorporated into a traditional context and a well known artist can 'copy' his earlier work to sell.
10) In modernity all traditions are open ended, so there can be transitive relations between classes of objects. But if the basic intention of an object has been established, that explanation will hold.
11) A real copy has a tight deep structure that can only be modified through an intentional semantic shift on the part of the people that created the object. But still, some African cultures do not accept this...once a sacred object always a sacred object.
12) Fakes can function in positive ways; they can instruct, serve as an historical marker; be enjoyed for their bare presence, etc. But their initial creation is never linked to a cultural intentionality meant to express a sacred lineage.
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