Category Archive 'Primitive Art'

20 Oct 2021

Who Knows? Maybe Those Spirits Are Happier in a Denver Museum

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Vigango (that’s the plural, the singular is kikango) are the tombstone-equivalents of the Mijikenda tribe residing on the southeastern coast of Kenya. From the viewpoint of the natives, these simple effigies embodied the spirits of their deceased ancestors. On the other hand, just like lots of other examples of primitive art forms, these abstract anthropomorphic figures have, in later years, been adopted by the Trans-Atlantic Bourgeois Bohemians as trophies and status symbols testifying to their possessors’ affluence, highly developed aesthetic sensibilities, and sophisticated sympathy with exotic Third World peoples.

In their original tropical environment, wooden vigango simply sat there in local graveyards and were allowed to rot away, sometimes being replaced at a new location when the village moved by a second generation effigy called a kibao (plural: vibao).

The arrival of a lucrative international market for vigango naturally resulted in the removal of loads of them to the West along with their consequent collecting, connoisseurship, and conservation.

But we live in the Age of the Groveling GooGoo, bent on signaling his moral superiority and worthiness of membership in the Community of Fashion Elite by apologizing for Civilization’s alleged sins and treating the simple-minded superstitions of the primitives with a deference he’s would never remotely be willing to grant to his own inherited Religion, Culture, Country, or Civilization. Read the rest of this entry »

09 Dec 2007

Blood Found in Surface of Mali Sculptures


Scientists in France are reporting for the first time that sculptors from the fantastically wealthy ancient Empire of Mali — once the source of almost half the world’s gold — used blood to form the beautiful patina, or coating, on their works of art.

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