Are your pieces museum quality? Are they fakes or mass-produced?!
All of our art was hand-crafted somewhere within the continent of Africa. Nothing is manufactured or cloned. For the majority of our items, we do not know the exact age of our pieces or where it was crafted. Yes, about 20% of our pieces are museum quality with patina and provenance. We are always transparent with each piece as to the authenticity and truth of the item. Some are indeed museum and collector quality. Others are contemporary, powerful, beautiful and one-of-a-kind, works-of-art. Please contact us for more info.
What is the average age of your pieces?
We do not know the exact age of our pieces. We have a lot of old pieces and they have the patina to prove it. Our doors, ladders, and a few others are known antiques. If you live in Portland, OR, we suggest you visit our Flagship warehouse in Clackamas to see the pieces in person and get the inside scoop on the piece from Dave or another knowledgeable DAA team member. We guarantee items to be as claimed. Therefore, we cannot promise the age of our pieces, but rather we allow our customers’ imaginations, as well as our own, to decide an approximate age based on the cultural, historic and symbolic information we have on the piece.
Are your "tourist pieces" newly made?
We do carry some pieces in the tourist category that were most likely made in the last 20 years. Again, unless expertly evaluated as old and tribe-used, we won’t make a claim as such.
The good thing about this is that you may find a “prize” for cheap, if you know how to look.
Do you have any older pieces? Anything that was used in the tribes for rituals?
We have many pieces that are very old, with provenance. We paid dearly for most of these, so if you’re in the market for high-dollar items, we definitely have them. We have an entire floor of great old pieces like this.
How should I clean my African art piece?
With this kind of art, the “dirty and used” increases the value. We don’t recommend cleaning it with anything more than merely dusting it or wiping it down with a damp cloth.
How should I clean my African textile?
For textiles, we recommend washing on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Larger or more delicate textiles will most likely need dry cleaning. Very old, fragile pieces might not be able to be cleaned at all. We don’t recommend washing your textile with other lighter fabrics, as the dye could bleed onto those fabrics. If you need guidance, contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help.
Does Discover African Art clean the art pieces before selling?
There are a few schools of thought when it comes to African art collectors and whether they clean the art or not. There are some collectors who “dirty” or “roughen up” the art to make it look more authentic, which does not bother some customers. Discover African Art does not do this.
Our cleaning practices fall in line with what many French collectors like to do: clean, wax and polish the art to make it look its best. We generally clean the wooden art with Murphy’s wood oil soap and use Renaissance micro-crystalline wax, which gives the wood a nice glow without damaging or changing the wood.
In rare cases, when provenance can be identified by the age and patina of the piece, we do not clean it in order to preserve its value and historical significance.
How can I display or mount my piece?
We sell quality mounts and stands for both small and large pieces. We also sell steel mounts that are more economical and longer lasting. DAA also makes custom mounts, stands and shelving that fit the specific needs of our customers and their African art. A consultation with customers beforehand is necessary for us to build a custom mount or stand for your piece. At this time, we do not do wall mounts, but can provide some basic guidance in this area. You can see our mounts and learn more about them on our Mounts Page.
What is the process for items that require crating, freight or DIM weight?
Once an order is placed on our site for an item that requires crating or freight, we contact the customer before charging their card to gather more information. Freight charges vary greatly depending on where the piece needs to be shipped; if it needs a custom crate; or if it has a DIM weight to take into consideration. Freight items generally take 7-14 days to arrive at its final destination, but this can vary depending on what carrier the customer chooses to use. See more information on shipping here.