My African Terracotta Workout Buddies.

I prefer my office cubicle to be clean, bare, and sterile. No family pictures, no degrees or certificates dressed to the nines in fancy molding or mummified laminations. The Madeba inspired reference to quotes from Invictus, and the Henry Thoreau quotes from ‘Walden’ will never again grace my workplace abode (long story, different blog).

At the mancave it’s just a little different. Here I need the complexity of tribal figures, and a cacophony of cultural rhythm and rhymes to pare the pace of my racing mind, and take the edge off the solitude that Netflix can’t totally eviscerate.

There are three components that help me stick to my daily ‘core’ workout routine.

The Oba corner bronze – this is my wake up latte – ‘no pain no gain’ inspiration mixed with delusional aspiration. There is something about Old Benin that seemed unfulfilled, yet had so much potential.

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Benin – Bust of Young Oba

The living room Igbo Ikenga (aka the Kunin Ikenga) –  provides the stubborn motif, mixed with a slight taste of a ‘take no prisoners’ visual.

Kunin Ikenga

[E1] The Kunin Ikenga – from the collection of Myron Kunin

The African Terracotta are the most interesting – now the odd couple, but hopefully the audience will be expanded to three in the near future (don’t judge me).

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Workout Buddies – African Terracota (Djenne)

The visage presented by my African Terracotta workout buddies is totally non-judgemental, and allows me to fall from lofty goals on occasion (like the ‘hot cross bun six pack’ vs the six pack abs I strive for). They’re like the quiet cheerleader squad sans short skirts, and frills. They recognize the grind of old age and just encourage me to keep it moving on a day to day basis.

 

 

Notes on African Terracotta

These notes provide some historical perspective on the age of sub-saharan African terracotta, location of origin, cultural traditions, and pricing. While developing an African Tribal Art collection the main source for great older pieces are auctioned collections whose owners have developed their own specific sub-collections.

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Map of the Ancient Civilizations of Nigeria

Source: Bernard de Grunne; The Birth of Art in Black Africa, 1998 pp.19.

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Nok head fragment.

Description : Jos Plateau region, Central Nigeria, West Africa, 500 BCE to 200 CE. Terracotta with heavy temper and remains of a finer burnished surface slip. 6-1/2″ H. Mounted on steel base. Classical Nok terracotta was first found in 1943 deep within a tin mine, near the present-day town of Nok, situated on the Jos Plateau in central Nigeria. The exact use of these portrait-like figures has yet to be discovered; none of these sculptures has ever been found in situ and any remains of ancient structures are practically non-existent today. However, it has been suggested the hollow terracotta figures, which this head came from, were ancestral effigies kept in shrine houses. This hollow terracotta example is made of a coarse, quartz-tempered clay. The features were hand-modeled and show a remarkable sophistication for such an early date in Iron Age, Sub-Saharan Africa. The style of Nok facial features shows similarity to more historic and contemporary bronze and wooden sculptures found among the Benin and Yoruba peoples of Nigeria. It has been said these ancient figures represent the beginnings of black African art.

Provenance: Eugene Behlen, once head of the dept. of exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, for 25 years. Acquired prior to 1987.

Estimate: $3,00-$4,000

Source : Artemis Gallery, 2014

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Djenne Sculpture

Female Figure with Four Children

12th–17th century

Terracotta

35 x 21.5 x 18.5 cm (13 3/4 x 8 7/16 x 7 5/16 in.)

Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection

2006.51.116

Geography: 

Made in Inland Niger Delta, Sahel, Mali

Culture: 

Djenne

Classification: 

Sculpture

Status: 

On view (2015)

Bibliography: 

Warren M. Robbins and Nancy Ingram Nooter, African Art in American Collections (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989), 67, fig. 41.

Susan Vogel and Jerry L. Thompson, Closeup: Lessons in the Art of Seeing African Sculpture from an American Collection and the Horstmann Collection, exh. cat. (New York: The Center for African Art, 1990), 128–29, fig. 55.

“Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006): 222.

Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2007), 178, pl. 162.

Frederick John Lamp, Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2012), 66, 134, ill.

Bernard de Grunne, Djenné-Jeno: 1000 Years of Terracotta Statuary in Mali (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2014), fig. 12.

Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery

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Dakakari sculpture

Description : Dakakari culture, Nigeria, ca. 19th to 20th century CE. This large, hollow pottery figure shows a four-legged, horned animal (maybe a hartebeest?) with ears erect and a collar of some kind around its neck; it stands perched atop a bulbous rough sphere. Pottery of this kind was observed in Dakakari graveyards through the 1940s, but it recalls that of the Sokoto (among others), the ancestors of the Dakakari who lived 2000 years ago in the same part of Nigeria. Ethnographic accounts say that some graves had up to fifteen pieces of pottery like this placed around them; these were frequently broken and a description from a Dakakari graveyard in 1944 by a visiting Englishman laments the scattered pottery around the area — but this destruction was certainly intentional. Dakakari women were the potters and passed their skills down via their daughters.

Size: 7.5″ W x 26″ H (19 cm x 66 cm).

Provenance: Ex. Peter Arnovick Collection

Estimate: $700-$800

Source : Artemis Gallery, 2015

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Katsina Head

Description : Africa, Northeast Nigeria, Katsina, ca. 1st to 4th century CE. An ancient Katsina terracotta janus (double-headed) figure that once belonged to a statue that would have measured approximately 15 to 30 inches tall. Both sides of this piece depict a bearded male. Very few Katsina janus heads have been documented, according to scholar Claire Boullier. What’s more, the shared stylings of these heads demonstrates that they were actually created by a single sculptor which corroborates the progressive idea that Katsina sculptors possessed individualized styles almost 2000 years ago. This said, the sculptor still adhered to stylistic rules embraced by the Katsina culture such as the globular head form, the half-closed eyes, short nose, and pointed chin–all characteristics adhered to by most Katsina sculptors. Additional intriguing features include the perforated ear plugs, pronounced unibrow, parted lips with slightly jutting lower lip, and elaborately incised coiffure with two applied nodules over each forehead. The visages of this piece also show traits akin to Nok figural sculpture such as elongated heads, high smooth foreheads, and elaborate fanciful coiffures, as Katsina visual culture was most certainly influenced by the Classical Nok culture. Scholar Claire Boullier also points to similarities between Katsina and Sokoto sculptures that may prompt further exploration of the networks between these ancient African cultures. For discussions of a similar Katsina janus head see Claire Boullier, “African Terra Cottas. A Millinary Heritage, musee Barbier-Mueller and Somogy (eds), 2008: cat. 81 p. 190.

Size: 7.25″ L x 6.5″ W x 7.25″ H (18.4 cm x 16.5 cm x 18.4 cm)

Provenance: Ex Peter Arnovick Collection, Los Altos CA

Estimate: $700-$1,200

Source : Artemis Gallery, 2015

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Tenenku Sculpture

Description : Africa, Tenenku culture, Mali, ca. 13th to 16th centuries CE. This is a seated terracotta humanoid figure on a slight platform; the figure has elongated facial features, bracelets and anklets. It appears to be female but may also be interpreted as having both male and female characteristics. The Tenenku people, part of the Malian Empire, are known for their powerful anthropomorphic and zoomorphic sculptures. The Islamic Malian Empire lasted for four hundred years; the emperors traced their ancestry back to Bilal, Mohammed’s muezzin, who was thought to have journeyed to the west and settled the area of modern day Mali. The empire had consistent contact with the rest of the Islamic world, and history records visits by emperors to Mecca. Interestingly to us, the Malian Empire often absorbed smaller cultures, like the Tenenku and their rough contemporaries the Bura, without changing their artistic styles — so a piece like this one was made around the same time as the completely different looking Bura grave markers! Unfortunately at this time we do not know the function of these large, heavy pieces of pottery — but hopefully with more research, we will soon find out!

Size: 12″ L x 9.2″ W x 18.75″ H (30.5 cm x 23.4 cm x 47.6 cm)

Provenance: Ex-Dr. Peter Arnovick Collection

Estimate: $1,200-$1,500

Source : Artemis Gallery, 2015

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Sokoto Sculpture

Description : Sokoto, modern day Nigeria, ca. 500 BCE to 200 CE. This is a hollow terracotta shrine figure showing a full body, with the head larger proportionally than the rest and a cylindrical body; it is a male figure with arms and legs curled, wearing elaborately coiffed hair and a beard. Sokoto state in modern day northwest Nigeria is in the Niger River Valley, at the confluence of ancient trade routes and roughly contemporary with the Nok culture to its south. Very little is known of the ancient Sokoto culture; Bayard Rustin, who originally collected the Sokoto collection for the Yale University Art Gallery, recorded that most terracotta pieces like this one were found in large manmade mounds. Characteristic Sokoto figures are large, hollow, thin-walled, and low-fired human figures with heavy eyebrows and beards. They are made of a rough earthenware mixed with quartz and mica, surfaced with an ocher or mica schist slip (some of which has worn through on this figure). This slip would have been burnished with a smooth pebble.

Size: 5.75″ L x 8.75″ W x 20.2″ H (14.6 cm x 22.2 cm x 51.3 cm)

Provenance: Ex. Peter Arnovick Collection

Estimate: $800-$1,000

Source : Artemis Gallery, 2015

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Koma Sculpture

Description : West Africa, North Ghana, Koma, ca. 16th century CE. A female pottery figure elaborately detailed with traits characteristic of the Koma figurines including an elongated head with large coffee-bean shaped eyes, as well as other bold features, especially a pronounced chin, and stylized coiffure. She is further adorned with an applied necklace/collar, loin cloth, armlets, and bracelets. Striking too are her extremely long fingers, pronounced breasts, and “outie” navel. Koma figures were first discovered in the 1980s during archaeological fieldwork directed by Professor Ben Kankpeyeng (University of Ghana). Created by a previously little-understood people in what is known as Koma Land, the figures are often fragmentary. This example, however, is in excellent condition. Although there is a paucity of literature on how such figurines were used, scholars have suggested they were used in special ceremonies and rituals in which the spirits of the ancestors were invoked. This piece has a concave receptacle atop her head, and it is possible that liquid offerings or libations were poured into it. Some have associated this practice with healing rituals.

Size: 3.25″ W x 12″ H (8.3 cm x 30.5 cm)

Provenance: Ex Peter Arnovick Collection, Los Altos CA

Estimate: $500-$700

Source : Artemis Gallery, 2015

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Igbo Terracotta

Description : West Africa, Niger River Delta, Igbo, ca. late 19th to early 20th century CE. A fascinating terracotta shrine effigy created by the Igbo peoples of the Niger River Delta, its unusual form elaborately adorned at the top end with two human visages with bold coffee bean shaped eyes and scarification marks upon their foreheads beneath what appear to be two beak-like forms, the opening between holding an old wick. Across the body of the vessel are two magnificently modeled salamanders and cross-hatched designs perhaps representing additional scarification marks.

Size: 3.5″ W x 7.875″ H (8.9 cm x 20 cm)

Provenance: Ex Peter Arnovick Collection, Los Altos CA

Estimate: $400-$600

Source : Artemis Gallery, 2015

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Bura Terracotta

Description : Africa, Bura /Asinda / Sikka area, present day Niger and Burkina Faso, ca. 1000 to 1500 CE. This is a thick-walled, smooth terracotta cylindrical figure with three nubbins representing sexual organs, a prominent nose, small mouth and eyes, and decorated hair. Unfortunately, little is known about the culture that lived in this area when this statue was made, because it was only recently discovered and there have been very few scientific excavations. What has been found are large cemeteries with impressive necropoli, which provide evidence that this was a wealthy, complex society. They buried their dead in conical urns, often topped with figures decorated with incised or stamped patterns like this one.

Size: 4.25″ L x 4.25″ W x 10.25″ H (10.8 cm x 10.8 cm x 26 cm)

Provenance: Ex-Dr. Peter Arnovick Collection, Los Altos, CA.

Estimate: $550-$650

Source : Artemis Gallery, 2015

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Akan Head.

Description : Ca. mid 19th century, Akan Tribe, head of female, used and placed at the grave site, measures 10″ tall.

Estimate: $500-$700

Source : Estates Unlimited, 2005

 

 

 

The Good, the Great and by default, the Ugly.

Good African tribal art should provoke wonder, both with regard to a level of expertise and with respect to an associated secondary role or function. The bar for the ‘great’ handle should further meet a standard of transcendental inspiration, forcing introspection of elemental themes of life, death, friendship, and love. It stands to reason therefore that collecting African tribal art would realistically result in a nightmarish quantity of inferior pieces as one better develops an appreciation of quality.

Consider the following shrine figure from the Yombe tribal tradition, displayed in the Metropolitan Museum’s 2015 exhibition Kongo: Power and Majesty.

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E1. Ancestral Shrine figure, seated female. Kongo peoples; Yombe group.

The pose is clearly deeply reflective. The carver has also cleverly and purposely excluded all signs our modern Kardashian drunk society would typically relate to physical sexual suggestion. What is left is an image of a person engaged in deep contemplation…. even acquiescence. The carver then uses the trails of black streaks to evoke the path of tears, and large focused downcast eyes are further in keeping with the conveyance of grief… but this is not a tale of unfathomable despair for the large rounded cheeks reflect youth (resilience), and the curls of the large beautifully formed lips are used to project maturity and the subtle power of femininity. The balance of opposites motif, combining youth, power, and restrained reflection is also a typical funerary motif used in Fang reliquaries, but with a masculine bias.

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E2. Yombe shrine figure.

This figure was once included in the central assemblage of an ancestral shrine (Nzo a Bakulu) used to mark the death of a Yombe chief. The shrine was constructed at the consecrated burial site. “These commemorative displays were maintained as acts of filial piety to strengthen ties to an influential ancestor and secure his protection”.[1]

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E3. Ancestral shrine (Nzo a Bakulu) for a Yombe Chief at Burial site, Lubuzi River region.

“These figures were sheltered in open-sided roofed structures that served to preserve their white pigment and protect the wood. White is the color of the other world, the spirit world, and kaolin, or white clay, is a common ingredient in ritual medicines. In simplified terms, white clay in this context is the opposite of life, which is present in the skin of a person and the soil of fertile land”.[2]

A figure representing the deceased would typically be flanked by one or more female figures in postures designed to invoke quiet reflection, while at the same time promoting core cultural norms, rituals, and tribal values.

[1] Lagamma, Alisa. Kongo – Power and Majesty. 2015 pp.168-170

[2] https://africa.si.edu/collections/view/objects/asitem/seealso@823/0t:state:flow=ead531c2-034f-4257-b75c-d9d1f8a66dca

E1.Photograph – copyright aplusafricanart.com; Ancestral shrine figure, NY exhib. (loan from Museum Rietberg, Zurich).

E2. Photograph – copyright aplusafricanart.com

E3. Photograph by Hector Deleval (Belgian, 1873-1953). Kongo – Power and Majesty. 2015 pp.168

Kongo Exhibit and the Djenne Diversion.

One fine Saturday evening (10/10/15) I managed to finally get to the Metropolitan Museum for an exhibition of Kongo Tribal art (Kongo: Power and Majesty). I considered myself fully armed, with my brand new 6S iPhone, and my trusty dinosaur of a Canon (EOS20D) SLR. At the entrance to the museum there were rows of trees breaking the concrete American monotony I have become used to which provided esthetic support to the entertaining fountain show.

Of course once inside (with voluntary donation offered) I took the circuitous route and first found myself in the ‘permanent display’ of African Tribal Art. The lone 13th century Djenne anthropomorphic male (H. 10 x W. 11 “) terracotta on display is pretty impressive.

Djenne terracotta - Metropolitan Museum of Art

[E1] Djenne terracotta – Metropolitan Museum of Art

“The first inhabitants of Djenné-Djono (a few kilometers from present-day Djenné) settled there as early as the 3rd century B.C.. The city of Djenné is built on an 88 hectare island between two branches of the Bani River, a tributary of the Niger”. [1] The town lies in the Inner Niger Delta area (a series of lakes, and floodplains located south of the Sahara desert), which is very different from the Niger delta which lies on the western border of Nigeria.

[E2] Djenne-map

[E2] Djenne-map

I recall trying to explain my appreciation for this subset of African Terracotta artform to a friend, and failing miserably. On further thought I realize a large part of the problem was trying to map the artistic concepts of Rhythm and Motion to a sculptural tradition that beautifully explored more abstract ideas of Emotion, Pain, and Containment.

[E3] Djenne terracotta - Metropolitan Museum of Art

[E3] Djenne terracotta – Metropolitan Museum of Art

Another intriguing aspect of the sculpture is the unnatural flexibility of the subject, and the pattern of raised deformations on the back.

[E4] Djenne terracotta - Metropolitan Museum of Art

[E4] Djenne terracotta – Metropolitan Museum of Art

“The bodies sometimes show heavy scarifications, scabs, pustules, or blisters… perhaps due to filariose, a tropical and subtropical disease transmitted by mosquitos. The adult form is a white, thread-like worm which enters the human through the skin at night”. [1]

[1] http://www.memoiredafrique.com/en/djenne/histoire.php
[E1],[E3],[E4] photo credit aplusafricanart.com
[E2] http://www.memoiredafrique.com/en/djenne/histoire.php

Mbembe, Bembe, and the Ikoro.

As with most endeavors, Collecting African Tribal Art is fraught with instances of disappointment, and joy. The Metropolitan Museum recently (091615) had an exhibition on Mbembe Art (which I missed), but fortunately the following piece (acquired in 2010) will continue to be on display in the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing’s survey of sub-Saharan art. Additionally the article “Silenced Mbembe Muses” provides ample analysis of the Mbembe corpus (an amazing read, and chock-full of pictures).

[E1] Maternity Figure: Seated Mother and Child. Mbembe

[E1] Maternity Figure: Seated Mother and Child. Mbembe

The Mbembe and the Bembe are African tribes located in Nigeria, and the Congo respectively.

[E1] Mbembe location

[E2] Mbembe location

Historically the Mbembe used the Ikoro drum (massive slit drum) which could be heard as far as 10 kilometers away. This Mbembe art form is another example of the prodigious art present in the Three Rivers region (Niger, Benue, and Cross).

“Given the ikoro’s importance and scale, the creative process was especially demanding. An elaborate ritual celebration preceded the selection and cutting of the tree from which the log for the drum was hewn. Hollowing and carving took weeks or months, over the course of which the artist’s tools required daily refortification by the associated deity. Each work was customized to feature a sculptural program of figurative or animal imagery at one or both ends of the slit gong’s cylindrical body. The human subjects were typically a nurturing maternity figure or a fierce male warrior brandishing weaponry and a trophy head.”[1]

[E3] Mbembe Exhibition 1974

[E3] Mbembe Exhibition 1974

“Mbembe chiefs oversaw annual tributes to the founder of their village’s lineage. Such celebrations took place in a large structure where all men who had proven themselves as warriors gathered. A monumental sacred drum, ten to thirteen feet long and adorned with representations of the founding couple, was the principal feature of this setting. The female subject depicted was the spouse who had given birth to the lineage’s first male descendant. Young men demonstrated their worthiness by placing before the drum, which served as a shrine, the severed head of an enemy they had slain. British colonial interdictions of such devotional practices contributed to the decline and gradual abandonment of these village sanctuaries.”[1]

[1] “Silenced Mbembe Muses”: Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 48 (2013)
[E1] Maternity Figure: Seated Mother and Child. Mbembe[/caption] peoples; Ewayon ̆ River region, Cross River Province, Nigeria, 15th–17th century. Wood, pigment, resin, nails, H. 421⁄2 in. (108 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, 2010 and 2008 Benefit Funds, Laura G. and James J. Ross, David and Holly Ross, Noah-Sadie K. Wachtel Foundation Inc. and Mrs. Howard J. Barnet Gifts, 2010 (2010.256). Photograph: The Photograph Studio, MMA
[E2] Map showing the Mbembe region. From Kamer 1974. © Hélène Kamer
[E3] Installation view, “Ancêtres M’Bembé,” Galerie Kamer, Paris, 1974. ©!Hélène Kamer
exhibition link

Tussian, Siemu Buffalo Helmet [1]

The Tussian, and Siemu tribes of Burkina Faso are small tribes which may share a common ancestry. Although they have developed cultural differences, they maintain a similar style in their representation of the buffalo helmets.

There’s no getting around it. The numerous times I saw photos of the helmets shown below I sort of missed the mark. Once understood however the symbology serves to enhance the appreciation of the art. Another aspect of this is the quiet symbiotic relationship (read as tolerance) the egret, and buffalo share. In collecting African Tribal art the development of the appreciation for pieces (learning curve) is a driving force/component for expanding one’s collection.

[E1] Helmet Northern Tussian or Siemu, Burkina Faso

[E1] Helmet Northern Tussian or Siemu, Burkina Faso

The main horns at the sides are a no-brainer, but the “stylized representation of a buffalo with a pair of curving horns projecting from a flat, rectangular head, a tubular body standing on four legs, and a vertically projecting tail” totally eluded me. The upright figures between the buffalo’s horns, on the tail, or the rear near the tail represent egrets, oxpeckers, or both.

[E2] Helmet  - Northern Tussian or Siemu

[E2] Helmet – Northern Tussian or Siemu

One notable difference with the helmet shown below is the absence of the two large curving horns which can be attached to the helmet with a fiber cord, or leather strips.

[E3] Buffalo Helmet Mask (Kablé)

[E3] Buffalo Helmet Mask (Kablé)

Why the imagery, and representation of the buffalo?
“The buffalo holds special cultural significance in many parts of Africa. Life other powerful animals, such as the leopard, elephant, and ram, the buffalo is often associated with ideas of leadership and prestige. Allen Roberts (1955:22-25) has pointed out that both the animal’s behavior and it’s anatomy have captured people’s imagination. The fact that buffalo live in herds and cows usually bear a single young has led to an ideological linking of the animal with humans.”

[1] Buffalo Helmets of Tussian and Siemu Peoples of Burkina Faso. African Arts, Vol 41 #3, pg 26-43.
[E1] Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal, Netherlands
Photo credit : Ferry Herrebrugh, Amstelveen, Africa Museum
[E2] Acquired by Herta Haselberger in Bobo-Dioulasso (1967)
Photo credit : Sotheby’s Paris
[E3] Metmuseum
Buffalo Helmet Mask (Kablé)
Date: 19th–mid-20th century
Geography: Burkina Faso, Province du Kénédougou
Culture: northern Tussian or Siemu
Medium: Wood, cane, fiber ropes
Dimensions: H. 27 1/2 x W. 14 3/4 x D. 11 7/8in. (69.9 x 37.5 x 30.2cm)
Classification: Wood-Sculpture
Credit Line: The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number: 1979.206.47

Wilson, Brady, Omission and Lying.

There is very little if anything wrong in not giving a superstar his just due. Any arguments that Russell Wilson deserves any kudos for getting the starting nod in his rookie year (against all odds), winning his first Super Bowl in his sophomore year, and making the Super Bowl in his third NFL year is simply an expectation afforded the stereotypical quarterback. Fortunately the consistent drone by the media outlining why the opposition lost versus why the Seahawks win provides great motivation fodder as well as a great segue into the whole perspective of omission and commission.

Cue Brady and the Patriots, deflate-gate, and the demise of a legacy. This is not rocket science. Let’s give my boy Brady the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say there was absolutely no link between Brady and the directive given to equipment personnel to deflate said balls outside of league rules. Now my personal history is that I could tell if a table tennis ball had a hole in it, if the basketball at the YMCA was too soft, and if the soccer ball in the garage needed a little air in it. Not being a ball expert I’ve had co-workers berate me for walking around with worn tennis balls, (clearly I have limits). What I have no doubt about however, is that on taking the field my boy Brady knew he was playing outside the rules, with balls perfectly suited to his personal preference, and did nothing to rectify the situation. Forget about everything else. This is how it works for me. At best, Brady went for the victory using an advantage handed to him on a platter. Lacking the intestinal fortitude to address the situation, my boy Brady went with the flow. At best my boy Brady is guilty only of a sin of omission. The question of course is whether or not this can take down a legacy. I say it can, and has. The sin of omission is a high standard, and a personal one, but it is the line of demarcation between a public, and the private cheat. It’s what separates the golfer who is expected to call the penalty on himself, it is what raises the game of lawn tennis a notch when the opponent overturns a call made for him, and in soccer the opposing team will kick the ball out of bounds if an opposing player is injured.

The only thing my boy Brady has done is to pull the NFL’s tights down and expose the old, worn, pink jockstraps. The fact that he will be allowed to play in the Superbowl is understandable (at +$4mio for a 30 sec commercial spot this is eminently understandable). Let’s not kid ourselves though, just as a robbery can elevate itself due to circumstance, rest assured a sin of omission walks hand in hand with lying. (Disclaimer – I rooted for Patriots to win against the Colts – only because I believe the Seahawks handle pocket passers better than mobile quarterbacks).

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