African art specialists often lack detailed information to assess the original meanings, uses, and contexts of so-called historical or traditional arts of Africa, and they rely on indirect evidence to interpret the works. Thus, claims about African arts often reflect speculation rather than irrefutable details. When specific documentation for an object does exist, the circumstances of its creation require careful evaluation as well. The assessment of the quality and reliability of any claim is of particular importance in attempts to determine an object’s place of origin in the ongoing debates about restitution.



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