This lavishly illustrated, historically grounded book draws together key traditions from West, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa to present an informative and captivating survey of the most important royal arts in sub-Saharan Africa kingdoms from 1500 to the present day. Exploring the diverse ways that African rulers have employed art and architecture to define individual and state identity, it provides an overview of the major themes in royal African art and discusses what these arts reveal about the nature of kingship. Examines political, social, religious and historical concerns, and embraces issues that have root in a wide variety of disciplines, including art history, anthropology, philosophy and folklore. Offers original and provocative visual analyses, and discusses a broad range of topics, including palace architecture, women of the court, enthronement ceremonies, royal burials, and the importance of art in diplomacy and war. Introduces the central issue of divine kingship and themes of ambiguity in royal power identity. For art historians.
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Suzanne Preston Blier is Professor of African Art in the Departments of Fine Arts and Afro-American Studies at Harvard University. She has written extensively on African arts and culture, and is the recipient of numerous academic awards, among them the Charles Rufus Morey Award for her book African Vodun Art: Art Psychology and Power.From Library Journal:
Many traditional African cultures, especially in west and central Africa, were ruled by complex hierarchical kingdoms. As Blier (African Vodun, LJ 4/1/95) documents so clearly, those royal systems were major patrons of art largely because the visual messages imbedded in their regalia and palace objects supported their power, position, and prestige. An introductory chapter analyzes the diverse roles that African kings played, thus providing the iconographical framework that explains the richness of Africa's royal arts. That is followed by five chapters focusing on those cultures (Benin, Yoruba, Dahomey, Asante, Cameroon, Grasslands, Kongo, and Kuba) whose kingship systems and associated objects represent some of Africa's greatest artistic achievements. Richly illustrated with over 200 photographs, most in color, Blier's text is so readable and well organized that it can be enjoyed by a wide audience. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.AEugene C. Burt, Art Inst. of Seattle Lib.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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