Inventing Masks: Agency and History in the Art of the Central Pende

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9780226777320: Inventing Masks: Agency and History in the Art of the Central Pende

Who invents masks, and why? Such questions have rarely been asked, due to stereotypes of anonymous African artists locked into the reproduction of "traditional" models of representation. Rather than accept this view of African art as timeless and unchanging, Z. S. Strother spent nearly three years in Zaire studying Pende sculpture. Her research reveals the rich history and lively contemporary practice of Central Pende masquerade. She describes the intensive collaboration among sculptors and dancers that is crucial to inventing masks. Sculptors revealed that a central theme in their work is the representation of perceived differences between men and women. Far from being unchanging, Pende masquerades promote unceasing innovation within genres and invention of new genres. Inventing Masks demonstrates, through first hand accounts and lavish illustrations, how Central Pende masquerading is a contemporary art form fully responsive to twentieth-century experience.

"Its presentation, its exceptionally lively style, the perfection of its illustrations make this a stunning book, perfectly fitting for the study of a performing art and its content is indeed seminal. . . . A breakthrough."—Jan Vansina, African Studies Review

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Masks play an important part in the life of the Pende, as with many Central African peoples. Strother has produced an in-depth scholarly study of Pende masquerade traditions, especially during and following the colonial experience. What makes the book notable is Strother's focus on creativity and the processes of artistic innovation, which the author contends have kept those masking customs vital. While much of the research is based on the contemporary situation, a precolonial and early-colonial art history is also incorporated as an important part of the study. Accompanying the text are many illustrations of both museum objects and field photos (varied in quality and mostly black and white), an appendix, and an extensive bibliography. The writing style and vocabulary is academic, so anyone but students of African art will find the book a difficult read. Highly recommended for academic libraries with interests in art history or African studies.AEugene C. Burt, Art Inst. of Seattle Lib.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 1998. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The author of this study, Z.S. Strother, spent nearly three years in Zaire studying Pende sculpture. Her research reveals the rich history and lively contemporary practice of Central Pende masquerade. She describes the intensive collaboration among sculptors and dancers that is crucial to inventing masks. Sculptors revealed that a central theme in their work is the representation of perceived differences between men and women. Far from being unchanging, Pende masquerades promote unceasing innovation within genres and invention of new genres. This book sets out to demonstrate, through first-hand accounts and many illustrations, how Central Pende masquerading is a contemporary art form fully responsive to 20th-century experience. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780226777320

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Book Description 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. Who invents masks, and why? Such questions have rarely been asked, due to stereotypes of anonymous African artists locked into the reproduction of "traditional" mode.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 376 pages. 1.161. Bookseller Inventory # 9780226777320

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