African Kings: Portraits of a Disappearing Era

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9781580082242: African Kings: Portraits of a Disappearing Era

Even today there are close to 100 tribal kings in Africa, vestiges of a former age—their ancient traditions preserved, their wisdom and power still honored. A portal into these worlds of mysterious rites, ancient customs, and fantastic finery, AFRICAN KINGS takes us into the inner circle of 70 of these tribes in the person of their king. Gorgeous formal portraits of each king, in full regalia, are accompanied by brief biographies and historical notes on the tribe and the rituals and history associated with each ruler. AFRICAN KINGS introduces us to a way of life rarely glimpsed, with anthropological roots as deep as any on the earth, as they make the transition into a new millennium. Includes a historical introduction that provides an overview of the king's role in African tribes.

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About the Author:

DANIEL LAINE is a former storekeeper, professor, and hotel concierge turned photographer. Between 1988 and 1991 he made twelve trips to Africa to create the collection of photographs in this book. He lives in France.

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From 1988 to 1991, Laine photographed 70 African monarchs "whose dynasties marked the history of Africa until the middle of the twentieth century." With hundreds of monarchs to choose from, Laine focused on those who continued to "retain a traditional and spiritual authority that is difficult for the Western mind to comprehend." Laine recalls the difficulties of getting permission for the photographs, the sensitive diplomatic negotiations involved in many cases. A war in Sudan prevented Laine from photographing the king of Shiluk, a descendant of black dynasties that ruled Egypt. Others, including the king of Swaziland, declined to be photographed. With each striking photograph, Laine provides a brief biography and historical notes about the tribe and its rituals. Among those photographed are Chukumela Nnam Obi II, the Oba of Ogba, Nigeria; El Hadj Sheehu Idris, emir of Zaria, Nigeria; and Goodwill Zwelethini, king of the Zulu, South Africa. The book includes historical background by Pierre Alexandre on the origins and significance of African kingdoms. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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