Royal Arts of Africa: The Majesty of Form

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9781856691130: Royal Arts of Africa: The Majesty of Form
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A fascinating overview of African art that explores the diverse ways in which African rulers have employed art and architecture in kingdoms from West and Central Africa to define individual and state identity. Suzanne Blier draws on a rich array of illustrations to provide a unique insight into the cultural context of these complex arts while also raising more general questions about royalty and power.

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About the Author:

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.

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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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