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African Ceremonies

Beckwith, Carol; Fisher, Angela

51 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0810942054 / ISBN 13: 9780810942059
Published by Harry N Abrams Inc, N Y, 1999
Condition: Brand New / MINT Hardcover
From Penobscot Books (Searsport, ME, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

TWO VOLUME SET, cloth-covered hardcovers: BRAND NEW BOOKS, immaculate, in awesome PERFECT MINT/ PRISTINE CONDITION. Issued without DJ. Comes in custom cloth-covered, illustrated Box. Sold ONLY as a SET. /// And search as one might, there will be located no finer copies of this Set than these!. Bookseller Inventory # 005819

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Bibliographic Details

Title: African Ceremonies

Publisher: Harry N Abrams Inc, N Y

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Cloth Hardcovers

Book Condition:Brand New / MINT

About this title

Synopsis:

A stirring illustrated celebration of the vanishing tribal traditions of the African continent documents a wide range of ceremonies in words and pictures, including baby namings, initiations, weddings, harvest blessings, coronations, healing exorcisms, and funerals, among many others.

Review:

By a recent count, the continent of Africa comprises some 1,300 cultures. Some of them number millions of people, some only a few families; some are thriving, while others are in danger of disappearing, the victims of acculturation or, in extreme cases, of genocide. This diversity--and the dangers to it--is little known outside Africa. Photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher highlight both matters in African Ceremonies, an extraordinary two-volume collection of some 850 full-color images. The two artists have traveled to almost all the continent's 53 countries in the last three decades, documenting traditional tribal life in earlier books and articles for National Geographic, among other publications. Here they focus on the religious customs of several dozen peoples, combining stunning images with well-written essays to illustrate the enduring power of traditional beliefs.

Among the book's finest moments are a record of the Fulani cattle crossing, when for 10 days young males drive their herds across the wide Niger River to receive gifts from their grateful compatriots; a sequence showing a healing ceremony of the Himba people of Namibia and Angola, whose "wild women," possessed by lion spirits, are riveting actors on the page; and a remarkable series of photographs of Wodaabe courtship dancers, who compete to attract wives by charming them with exaggerated smiles and the skilled use of cosmetics. The authors note that, as women, they entered places men never could--and as foreigners, they were also often welcomed as "honorary males" and allowed to witness male-only ceremonies. Many of these rites are in danger of extinction as old ways are forgotten and in some cases suppressed. Beckwith and Fisher have captured them before it's too late. Beautifully designed and manufactured, African Ceremonies makes a fine companion to Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s Wonders of the African World, and invites leisurely reading--and constant revisiting. --Gregory McNamee

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