The Wild Bull and the Sacred Forest: Form, Meaning, and Change in Senegambian Initiation Masks (Res Monographs in Anthropology and Aesthetics)

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9780521180870: The Wild Bull and the Sacred Forest: Form, Meaning, and Change in Senegambian Initiation Masks (Res Monographs in Anthropology and Aesthetics)
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The study of the cattle-horned initiation masks of southern Senegal and the Gambia innovatively weaves together art history, history, and cultural anthropology to give a detailed view of Casamance cultures, as they have interacted and changed over the past two centuries. Based on seven field trips to West Africa and fifteen years of research in colonial archives and in museum collections from Dakar to Leipzig, Professor Mark's work presents a subtle interpretation of Casamance horned masquerades, their complex ritual symbolism, and the metaphysical concepts to which they allude. (The masks protect against the power of the kussay, or "sorcerers".) In tracing the cultural interaction and changing identity of the peoples of the Casamance, the author convincingly argues for a new and dynamic approach to art and ethnic identity. Culture should be seen, not as a fixed entity, but as a continuing process. This dynamic model reflects the long history of interaction between Manding and Diola and between Muslim and non-Muslim, a process that has resulted in the creation of hybrid masking forms.

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This 1992 study of the cattle-horned initiation masks of southern Senegal and the Gambia weaves together art history, history, and cultural anthropology to give a detailed view of Casamance cultures, as they have interacted and changed over the past two centuries.

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The vibrant culture of the Jola people of Senegal's Casamance region is epitomized by the colorful rituals of the male initiation ceremony, which occurs once in a generation. In The Wild Bull and the Sacred Forest: Form, Meaning, and Change in Senegambian Initiation Masks, Dr. Peter Mark makes an in-depth examination of the masks worn by a select few initiates in this ritual, which illuminates Jola culture and its underlying religious and social structures. Based on research gathered from numerous field trips to West Africa and unpublished archival materials, Dr. Mark presents a subtle interpretation of horned masquerades, their complex symbolism, and the metaphysical concepts to which they allude. In tracing the cultural interaction and changing identity of the people of the Casamance, he convincingly demonstrates a new and dynamic approach to the study of art and ethnic identity, which is viewed as a continuous process rather than a fixed entity. Integrating art historical and anthropological methods, The Wild Bull and the Sacred Forest provides a detailed and innovative view of a Senegalese culture as it has evolved over two centuries.

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9780521413466: The Wild Bull and the Sacred Forest: Form, Meaning, and Change in Senegambian Initiation Masks (Res Monographs in Anthropology and Aesthetics)

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ISBN 10:  052141346X ISBN 13:  9780521413466
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 1992
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