This book opens with the question: What is African art? The
answer is a brilliantly colorful and detailed look at the myriad
materials and genres, forms and meanings, cultural contexts and
expressions that comprise artistic traditions across this vast and
varied continent. Viewing artworks in their contexts--ancient and
modern, urban and rural, western and eastern, decorative and
functional--the book is nothing less than a virtual tour of African
Masks, textiles, royal art, sculpture, ceramics, tools and
weapons--in each instance, the book features examples that reveal
the most significant aspects of workmanship, materials, and design
in objects of wood, stone, ivory, clay, metalwork, featherwork,
leather, basketwork, and cloth. Photographs of each piece alongside
close-ups of fine details afford new views of these works and allow
for intriguing comparisons between seemingly unrelated objects and
media. The featured details evoke the hand and eye of the most
accomplished craftspeople across Africa, past and present. In sum,
these photographs, along with Christopher Spring's enlightening
commentary, offer an experience of African art that is at once
broad and deep, richly informed and intimately felt. They are, at
the same time, a kaleidoscopic view of art from pre-history to
gestures prefiguring the future.
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