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Dance, Art & Ritual Africa





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About the book:

Hundreds of books have been published about African art, but until this unusual volume, no one has ever captured African art alive, as it is lived and celebrated in the everyday life of sub-Saharan Africa. For thirty years, Michel Huet traveled throughout the continent, photographing the extraordinary masks and costumes that are so central a part of African tradition, in the very rituals, dances, and ceremonies for which they were invented. The core of this book is the conjunction between art, the dance, and the ritual. There are hundreds of photographs of dances and ceremonies, many of which were never photographed before: war dances, funeral dances, ceremonies linked to harvesting and planting, initiation rites, and the everyday expressions of cultures. Huet shows us the traditional forms that have survived throughout the centuries, as well as what in many cases are the last examples of a life soon to be overwhelmed by modernization. For the arts of Africa are as much an endangered species as the wildlife and natural reserves. Many of the photographs in the book could no longer be taken; and in a few years, this beautiful book will be seen primarily as an historical record. As a portrait of a culture, it has no equals and should last for years to come as a major anthropological and artistic document. In addition to the 261 photographs, the book has a meticulous text, prepared by two of the leading French experts in this field. Jean Laude, the author of numerous books and articles on sub-Saharan African art, has written the introductory text. A more specific series of explanatory notes on the exact meaning of the dances, their costumes, and their relationship to each culture has been prepared by Jean-Louis Paudrat, who taught at the University of Paris, specializing in the anthropology of art.

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