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Insight and Artistry in African Divination

Insight And Artistry In African Divination


Among the peoples of Central and West Africa, divination rituals are performed in moments set aside from ordinary affairs, yet they take place when circumstances require them. Intimately connected to daily life, they are attempts by individuals, families, or communities to discern through diviners the causes and meaning of anxiety, mishaps, conflicts, losses, and death. Artifacts such as sculptures, trays, baskets, animal horns, rubbing devices, and slit-drums are essential to the efficacy of divination rituals. Although such instruments need only be rudimentary for the ritual to be performed, the aesthetic power of ritual objects that are created with imagination and skill enhances their ability to convey meaning.Focusing on the role of artistry in African divination rituals, fifteen essays by leading scholars reveal the similarities and differences in the practices of a wide range of sub-Saharan cultures. While suggesting that a shared tradition underlies the religious and artistic expressions of the Yoruba, Luba, Chokwe, Yaka, Pende, Punu, Guro, and other peoples of the region, the contributors also document variation -- in words, sounds, and gestures as well as in the ritual artifacts themselves -- not only from one divination system to another but also within individual communities.Despite increased discussion of the religion and art of the peoples of Central and West Africa, few cross-cultural studies have been undertaken. Generously illustrated, this volume demonstrates that ritual objects contribute to the reimagining of experience that is the purpose of divinatory rituals -- and that for the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa, insight and artistry are inextricably related.



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    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Paperback
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Inst Pr
  • ISBN-13: 9781560988847
  • ISBN: 1560988843
  • Publication Year: 2000
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
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Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
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Conditions Guide
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