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Royal Arts of Africa : The Majesty of Form - Suzanne Preston Blier

Royal Arts of Africa

The Majesty of Form

Paperback Published: 1st September 2012
ISBN: 9781856691130
Number Of Pages: 272

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This survey of the royal arts of Africa draws together important traditions from West and Central Africa from the 16th century to the present. It explores the diverse way in which African rulers have employed art and architecture to define individual and state identity, provides an overview of the major themes in royal African art, and discusses what these arts reveal about the nature of kingship. Text and illustrations are closely integrated to present a study of a wide range of topics, from palace architecture to women of the court, and from enthronement ceremonies to royal burials.

INTRODUCTION Paradoxes of Rule 11 Surveying African Royal Art 11 African Courts and the Colonial Legacy: Bugunda and Mangbetu 16 Studies in African Kingship 24 The Sacred King as Sinner King 26 The King as All-Knowing and the King as Fool 29 The Model King as an Idiom of Royal Imperfection 32 The Healing King as Sorceror and Transsexual 34 The Progenitor King as Royal Appropriator 36 ONE The Benin Kingdom: Politics, Religion, and Natural Order 43 Dynastic Heads and Models of Status 43 Art and Architecture in the Reign of Ewuare 50 The Benin Palace Complex and Bird Imagery 55 Turret Pythons: Icons of Transition 58 Pillars of Brass: History and Ceremony in the Palace Plaques 60 Sixteenth-Century Ritual Gongs and the Art of Body Masking 64 Royal History and Ritual in the Reign of Esigie 66 The Royal Altar: The Art of Dynastic Display 68 Art in the Reign of Eresonyen 71 TWO Yoruba and Dahomey: Divine Authority and the Arts of Royal History 79 Yoruba Beadworking Arts: Dressing the King 79 Palaces and Royal Prerogative 83 Arts of Divination and the Fate of Kings and Commoners 87 Gods of Thunder and Twins 92 Masked Personifications of Royal Authority 94 Badges of Counter-Royal Authority 96 Dahomey: "Leopard" Rulers and the Arts of Dynastic History 98 Royal Ritual and Architectural Planning under King Agaja 101 King Tegbesu: Political and Ritual Organizer of the Court 105 The Artist King, Agonglo 107 King Guezo: Royal Usurper and Political Strategist 110 Dahomey's Lion King and Man of Iron: King Gele 112 The Final Years of Monarchy: Kings Gbehanzin and Agoli Agbo 120 THREE The Asante Kingdom: The Golden Ages of Ghana 125 The Capital's Architecture and the Construction of Status 125 The Role of River Gods in State Religion 133 The Golden Stool: Seating a Sacred King 133 Queen Mother Figures and the Power of Gender 137 Regalia and the Art of Display 139 The Art of Weighing and Storing Gold 146 Communicating Value with Cloth: Royal Textile Traditions 152 Funerary and Fertility Arts: Links between Past and Future 155 Popular Traditions: Drums and Banners 162 FOUR Cameroon Grasslands: Royal Art Patronage in Contexts of Change 165 King Njoya: Royal Visionary and Artistic Mentor 165 Thrones: "Richness of Beads" 169 A Bamum Dynastic Chronology 174 Palace Architecture: The Patterning of Space 176 Capitaline Plans, Social Spaces, and Spider Divinations 179 Sculptural Programs and Court Society 181 Kings as Sculptors: Portraits of the Court 185 Motherhood, Vessels, and Ideas of Royal Fecundity 189 Court Masquerades: Extending Royal Power through Performance 190 Ndop Cloth: Festival Textiles 193 Artists' Workshops and the Art of Drinking Palm Wine 196 FIVE Kongo and Kuba: The Art of Rulership Display 201 The Kongo Kingdom 201 The Architecture of the Capital: Framing Time and Place 202 Kongo Kings as Leopards: Rulers of the Forest 204 Early Missionary Contacts: Kongo Crosses and Saint Figures 207 The Language of Royal Knife Scepters and Vessels 211 Ancestral Music and Horns of Ivory 211 Textile Arts and Themes of Transition 214 Royal Mannequins and Memorials to the Dead 216 Portraits of Royal Woman in Stone and Wood 220 Arts of Power, Protection, and Popular Response 222 The Kuba Kingdom 229 Competing for Status in Courtly Art 229 Kuba Artist Kings: Expression in Iron and Costume 231 Dynastic Myths and the Symbolism of Thrones 232 Royal Portrait Sculptures 233 Initiation and Funerals: The Kuba Art of Dynastic Masking 236 Royal Divination Arts: Communicating Nature's Insights 241 The Architecture of Weaving: Palaces and Spatial Patterns 242 CONCLUSION The Continuing Vitality of Africa's Courtly Arts 249

ISBN: 9781856691130
ISBN-10: 1856691136
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 1st September 2012
Publisher: Laurence King Publishing
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 16.5  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.71
Edition Number: 1