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Art and Risk in Ancient Yoruba: Ife History, Power, and Identity, c.1300 [Hardcover]

Suzanne Preston Blier

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Book Description

30 Nov 2014 1107021669 978-1107021662
In this book, Suzanne Preston Blier examines the intersection of art, risk and creativity in early African arts from the Yoruba center of Ife and the striking ways that ancient Ife artworks inform society, politics, history and religion. Yoruba art offers a unique lens into one of Africa's most important and least understood early civilizations, one whose historic arts have long been of interest to local residents and Westerners alike because of their tour-de-force visual power and technical complexity. Among the complementary subjects explored are questions of art making, art viewing and aesthetics in the famed ancient Nigerian city-state, as well as the attendant risks and danger assumed by artists, patrons and viewers alike in certain forms of subject matter and modes of portrayal, including unique genres of body marking, portraiture, animal symbolism and regalia. This volume celebrates art, history and the shared passion and skill with which the remarkable artists of early Ife sought to define their past for generations of viewers.

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Book Description

This book examines the intersection of art, risk and creativity in early African arts from the Yoruba center of Ife. It offers a unique lens into one of Africa's most important and least understood early civilizations, one whose historic arts have long been of interest to local residents and Westerners alike because of their tour-de-force visual power and technical complexity.

About the Author

Suzanne Preston Blier is Allen Whitehill Clowes Professor of Fine Arts and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Her first book, The Anatomy of Architecture: Ontology and Metaphor in Batammaliba Architectural Expression (Cambridge University Press, 1987) won the Arnold Rubin prize. Her second book, African Vodun: Art, Psychology, and Power (1995), won the Charles Rufus Morey Prize. Other books include African Royal Art: The Majesty of Form (1998), Butabu: Adobe Architecture in West Africa (2003) and Art of the Senses: Masterpieces from the William and Bertha Teel Collection (2004). She is a member of the Collège de France International Scientific and Strategic Committee (2011–2013) and is on the board of the College Art Association. Her past fellowships include CASVA (Paul Mellon Senior Fellow, the National Gallery of Art), John Simon Guggenheim, the Radcliffe Institute, NEH, the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), Fulbright Senior Research, Social Science Research Council, ACLS and the Getty Center for the Study of Art.

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