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Spirits Speak: A Celebration of African Masks Hardcover – 31 Aug 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Prestel Publishing Ltd (31 Aug. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3791332287
  • ISBN-13: 978-3791332284
  • Product Dimensions: 33.5 x 25.5 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 686,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Peter Stepan is the author of World Art: Africa (Prestel), and a number of other publications on African art. Iris Hahner is an ethnologist and author of many publications on African art, including African Masks: The Barbier-Mueller Collection (Prestel).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Evgeny on 21 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While travelling in different countries, I started collecting different masks from all parts of the world. I would totally make my choice based on the masks looks like. I didn't know any history behind them and most seller were not able to describe anything due to language barrier.
So I decided to purchase several book about masks one day. It took quite a while to pick 3 different books offered on Amazon. Out of these 3 books Spirits speak has the biggest collection of well-made and detailed full-color photos. There are so many of them so you can definitely observe and learn about trends and the outlook of masks in particular regions. At the end of the book there's a map pointing regions of masks origin.
There's a little bit of descrition in the front about masks history, premises to writing this book and some other interesting facts. All of these printed on special paper. It smelled like Africa to me and it looked like paper from Sri Lanka (very thick and grassy).
At the end of the book you also have a catalog supplying some details of masks that were presented on big photos before.
I strongly recommend the book to everyone who's interested in African art, mask collector and just craft/art lover.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A representative sampling of African masks from the world's leading museums and private collections 2 Jan. 2006
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The gorgeous Spirits Speak: A Celebration Of African Masks edited by Peter Stepan with contributions by Iris Hahner gathers a representative sampling of African masks from the world's leading museums and private collections, choosing samples which reflect powerful artistry and spiritual meaning alike. The power in Spirits Speak lies in full-page color photos of each mask making for a catalog which pairs an introductory section of history and cultural insight with plates which pack a visual punch.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Breathtaking 9 Jan. 2007
By C. McCormick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is breathtakingly beautiful, AND contains massive amounts of well-organized scholarship on African Masks. Stepan begins with a beautifully written section that, besides tackling the misunderstandings the early collectors had of these masks, reconnects the masks with the communities who created them and the ceremonies in which they were (and still are) intimately connected. The plates that follow are exquisite and fill three-quarters of the book. But, in addition to all that, each mask which is presented on a full-color, full-page plate (the pages in this book are HUGE) is then explained in the Catalogue entries (by Iris Hahner). There is also a poster map of Africa showing the masks' places of origin. I am a professor of Humanities and borrowed this book from the library a few times . . . but then HAD to have one of my own.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A Celebration of African Masks 10 Mar. 2006
By Arthur V. Rowe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful book filled with great photographs and well wirtten text. Photographs illistrated, to allow the viewer to see every detail of each mask. A very informative book, almost like a museum tour, with the exception that the viewer will never see as many examples of African Masks in one place at one time. 100% Satisfaction
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Beautiflly produced book of recycled pictures 21 Nov. 2007
By Prof Itamar Procaccia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is an excellent introduction the beauty of African masks for the beginning enthusiast, presenting excellent photographs of arguably some of the most beautiful examples of masks of the various tribes of Africa. For the more advanced enthusiast the book is a let-down - most of the images are recycled from other publications. There is a scarcity of new material and new examples. I can therefore recommend this book only for those who want to get a first visual impression of the wonderful arts of Africa, without getting into much ethnography or cultural background.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Spirits speak - big pictures, little information 12 April 2010
By Eric Clingen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking for more in-depth information than was provided. It claims to be a superlative collection of the very best examples, but tells us little about the artwork and the selections are aesthetically arbitrary. A different smaller book,"African Masks" has many of the same pictures, is just as photographically comprehensive, and much more informative. This large book is redundant, but I suppose it is a nice coffee table book. I would rather have the space.
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