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The Creation of African Art: Student Perspectives on the Permanent Collection

Produced by Art History 290 December 2012 Mount Holyoke College Art Museum


Bibliography

Artstor. “Asante: female figure.” Accessed September 27, 2012. http://library.artstor.org/ library/iv2.html?parent=true#. Coronel, Patricia Crane. “African Art from Earth to Pedestal.” Africa Today 16 (1989): 8-9. Grove Art Online. “Akan.” Accessed October 10, 2012. http://www.oxfordartonline.com/ subscriber/article/grove/art/T001348 . Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. “Akuaba figre, 19th century.” Accessed October 10, 2012. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1979.206.75.

The Creation of African Art: Student Perspectives on the Permanent Collection

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Fertility Figure: Female (Akua Ba).” Accessed October 30, 2012. http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/50004860

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “Figure (Akua Ba).” Accessed October 30, 2012. http:// www.mfa.org/collections/object/figure-akua-ba-479246 Silver, Harry R. “Beauty and the ‘I’ of the Beholder: Identity, Aesthetics, and Social Change among the Asante.” Journal of Anthropological Research 35 (1979): 198-199. Silver, Harry R. “Foreign Art and Asante Aesthetics.” Africa Today 16 (1983): 65-66. Smith, Weldon J. “Religion and Art in Africa.” Africa Today 13 (1980): 68.

Visonà, Monica Blackmun et al. A History of Art in Africa: Second Edition (London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd, 2008) 211-214.

Wolff, Norma H. “African Artisans in the Global Market: The Case of Ghanaian ‘Fertility Dolls.’” African Economic History 32 (1997): 123-138.

Produced by Art History 290 December 2012 Mount Holyoke College Art Museum


The Creation of African Art: Student Perspectives on the Permanent Collection Students in the Fall 2012 course, “The Creation of African Art” enrolled in the first art history course offered on African art at Mount Holyoke College, which celebrated its 175th year during the semester. The introduction of the study of the visual arts of a whole continent to the College demanded that we consider both the history and historiography of African art. We began with the question, “What is African Art?” We examined the ways that artists, anthropologists, art historians, and collectors have contributed to the changing field of study in which many of the objects under consideration were not always categorized as “art.” The title of the course thus represented our critical analysis of the invention of “African art” as a genre and subject of study. At the same time, the title “The Creation of African Art” referred to the course’s emphasis on artistic creation from the perspective of artists, who often have remained anonymous. The vastness of the African continent and the diversity of cultures within it made a comprehensive survey impossible, especially in one short semester, and the course was thus organized around selected examples of art from five loosely defined regions: Eastern, Central, Northern, Southern, and Western. We discussed African Diasporic arts and contemporary African art throughout the semester. As part of our study of styles of exhibiting African art and in order to gain firsthand access to artworks, we visited the Amherst College Mead Art Museum, the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum, and a private collection.

We worked with the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum on an assignment that served as a cornerstone to the course. The course happily coincided with a growing interest in African art on the part of Museum staff, and the students and I sought to offer perspectives on some of the works already in the permanent collection while expressing our support for plans to acquire more works from Africa and the African Diaspora for the collection. I worked with Wendy Watson, Ellen Alvord, and Rachel Beaupré to curate a small study gallery exhibition and I assigned each student an object (or in one case, two related objects). I intended for this assignment and the associated study gallery exhibition to provide opportunities for students to hone their research skills, to experiment with a new writing style, and to closely engage with an African artwork. They also were aware that they were contributing valuable knowledge and documentation to the Museum and its future students and visitors. As preparation for their own essays, students analyzed examples of catalogue entries after LITS Instructional Technology Consultant Nick Baker led a thorough workshop on research strategies. Each student examined the object assigned to her during one class period and again during an individual appointment, when she also had access to the object file. As a class,

Figure 1 Akuaba Figure, 19th–20th century Akan peoples; Ghana Wood, beads, string H. 10 2/3 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Figure 2 Figure (Akua Ba), mid-20th century African, Asante peoples, Ghana Wood, pigment H. 8 in. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


and shallower, stylized facial features. These characteristics are sometimes given to modern akua ma to make them appear more “traditional,” as seen in the akua ba from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Figure 2). In the case of older akua ma, hands, feet, and limbs were less detailed, and the black coloring and outstretched arms have given way to a wider variety of form and color in contemporary figures. The features that define an akua ba include a broad, flat forehead, a round face, a ringed neck, and clearly formed breasts. Contemporary woodcarvers may vary any other aspect of the figure as long as these features are present. Greater naturalism of face and body has become the most common innovation allowed by these standards, and this naturalism is a marker of akua ma created specifically for the tourist trade. The variety of more modern carving is evident in the form of the akua ba from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Figure 1), which possess fully carved body and limbs that is a hallmark of 20th-century carving; although listed as made from the 19th century to the 20th century, it is more likely that this piece, given its form, is from the mid to late 1900s and was made specifically for the tourist art market.

The akua ba of the Mount Holyoke Art Museum is also a clear example of art produced for a tourist or export market, but it also retains all of the defining qualities of akua ma as a whole. These qualities, like the figure itself, are rooted in the story of Akua and her quest for a child. The features of an akua ba represent all of the traits that characterized a beautiful child, including a high forehead and a ringed neck. The heightened forehead of this figure mimics the way in which infants’ cranial bones were modeled after birth, and the lines in the slender neck indicate rolls of fat, indicative of wealth and beauty. Akua ma were usually carried on the back or tucked into the skirt, hence the slenderness of the figure’s head and body. The red-beaded earrings on this akua ba refer to the adornments Akua bestowed upon her own figure. Although these beads symbolize an aspect of the akua ba origin story, they are in fact a 20th-century innovation. The modernity of this akua ba is also evident in her form: she possesses deeply carved and naturalistic facial features, as well as a rounded body with small pointed breasts and miniaturized limbs. The details of her ears are as deeply incised as those of her face, and her palms, fingers, and toes are all clearly defined, as is the carved covering over her groin. The naturalism of the face, the fully carved and detailed body, and the presence of beading are modern traits developed within a growing tourist market. However, her high forehead, ringed neck, and outstretched arms are typical features of akua ma and recall their original purpose and spiritual value to all of the Akan peoples. Sarah Champion ‘14

we enjoyed several unexpected learning opportunities. Larkin Turmin and Mallory Roark consulted the MHC Archives and Special Collections to investigate the histories of objects that were once housed in the College’s Missionary Cabinets in the nineteenth century. Tessa Rosenstein determined that a headrest from those same missionary collections had been misattributed as Zulu, and should instead be associated with the Shona ethnicity. Genevieve Oliver and Mayra Rivera found intriguing links between the different artworks from the Kuba culture on which they wrote. Ashley Kosa and Sarah Champion reckoned with issues of authenticity and audience in their analyses of artworks produced for external markets. Madison Braziel, Layla Guevara, and Amanda Lueke each faced the challenges of representing a mask, which had once been a dynamic aspect of a time-based performance, as a sculptural object in a museum. As a class, we commend the growing interest in African art at Mount Holyoke College and we hope that these catalogue entries and accompanying bibliographies will prove useful to future students and researchers. We wish to offer special thanks to Ellen Alvord, Nick Baker, Rachel Beaupré, Maureen Millmore ‘13, and Wendy Watson for their contributions to this project and the entire course. Amanda Gilvin Five College Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in African Art and Architecture Mount Holyoke College and Smith College


The Creation of African Art: Student Perspectives on the Permanent Collection Students in the Fall 2012 course, “The Creation of African Art” enrolled in the first art history course offered on African art at Mount Holyoke College, which celebrated its 175th year during the semester. The introduction of the study of the visual arts of a whole continent to the College demanded that we consider both the history and historiography of African art. We began with the question, “What is African Art?” We examined the ways that artists, anthropologists, art historians, and collectors have contributed to the changing field of study in which many of the objects under consideration were not always categorized as “art.” The title of the course thus represented our critical analysis of the invention of “African art” as a genre and subject of study. At the same time, the title “The Creation of African Art” referred to the course’s emphasis on artistic creation from the perspective of artists, who often have remained anonymous. The vastness of the African continent and the diversity of cultures within it made a comprehensive survey impossible, especially in one short semester, and the course was thus organized around selected examples of art from five loosely defined regions: Eastern, Central, Northern, Southern, and Western. We discussed African Diasporic arts and contemporary African art throughout the semester. As part of our study of styles of exhibiting African art and in order to gain firsthand access to artworks, we visited the Amherst College Mead Art Museum, the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum, and a private collection.

We worked with the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum on an assignment that served as a cornerstone to the course. The course happily coincided with a growing interest in African art on the part of Museum staff, and the students and I sought to offer perspectives on some of the works already in the permanent collection while expressing our support for plans to acquire more works from Africa and the African Diaspora for the collection. I worked with Wendy Watson, Ellen Alvord, and Rachel Beaupré to curate a small study gallery exhibition and I assigned each student an object (or in one case, two related objects). I intended for this assignment and the associated study gallery exhibition to provide opportunities for students to hone their research skills, to experiment with a new writing style, and to closely engage with an African artwork. They also were aware that they were contributing valuable knowledge and documentation to the Museum and its future students and visitors. As preparation for their own essays, students analyzed examples of catalogue entries after LITS Instructional Technology Consultant Nick Baker led a thorough workshop on research strategies. Each student examined the object assigned to her during one class period and again during an individual appointment, when she also had access to the object file. As a class,

Figure 1 Akuaba Figure, 19th–20th century Akan peoples; Ghana Wood, beads, string H. 10 2/3 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Figure 2 Figure (Akua Ba), mid-20th century African, Asante peoples, Ghana Wood, pigment H. 8 in. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


African; Ghana; Akan Female figure (Akua ba) Wood with metal and bead earrings, ca. 1950-60(?) Gift of Flora Belle Ludington 1964.1.U.L

The disc-shaped head and outspread arms of this female figure are distinct markers of akua ma (sing. akua ba) statues made by the Akan peoples of Ghana. Inhabitants of the forest and coastal areas of south-western Ghana, subgroups of the Akan include the Asante, Fante, Brong, Wassa, Aowin, and Akupem. Of all of these groups, the akua ma of the Asante are the most widely known, and the akua ba has become one of the most iconic images of African art in the eyes of the West.

The origin of the akua ba is traced to the tale of Akua, an Akan woman suffering from barrenness. She sought the help of a priest, who made a small wooden figure and advised Akua to carry it with her as she might carry child. Despite facing ridicule from her peers, who mockingly called the figure “akua ba,” or “Akua’s child,” she treated it like a living baby and gave it small gifts. Eventually she conceived and gave birth to a girl, the preferred gender amongst the matrilineal Akan. The triumph of her pregnancy and the beauty of the child inspired her former detractors to adopt the practice of carrying a carved wooden figure so that they too would conceive. The function of akua ma has changed drastically in response to Western trade and cultural shifts within Akan communities. Originally, akua ma were created by priests for use by Akan women, who carried the figures in slings or on their backs in the same manner as Akua. An akua ba that had brought about a successful pregnancy would be placed at a shrine, where it became an offering to the spirits who had listened to the mother’s prayers. Akua ma were also used as memorials to lost children, in which case they lost any spiritual significance outside of the association with the loved one. A woman could possess up to four figures in her lifetime, and it is estimated that akua ma were still being commissioned and used by women through the 1930s. Today, however, the production of akua ma is largely for commercial purposes, playing to the Western fascination with the so-called “fertility doll,” which has created a large international market for akua ma solely as works of art since the late 1960s. Often made of soft wood from the osese tree, these mass-produced figures aimed for overseas consumption are carved by male woodcarvers, not priests, and are polished and colored by women and children. The forms of akua ma have changed alongside the figure’s function. Styles of akua ma varied across the different cultures within the Akan, but most types of akua ma were more abstract before the introduction of the tourist art market. Akua ma from previous centuries are more geometric than figural, with cylindrical bodies that end at the torso


and shallower, stylized facial features. These characteristics are sometimes given to modern akua ma to make them appear more “traditional,” as seen in the akua ba from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Figure 2). In the case of older akua ma, hands, feet, and limbs were less detailed, and the black coloring and outstretched arms have given way to a wider variety of form and color in contemporary figures. The features that define an akua ba include a broad, flat forehead, a round face, a ringed neck, and clearly formed breasts. Contemporary woodcarvers may vary any other aspect of the figure as long as these features are present. Greater naturalism of face and body has become the most common innovation allowed by these standards, and this naturalism is a marker of akua ma created specifically for the tourist trade. The variety of more modern carving is evident in the form of the akua ba from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Figure 1), which possess fully carved body and limbs that is a hallmark of 20th-century carving; although listed as made from the 19th century to the 20th century, it is more likely that this piece, given its form, is from the mid to late 1900s and was made specifically for the tourist art market.

The akua ba of the Mount Holyoke Art Museum is also a clear example of art produced for a tourist or export market, but it also retains all of the defining qualities of akua ma as a whole. These qualities, like the figure itself, are rooted in the story of Akua and her quest for a child. The features of an akua ba represent all of the traits that characterized a beautiful child, including a high forehead and a ringed neck. The heightened forehead of this figure mimics the way in which infants’ cranial bones were modeled after birth, and the lines in the slender neck indicate rolls of fat, indicative of wealth and beauty. Akua ma were usually carried on the back or tucked into the skirt, hence the slenderness of the figure’s head and body. The red-beaded earrings on this akua ba refer to the adornments Akua bestowed upon her own figure. Although these beads symbolize an aspect of the akua ba origin story, they are in fact a 20th-century innovation. The modernity of this akua ba is also evident in her form: she possesses deeply carved and naturalistic facial features, as well as a rounded body with small pointed breasts and miniaturized limbs. The details of her ears are as deeply incised as those of her face, and her palms, fingers, and toes are all clearly defined, as is the carved covering over her groin. The naturalism of the face, the fully carved and detailed body, and the presence of beading are modern traits developed within a growing tourist market. However, her high forehead, ringed neck, and outstretched arms are typical features of akua ma and recall their original purpose and spiritual value to all of the Akan peoples. Sarah Champion ‘14

we enjoyed several unexpected learning opportunities. Larkin Turmin and Mallory Roark consulted the MHC Archives and Special Collections to investigate the histories of objects that were once housed in the College’s Missionary Cabinets in the nineteenth century. Tessa Rosenstein determined that a headrest from those same missionary collections had been misattributed as Zulu, and should instead be associated with the Shona ethnicity. Genevieve Oliver and Mayra Rivera found intriguing links between the different artworks from the Kuba culture on which they wrote. Ashley Kosa and Sarah Champion reckoned with issues of authenticity and audience in their analyses of artworks produced for external markets. Madison Braziel, Layla Guevara, and Amanda Lueke each faced the challenges of representing a mask, which had once been a dynamic aspect of a time-based performance, as a sculptural object in a museum. As a class, we commend the growing interest in African art at Mount Holyoke College and we hope that these catalogue entries and accompanying bibliographies will prove useful to future students and researchers. We wish to offer special thanks to Ellen Alvord, Nick Baker, Rachel Beaupré, Maureen Millmore ‘13, and Wendy Watson for their contributions to this project and the entire course. Amanda Gilvin Five College Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in African Art and Architecture Mount Holyoke College and Smith College


Bibliography

Artstor. “Asante: female figure.” Accessed September 27, 2012. http://library.artstor.org/ library/iv2.html?parent=true#. Coronel, Patricia Crane. “African Art from Earth to Pedestal.” Africa Today 16 (1989): 8-9. Grove Art Online. “Akan.” Accessed October 10, 2012. http://www.oxfordartonline.com/ subscriber/article/grove/art/T001348 . Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. “Akuaba figre, 19th century.” Accessed October 10, 2012. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1979.206.75.

The Creation of African Art: Student Perspectives on the Permanent Collection

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Fertility Figure: Female (Akua Ba).” Accessed October 30, 2012. http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/50004860

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “Figure (Akua Ba).” Accessed October 30, 2012. http:// www.mfa.org/collections/object/figure-akua-ba-479246 Silver, Harry R. “Beauty and the ‘I’ of the Beholder: Identity, Aesthetics, and Social Change among the Asante.” Journal of Anthropological Research 35 (1979): 198-199. Silver, Harry R. “Foreign Art and Asante Aesthetics.” Africa Today 16 (1983): 65-66. Smith, Weldon J. “Religion and Art in Africa.” Africa Today 13 (1980): 68.

Visonà, Monica Blackmun et al. A History of Art in Africa: Second Edition (London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd, 2008) 211-214.

Wolff, Norma H. “African Artisans in the Global Market: The Case of Ghanaian ‘Fertility Dolls.’” African Economic History 32 (1997): 123-138.

Produced by Art History 290 December 2012 Mount Holyoke College Art Museum


African; Ghana; Akan Female figure (Akua ba) Wood with metal and bead earrings, ca. 1950-60(?) Gift of Flora Belle Ludington 1964.1.U.L

The disc-shaped head and outspread arms of this female figure are distinct markers of akua ma (sing. akua ba) statues made by the Akan peoples of Ghana. Inhabitants of the forest and coastal areas of south-western Ghana, subgroups of the Akan include the Asante, Fante, Brong, Wassa, Aowin, and Akupem. Of all of these groups, the akua ma of the Asante are the most widely known, and the akua ba has become one of the most iconic images of African art in the eyes of the West.

The origin of the akua ba is traced to the tale of Akua, an Akan woman suffering from barrenness. She sought the help of a priest, who made a small wooden figure and advised Akua to carry it with her as she might carry child. Despite facing ridicule from her peers, who mockingly called the figure “akua ba,” or “Akua’s child,” she treated it like a living baby and gave it small gifts. Eventually she conceived and gave birth to a girl, the preferred gender amongst the matrilineal Akan. The triumph of her pregnancy and the beauty of the child inspired her former detractors to adopt the practice of carrying a carved wooden figure so that they too would conceive. The function of akua ma has changed drastically in response to Western trade and cultural shifts within Akan communities. Originally, akua ma were created by priests for use by Akan women, who carried the figures in slings or on their backs in the same manner as Akua. An akua ba that had brought about a successful pregnancy would be placed at a shrine, where it became an offering to the spirits who had listened to the mother’s prayers. Akua ma were also used as memorials to lost children, in which case they lost any spiritual significance outside of the association with the loved one. A woman could possess up to four figures in her lifetime, and it is estimated that akua ma were still being commissioned and used by women through the 1930s. Today, however, the production of akua ma is largely for commercial purposes, playing to the Western fascination with the so-called “fertility doll,” which has created a large international market for akua ma solely as works of art since the late 1960s. Often made of soft wood from the osese tree, these mass-produced figures aimed for overseas consumption are carved by male woodcarvers, not priests, and are polished and colored by women and children. The forms of akua ma have changed alongside the figure’s function. Styles of akua ma varied across the different cultures within the Akan, but most types of akua ma were more abstract before the introduction of the tourist art market. Akua ma from previous centuries are more geometric than figural, with cylindrical bodies that end at the torso


African; South African; Zulu Necklace Glass beads, late 19th century Gift of Nellie Smith 1882.6.U.M

African; South African; Zulu Necklace / Headpiece Glass beads, late 19th century Gift of Nellie Smith 1882.7.U.M

These striking pieces of beadwork are prime examples of late nineteenth-century Zulu ornamentation. A Zulu woman would wear pieces such as this necklace and what is most likely a headdress as part of a larger ensemble, which would indicate her wealth and her relationship status, among other aspects of her identity. These particular pieces were most likely worn by either unmarried girls ready for courtship or newly married women. The loops created by the strands of beads with a technique called picot, found in both of these pieces, were often indicative of newly married women. These loops mirrored the veil worn by a woman during the marriage ceremony. In the headdress, the long U-shaped strands of beads, meant to be worn in front of the face, also allude to marriage. Veils and beaded pieces such as these were meant to show respect for a woman’s new parents-in-law by symbolically lowering her gaze as she became a part of their family. The variety of colors used in these pieces may have imparted some type of idea or meaning. Color symbolism in Zulu beadwork was fluid, in part due to the widely differing interpretations among the diverse Zulu peoples. In broad terms, white was often seen as a symbol of purity and truth, blue as fidelity, the seas, sky, or even hostility and dislike. Red was sometimes seen as passionate love or blood, fire, and anger. The blue and white alternating patterns we see in the headdress often symbolized togetherness, or the entwined future of a couple. The symbolic meaning of colors and the general styles of beadwork, have changed throughout Zulu history, reflecting the changing political, social and culture beliefs. Beadwork itself was symbolic in Zulu society. Each bead was a single object, but together, the multitude of beads created a larger, more significant object. This signified the inherent strength and unity in the Zulu, and emphasized an individual’s place in the larger societal context. The prominence of beadwork as a medium is closely aligned with Zulu history. While the records of imported beads to the region can be dated back to the eleventh century, Zulu beadwork started around the time of the unification of the Zulu Kingdom under King Shaka Zulu (r. 1817-1828). As the kingdom was solidified, the King emphasized the development and adoption of a shared identity and culture that would help to unify the Zulu. Beadwork became a medium in which aesthetics and styles could be shared


amongst the various subgroups of the Zulu, though the trade of beads was strictly controlled by the king, who reserved the bead supply for himself and the royal court. This tradition continued until the reign of King Mpande (r. 1840-1872) who loosened the restrictions on beads, making them more accessible to the general population. As beads became more plentiful, they became more significant in Zulu society, in which they were used for a variety of purposes by both men and women. Beaded works could impart a wide range of complex concepts. In addition to necklaces and headdresses, beadwork was also worn on the legs and arms, across the hips and buttocks, as well as used to fashion various standalone objects such as dolls and bowls. When the Zulu lost their independence to the British in 1879, the unity of the Zulu dwindled and regional variations in colors, patterns and types of beaded objects became more pronounced.

Little is known about these specific articles. Alumna Nellie Smith (Class of 1873) donated them in 1882. She donated the pieces after she returned from her missionary work in South Africa, but it is unclear how and where she obtained them. This necklace and headdress, like many from the late nineteenth century after the loss of Zulu independence, may have been made especially for missionaries and other visiting westerners, which would alter the perceived understanding of the pieces. While previous Zulu beadwork could have a multiplicity of meanings, pieces made for the European missionary market relied more on European aesthetics than symbolic Zulu designs. The beadwork, while no less Zulu, started to encompass some European artistic traditions, resulting in another example of the flexibility and fluidity in Zulu beadwork. Larkin Turman ‘15

this separation of the masculine and feminine, as each group has their own patron spirits and ritual art. The Bansonyi represents the masculine principle, and these headdresses were used in mock battles between the masculine and feminine principles. The Bansonyi from the masculine principle would compete with the masquerader from the feminine principle to display the complementary forces of the masculine and feminine principles. Amanda Lueke ‘15

Bibliography

Baga. Snake Headdress (Basonyi). N.d. Photograph. Cleveland Museum of ArtWeb. 27 Sep 2012.

Baga. Spirit of the Waters Guinea. N.d. Photograph. ARTstor Slide Gallery, University of California, San Diego. Web. 27 Sep 2012.

Conrad, David. “Review of Art of the Baga: A Drama of Cultural Reinvention” African Arts. 31.3 (1998): 14-16. Web. 30 Oct. 2012.

Cotter, Holland. “A Culture Ignored Except for its Icons.” New York Times 25 10 1996, Late Edition Section C; Page 32; Column 1. Web. 27 Sep. 2012. Lamp, Frederick. Art of the Baga: A Drama of Cultural Reinvention. New York: Prestel, 1996. Print.

Lamp, Frederick. “The Art of the Baga: A Preliminiary Inquiry.” African Arts. 19.2 (1986): 64-67,92. Web. 27 Sep. 2012. Lamp, Frederick. “Art of the Baga: A Drama of Cultural Reinvention” African Arts. 29.4 (1996): 20-33. Web. 30 Oct. 2012. Lamp, Frederick. “Baga.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 11 Oct. 2012. Web.


African; Guinea; Baga Headdress in the form of a serpent (Basonyi) Wood and pigment, 20th century Gift of Jean E. Manne (Class of 1962). Mount Holyoke College Art Museum 1992.12.2

In the extremely hierarchal, traditional Baga religion, a series of initiations were required before a person was fit to participate fully in adult and religious life. Dance masks were created for religious ceremonies in which the Baga could interact with the spirits, although only the council of elders could communicate with the spirits directly. Starting in the early 1900s, the region began to move towards Islamization and many dance costumes were destroyed. Baga religious ceremonies declined further in the midst of mid-twentieth century anti-colonial movements, when new nationalist and cultural ideals sought to demystify Guinean society. Today, the dances that remain do not have the same spiritual importance they once had, and are mostly performed for entertainment. This headdress, called a Basonyi, is made out of carved wood and is painted black, red, and white. The head of the snake is heavily abstracted, and the body has the curve and diamond pattern characteristic of these headdresses. The base of the headdress show signs of use in ceremonies. When danced, the headdress would be balanced or attached on the head of the dancer and a costume of brightly colored cloth and palm fibers would be worn around it. The full costume almost reached the floor. Observers of the dance would crowd the dancer to obscure his feet, as the significance of the dance relied on the headdress embodying the spirit rather than being a part of a human masquerade. This wooden representation of the serpent spirit Inap was used in coming of age ceremonies by the Baga people of Guinea. Inap is a part of the religious traditions of many West African cultural groups, including the Maninkas, the Bamana, and the Soninke. The Baga used the Basonyi in several initiation rituals for children and men. This large wooden sculpture was worn as a headdress and danced during these rituals. The first initiation was to introduce boys and girls to adulthood; the second initiation was intended to broaden the knowledge of the people being initiated and boys were circumcised at this time. It was only after the final initiation that men could marry.

The spirit represented by this headdress is a fertility spirit; the Baga believed that Inap was formed in the river and is the source of flowing water. He was believed to bring rain, wealth, and children to the infertile when correctly invoked. The headdress was danced in many different rituals, but in all rituals there was a strict protocol for who was allowed to see the headdress being danced. Women and children not involved in the ritual taking place were forbidden from viewing the dancer, and if a young boy saw the spirit before coming of age, he would be circumcised early. The Bansonyi has a very strong association with the masculine, as traditional Baga society is divided into groups of family lineages aligned with masculine or feminine principles. Almost all of Baga spiritual life relates to

Bibliography

Carey, Margret. Beads and Beadwork of East and South Africa. Edited by Bryan Cranstone. Shire Ethnography. Princes Risborough, UK: Shire Publications, 1986.

Boram-Hays, Carol. “Borders of Beads: Questions of Identity in the Beadwork of the ZuluSpeaking People.” African Arts 38, no. 2 (Summer 2005): 38-49. Accessed October 30, 2012. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3338083. Fitzgerald, Diane. Zulu Inspired Beadwork: Weaving Techniques and Projects. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press LLC, 2007.

Kennedy, Carolee. Art and Material Culture of the Zulu Speaking People. UCLA Museum of Cultural History Pamphlet Series 3. Los Angeles: Regents of the University of California, 1978. Klopper, Sandra. South East African Beadwork: 1850-1910 From Adornment to Artefact to Art. Edited by Michael Stevenson and Michael Graham-Stewart. N.p.: Fernwood Press, 2000. Labelle, Marie-Louise. Beads of Life: Eastern and Southern African Beadwork from Canadian Collections. Mecury Series Mercury. Gatineau, Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, 2005.

Labelle, Marie-Louise. “Beads of Life: Eastern and Southern African Adornment.” In African Arts, 12-35, 93. Vol. 38 of African Arts. N.p.: UCLA James Coleman African Studies Center, 2005. Accessed November 11, 2012. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3338065. Wyk, Tembeka Nkamba-Van. “Beadwork: Ancient Craft, Women’s Medium.” Agenda Feminist Media 51 (1996): 50-53. Zaloumis, Alex. Zulu Tribal Art. Illustrated by Ian Difford. Cape Town: AmaZulu Publishers, 2000.


African; Guinea; Baga Headdress in the form of a serpent (Basonyi) Wood and pigment, 20th century Gift of Jean E. Manne (Class of 1962). Mount Holyoke College Art Museum 1992.12.2

In the extremely hierarchal, traditional Baga religion, a series of initiations were required before a person was fit to participate fully in adult and religious life. Dance masks were created for religious ceremonies in which the Baga could interact with the spirits, although only the council of elders could communicate with the spirits directly. Starting in the early 1900s, the region began to move towards Islamization and many dance costumes were destroyed. Baga religious ceremonies declined further in the midst of mid-twentieth century anti-colonial movements, when new nationalist and cultural ideals sought to demystify Guinean society. Today, the dances that remain do not have the same spiritual importance they once had, and are mostly performed for entertainment. This headdress, called a Basonyi, is made out of carved wood and is painted black, red, and white. The head of the snake is heavily abstracted, and the body has the curve and diamond pattern characteristic of these headdresses. The base of the headdress show signs of use in ceremonies. When danced, the headdress would be balanced or attached on the head of the dancer and a costume of brightly colored cloth and palm fibers would be worn around it. The full costume almost reached the floor. Observers of the dance would crowd the dancer to obscure his feet, as the significance of the dance relied on the headdress embodying the spirit rather than being a part of a human masquerade. This wooden representation of the serpent spirit Inap was used in coming of age ceremonies by the Baga people of Guinea. Inap is a part of the religious traditions of many West African cultural groups, including the Maninkas, the Bamana, and the Soninke. The Baga used the Basonyi in several initiation rituals for children and men. This large wooden sculpture was worn as a headdress and danced during these rituals. The first initiation was to introduce boys and girls to adulthood; the second initiation was intended to broaden the knowledge of the people being initiated and boys were circumcised at this time. It was only after the final initiation that men could marry.

The spirit represented by this headdress is a fertility spirit; the Baga believed that Inap was formed in the river and is the source of flowing water. He was believed to bring rain, wealth, and children to the infertile when correctly invoked. The headdress was danced in many different rituals, but in all rituals there was a strict protocol for who was allowed to see the headdress being danced. Women and children not involved in the ritual taking place were forbidden from viewing the dancer, and if a young boy saw the spirit before coming of age, he would be circumcised early. The Bansonyi has a very strong association with the masculine, as traditional Baga society is divided into groups of family lineages aligned with masculine or feminine principles. Almost all of Baga spiritual life relates to

Bibliography

Carey, Margret. Beads and Beadwork of East and South Africa. Edited by Bryan Cranstone. Shire Ethnography. Princes Risborough, UK: Shire Publications, 1986.

Boram-Hays, Carol. “Borders of Beads: Questions of Identity in the Beadwork of the ZuluSpeaking People.” African Arts 38, no. 2 (Summer 2005): 38-49. Accessed October 30, 2012. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3338083. Fitzgerald, Diane. Zulu Inspired Beadwork: Weaving Techniques and Projects. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press LLC, 2007.

Kennedy, Carolee. Art and Material Culture of the Zulu Speaking People. UCLA Museum of Cultural History Pamphlet Series 3. Los Angeles: Regents of the University of California, 1978. Klopper, Sandra. South East African Beadwork: 1850-1910 From Adornment to Artefact to Art. Edited by Michael Stevenson and Michael Graham-Stewart. N.p.: Fernwood Press, 2000. Labelle, Marie-Louise. Beads of Life: Eastern and Southern African Beadwork from Canadian Collections. Mecury Series Mercury. Gatineau, Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, 2005.

Labelle, Marie-Louise. “Beads of Life: Eastern and Southern African Adornment.” In African Arts, 12-35, 93. Vol. 38 of African Arts. N.p.: UCLA James Coleman African Studies Center, 2005. Accessed November 11, 2012. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3338065. Wyk, Tembeka Nkamba-Van. “Beadwork: Ancient Craft, Women’s Medium.” Agenda Feminist Media 51 (1996): 50-53. Zaloumis, Alex. Zulu Tribal Art. Illustrated by Ian Difford. Cape Town: AmaZulu Publishers, 2000.


amongst the various subgroups of the Zulu, though the trade of beads was strictly controlled by the king, who reserved the bead supply for himself and the royal court. This tradition continued until the reign of King Mpande (r. 1840-1872) who loosened the restrictions on beads, making them more accessible to the general population. As beads became more plentiful, they became more significant in Zulu society, in which they were used for a variety of purposes by both men and women. Beaded works could impart a wide range of complex concepts. In addition to necklaces and headdresses, beadwork was also worn on the legs and arms, across the hips and buttocks, as well as used to fashion various standalone objects such as dolls and bowls. When the Zulu lost their independence to the British in 1879, the unity of the Zulu dwindled and regional variations in colors, patterns and types of beaded objects became more pronounced.

Little is known about these specific articles. Alumna Nellie Smith (Class of 1873) donated them in 1882. She donated the pieces after she returned from her missionary work in South Africa, but it is unclear how and where she obtained them. This necklace and headdress, like many from the late nineteenth century after the loss of Zulu independence, may have been made especially for missionaries and other visiting westerners, which would alter the perceived understanding of the pieces. While previous Zulu beadwork could have a multiplicity of meanings, pieces made for the European missionary market relied more on European aesthetics than symbolic Zulu designs. The beadwork, while no less Zulu, started to encompass some European artistic traditions, resulting in another example of the flexibility and fluidity in Zulu beadwork. Larkin Turman ‘15

this separation of the masculine and feminine, as each group has their own patron spirits and ritual art. The Bansonyi represents the masculine principle, and these headdresses were used in mock battles between the masculine and feminine principles. The Bansonyi from the masculine principle would compete with the masquerader from the feminine principle to display the complementary forces of the masculine and feminine principles. Amanda Lueke ‘15

Bibliography

Baga. Snake Headdress (Basonyi). N.d. Photograph. Cleveland Museum of ArtWeb. 27 Sep 2012.

Baga. Spirit of the Waters Guinea. N.d. Photograph. ARTstor Slide Gallery, University of California, San Diego. Web. 27 Sep 2012.

Conrad, David. “Review of Art of the Baga: A Drama of Cultural Reinvention” African Arts. 31.3 (1998): 14-16. Web. 30 Oct. 2012.

Cotter, Holland. “A Culture Ignored Except for its Icons.” New York Times 25 10 1996, Late Edition Section C; Page 32; Column 1. Web. 27 Sep. 2012. Lamp, Frederick. Art of the Baga: A Drama of Cultural Reinvention. New York: Prestel, 1996. Print.

Lamp, Frederick. “The Art of the Baga: A Preliminiary Inquiry.” African Arts. 19.2 (1986): 64-67,92. Web. 27 Sep. 2012. Lamp, Frederick. “Art of the Baga: A Drama of Cultural Reinvention” African Arts. 29.4 (1996): 20-33. Web. 30 Oct. 2012. Lamp, Frederick. “Baga.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 11 Oct. 2012. Web.


Brochure design by Maureen Millmore, ‘13


Bibliography

RJG, Three African Masks, Bulletin (St. Louis Art Museum) , New Series, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Janu-ary-March 1979), pp. 156-158. Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/ stable/40716030.

Roy, Christopher D. “The Spread of Mask Styles in the Black Volta Basin.” African Arts 20.4 (1987): 40-47. Web. Nunley, John W. “West African Sculpture: Sacred Space, Spirit, and Power.” Bulletin (St. Louis Art Museum) New Series 16.4 (1983): 1-41. Web. Giles, Bridget. Peoples of West Africa. New York: Facts On File, 1997. Print.

Povey, John. “Traditional Sculpture from Upper Volta.” African Arts. 12.3 (1979): 87. http://www.uiowa.edu/~africart/Mask_styles/Index.html.

African; South Africa or Zimbabwe; Shona Headrest Wood Gift of Mrs. Louisa Healy Pixley (Class of 1857) 2003.26.5

This headrest was assumed to be of Zulu origin due to a handwrittend label under the base of the piece that reads “Zulu Pillow Pixley.” Its date of manufacture remains unclear. Located in the province of Natal in western South Africa, the Zulu people are one of multiple ethnic groups that constitute the Nguni people, who are united by the Bantu language and an intertwined historical background. This headrest was gifted to the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum by Mrs. Louisa Healy Pixley, a non-graduating member of the class of 1857 who lived in South Africa with her husband, Steven, and daughter, Martha (Mount Holyoke alumna class of 1886), who were both missionaries in the region for several years. The Mount Holyoke Archives mention numerous donations of “Zulu Curiosities,” made by Mrs. Pixley to the College, including this headrest. The Shona are a neighboring froup of the Zulu and are settled primarily in Zimbabwe, and to a lesser extent in Mozambique. There is evidence to support that this particular headrest is of Shona, rather than Zulu origin. Typical Zulu headrests have a low, horizontal form with a linear platform supported by four or more legs (Figure 2). This headrest closely resembles several other headrests of confirmed Shona origin such as the one depicted in Figure 3. Both headrests are made of wood with a dark patina and are roughly the same size. Traces of hair oil on the surface of Mount Holyoke’s headrest suggest its frequent use. Each has an upper platform that curves downward with decorative, rectangular flaps on either end. Both headrests also have a center support comprised of a pair of inverted chevrons conjoined at the middle. The V-shapes are separated by a pair of concentric circles that occurs halfway up on either side of the leg. The support of each headrest is connected to a tapering, oblong base with a triangular wedge incised in the front and back. The headrest at the Fowler Museum of Cultural History is more elaborately decorated with a zigzag pattern along the branches of the support, in addition to parallel scoring along the ends of the platform. Previously, the headrest was a utilitarian object in Shona cultures, and it remains symbolically important. To sleep, the owner would place the platform under his or her head, either along the line of the jaw and ear or under the back of the neck. Headrests were used to protect the elaborate hair styles that indicated an individual’s age, wealth, and status within the community. Such hairstyles could take hours or even weeks to construct, and were often embellished with various ornaments. Headrests were decorated with intricate designs that may have indicated social status of the owner. Although the specific meanings behind such designs in the Shona culture have not been confirmed, there are several theories regarding their symbolism. Some scholars believe


that designs adorning headrests were meant to represent the female form and were thus emblematic of fertility. More widely accepted is the theory that these motifs drew from the tradition of scarification, in which members of the community incised detailed designs into their skin which healed as decorative raised scars. Similar to hairdos, the location and complexity of these designs conveyed the various identifiers of each member in the community.

Since the late nineteenth century, headrests have fallen out of everyday use in Shona culture and are less frequently commissioned. They are still used in rural communities and have symbolic meaning in some religious rituals. In the Shona tradition, headrests were tools with which to communicate with ancestors through dreams. Dreams played a significant role in Shona society and the consistent absence of dreams was considered cause for worry. It is speculated that headrests constituted crucial functions in priests’ instigation and interpretations of dreams. Headrests were deeply personal objects to the Shona people; it was common for an individual to be buried with his or her headrest. Tessa Rosenstein ’14

Figure 2 Zulu People, South Africa. Headrest Wood, early 20th century. L. 45 cm. The British Museum

Figure 3. South Shona; Zimbabwe, Headrest, mutsago, Wood, 13 x 12 x 6.4 cm Fowler Museum of Cultural History FMCH 88.963

African; Burkina Faso; Mossi Plank Mask Wood and red and brown pigment, 20th century Gift of Jean Elizabeth Mammen (Class of 1962) 1991.31

This is a ceremonial plank mask, also known as Karanga mask, from the West African country of Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso plays host to over 35 different ethnic groups, and the Mossi are by far the largest of these ethnic groups. Plank masks are one of the most iconic and recognizable works of art to come out of the Burkina Faso region. Wearing full headdresses, Mossi men danced this mask and others like it during funeral celebrations. Carved out of wood, this Karanga mask is composed of two basic sections, the oval mask and the plank section. The elongated oval shape is the mask section, which was worn over the face of the dancer and has cut outs for the eyes to provide visibility during the dance. Along the sides of the mask there are geometric patterns carved in a low relief, which include triangles, rectangles, and diamonds running the length of the mask. There is symmetry to the geometric patterns of the mask, which is intercepted by a ridge of squares running down the center of the mask. A carved antelope’s head perches on top of the mask below two flat rectangular planks that give the mask its height. The two planks have geometric patterns carved into the wood similar to those on the lower portion of the mask. The two planks display geometric symmetry, although a portion of the right plank has been lost. The mask has sustained extensive termite damage, including the loss of the right horn of the antelope, but traces of red and brown pigments are visible.

Mossi communities dance Karanga masks during funeral ceremonies to honor their ancestors and the spirit of the animal that the mask represents. Plank masks are representations of the spirits that inhabit the area of central Burkina Faso, and these spirits take on the form of animals. These animals are typically antelopes, such as the one found on this mask, and crocodiles. Karanga masks are part of a larger headdress, which is brought out for ceremonies. The dancer usually takes on the characteristics of the animal represented by the mask, and they run into the crowd that has gathered to watch them perform. The dancers perform in a manner to draw attention to the height of the mask. Plank masks are typically passed down through generations and are a representation of the family and their ancestors. Layla Guevara ’13


Bibliography

Axel-Ivar Berglund, Zulu Thought-Patterns and Symbolism (Uppsala: Indiana University Press, 1976), 24-30, 97-103, 256-258.

Derby, Charlie. “Examination of Zulu Headrest.” Report submitted for examination of Zulu Headrest. South Hadley, June 20, 2005.

Dewey, William J., McCallum, Toshiko M., Feldman, Jerome, Cosentino, Henrietta, Sleeping Beauties: The Jerome L. Joss Collection of African Headrests at UCLA. Japan, Nissha Printing Co.,1993. Falgarettes, Christiane. Supports de Rêves. Foundation Dapper, Paris: April 1989.

Frederick Lamp, e-mail message to Wendy M. Watson, July 29, 2005. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum object file MH 2003.26.5.

Martha Pixley, letter to Anna Edwards, 1906. Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. Martha Pixley, letter to Anna Edwards, 1911. Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. Nkumane, Grace, “The Traditional Dress of the Zulu Woman: A Return to the Roots,” Indigenous Knowledge Conference 2001 (2001): 104-110.

Spring, Chris. “Wood and Iron, Women and Men: African Sculpture and the Art of Living.” In African Art in Detail, 80-93. London: The British Museum Press, 2009. The Fitzwilliam Museum. “Exhibitions: Triumph, Protection and Dreams: The East African Headrest in Context.” Last Accessed October 8, 2012. http://www.fitzmuseum. cam.ac.uk/article.html?3055.

Woodward Richard B., African Art: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond: Carter Printing, Inc. 1994) 52-53.


Bibliography

Axel-Ivar Berglund, Zulu Thought-Patterns and Symbolism (Uppsala: Indiana University Press, 1976), 24-30, 97-103, 256-258.

Derby, Charlie. “Examination of Zulu Headrest.” Report submitted for examination of Zulu Headrest. South Hadley, June 20, 2005.

Dewey, William J., McCallum, Toshiko M., Feldman, Jerome, Cosentino, Henrietta, Sleeping Beauties: The Jerome L. Joss Collection of African Headrests at UCLA. Japan, Nissha Printing Co.,1993. Falgarettes, Christiane. Supports de Rêves. Foundation Dapper, Paris: April 1989.

Frederick Lamp, e-mail message to Wendy M. Watson, July 29, 2005. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum object file MH 2003.26.5.

Martha Pixley, letter to Anna Edwards, 1906. Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. Martha Pixley, letter to Anna Edwards, 1911. Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. Nkumane, Grace, “The Traditional Dress of the Zulu Woman: A Return to the Roots,” Indigenous Knowledge Conference 2001 (2001): 104-110.

Spring, Chris. “Wood and Iron, Women and Men: African Sculpture and the Art of Living.” In African Art in Detail, 80-93. London: The British Museum Press, 2009. The Fitzwilliam Museum. “Exhibitions: Triumph, Protection and Dreams: The East African Headrest in Context.” Last Accessed October 8, 2012. http://www.fitzmuseum. cam.ac.uk/article.html?3055.

Woodward Richard B., African Art: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond: Carter Printing, Inc. 1994) 52-53.


that designs adorning headrests were meant to represent the female form and were thus emblematic of fertility. More widely accepted is the theory that these motifs drew from the tradition of scarification, in which members of the community incised detailed designs into their skin which healed as decorative raised scars. Similar to hairdos, the location and complexity of these designs conveyed the various identifiers of each member in the community.

Since the late nineteenth century, headrests have fallen out of everyday use in Shona culture and are less frequently commissioned. They are still used in rural communities and have symbolic meaning in some religious rituals. In the Shona tradition, headrests were tools with which to communicate with ancestors through dreams. Dreams played a significant role in Shona society and the consistent absence of dreams was considered cause for worry. It is speculated that headrests constituted crucial functions in priests’ instigation and interpretations of dreams. Headrests were deeply personal objects to the Shona people; it was common for an individual to be buried with his or her headrest. Tessa Rosenstein ’14

Figure 2 Zulu People, South Africa. Headrest Wood, early 20th century. L. 45 cm. The British Museum

Figure 3. South Shona; Zimbabwe, Headrest, mutsago, Wood, 13 x 12 x 6.4 cm Fowler Museum of Cultural History FMCH 88.963

African; Burkina Faso; Mossi Plank Mask Wood and red and brown pigment, 20th century Gift of Jean Elizabeth Mammen (Class of 1962) 1991.31

This is a ceremonial plank mask, also known as Karanga mask, from the West African country of Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso plays host to over 35 different ethnic groups, and the Mossi are by far the largest of these ethnic groups. Plank masks are one of the most iconic and recognizable works of art to come out of the Burkina Faso region. Wearing full headdresses, Mossi men danced this mask and others like it during funeral celebrations. Carved out of wood, this Karanga mask is composed of two basic sections, the oval mask and the plank section. The elongated oval shape is the mask section, which was worn over the face of the dancer and has cut outs for the eyes to provide visibility during the dance. Along the sides of the mask there are geometric patterns carved in a low relief, which include triangles, rectangles, and diamonds running the length of the mask. There is symmetry to the geometric patterns of the mask, which is intercepted by a ridge of squares running down the center of the mask. A carved antelope’s head perches on top of the mask below two flat rectangular planks that give the mask its height. The two planks have geometric patterns carved into the wood similar to those on the lower portion of the mask. The two planks display geometric symmetry, although a portion of the right plank has been lost. The mask has sustained extensive termite damage, including the loss of the right horn of the antelope, but traces of red and brown pigments are visible.

Mossi communities dance Karanga masks during funeral ceremonies to honor their ancestors and the spirit of the animal that the mask represents. Plank masks are representations of the spirits that inhabit the area of central Burkina Faso, and these spirits take on the form of animals. These animals are typically antelopes, such as the one found on this mask, and crocodiles. Karanga masks are part of a larger headdress, which is brought out for ceremonies. The dancer usually takes on the characteristics of the animal represented by the mask, and they run into the crowd that has gathered to watch them perform. The dancers perform in a manner to draw attention to the height of the mask. Plank masks are typically passed down through generations and are a representation of the family and their ancestors. Layla Guevara ’13


Bibliography

Adams, Monni. “Double Perspectives: Village Masking in Canton Boo, Ivory Coast.” In Art Journal vol. 47, no. 2 (1988): 95-102. African Art: The DeHavenon Collection. Washington D.C.: Museum of African Art, 1971.

Bottiaux, Anne-Marie. Persona Masks of Africa: Identities Revealed. Milan: 5 Continents Editions, 2009. Fagg, William Butler. Afrique: Centatribus-Cent Chefs-D’Oeuvre. Berlin: 1964.

Fischer, Eberhard. “Dan Forest Spirits: Masks in Dan Villages.” African Arts vol. 93, no. 2 (1978): 16-23.

Fischer, Eberhard. “Dan.” In Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online, http://www. oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T021287 (accessed September 25, 2011). Kerchache, Jacques, Jean-Louis Paudrat, and Lucien Stephan. Art of Africa. New York: Harry W. Abrams Incorporated, 1988.

Wingert, Paul S. “African Masks: Structure, Expression, Style.” In African Arts vol. 6, no. 2 (1973): 56-64. Visonà, Monica Blackmun, Robin Poynor, and Herbert M. Cole. A History of Art in Africa. 2nd ed. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd., 2008.


The Creation of African Art: Student Perspectives on the Permanent Collection

Produced by Art History 290 December 2012 Mount Holyoke College Art Museum


Bibliography

Anna, M. “Bark-Cloth Making among the Baganda of East Africa.” Primitive Man 9.1 (1936): 12-14. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3316400. Barker, Dudly. Swaziland. London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1965. Print.

Haskard, Cosmo, and Barbara Lamport-Stokes. “Bark Cloth.” The Society of Malawi Journal, 44.2 (1991): 38-40. http://www.jstor.org/stable/29778653. Hodder, B.W. “Indigenous Cloth Trade and Marketing in Africa.” Textile History, 11 (1980): 21. Idiens, Dale. “An Introduction to Traditional African Weaving and Textiles.” Textile History. No. 11, 1980, pages 5-21. Textile History, 11 (1980): 5-21.

Kuper, Hilda. “A Ritual of Kingship Among the Swazi.” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (14.5): 230 – 257. Kuper, Hilda. “Celebration of Growth and Kingship: Incwala in Swaziland.” African Arts (1.3):56-59+90. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3334349. Kuper, Hilda. “Costume and Identity.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 15.03 (1973): 348-67. http://www.jstor.org/stable/178260. Kuper, Hilda. The Swazi: A South African Kingdom. New York: Rineheart and Winston, 1986. Print. Miller, Sarah. “Mount Holyoke College Art Museum Collection (1876-1930).” Thesis. Mount Holyoke College, 1975. Print.

Missionaries Collection, Series 3: Missionary Work by Country: Africa – Chile, Box 9, LD 7093.8. m5, RG 29, Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA.

Richard, Paul, et al. “Africa.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 27 Sep. 2012 <http:// www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T000675pg6>. [Sections used: Materials, techniques, uses]. Student Files, Pixley, Alzina, V, X Class of 1849, Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. Vogel, Catherine A. M., and Anitra C. E. Nettleton. “The Arts of Southern Africa.” African Arts 18.3 (1985): 52-53. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3336355 .


Mount Holyoke College’s earliest acquisitions—including this amaSwazi Cloth—were donated by students and alumnae who served as missionaries in the mid-nineteenth century. Loyal to one of Mary Lyon’s strongest founding tenets, the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary sought to “cultivate the missionary spirit among its pupils.”4 Thus, these objects were meant to provide physical material for students to formulate a precise understanding of both craftsmanship and cultural diversity.5 The fact that this bark cloth was included in the Missionary Cabinet means that the College acquired it prior to 1892, the year the inventory list of the Missionary Cabinet was created. However, the formal opening of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum was in 1876, meaning that the Missionary Cabinet and its contents were understood as ethnographic learning tools instead of prized pieces of fine art. The amaSwazi cloth remained a part of Archives and Special Collections until 2003, the year in which remaining items were transferred to the Museum’s collection, a move that began dissolving the boundary between “art” and “artifact” in the college’s collections. 1

2

Mallory Roark, ‘13

African; Liberia or Cote d’Ivoire; Ngere Mask Polychromed wood with rope Gift of Emil J. Arnold, through Mrs. J. O’Leary (Doris E. Anderson, Class of 1935) 1963.2.U.OI

This red and white polychromatic wooden mask with rope comes from the Ngere peoples from the Liberian and Ivory Coast border. The facial features are exaggerated and protruding, particularly the forehead, mouth, and cheekbones. Red pigment stretches across the large, oval eyes and indicates majesty or frightfulness. The white polychromed cheeks and eye slits of the mask demonstrate piety and serenity.1 Rope is affixed around the sides of the mask’s face and held in place by wooden pegs. Animal hair is attached to these pieces of rope and above the mouth. The presence of animal hair indicates decoration as well as spiritual empowerment.2 Bells and other sacrificial paraphernalia were once attached to the mask. The Ngere believe that animal hair, bells, cowrie shells, nails, feathers, and other types of sacrificial matter increase the magical powers of a wooden mask.3 The bulky and jutting features of the mask are common traits in Ngere works, as demonstrated by another Ngere mask from the Liberian-Ivory Coast area (fig. 1).4 The Ngere mask here displays similar rounded eyes with horizontal slits, an angular and projecting mouth, irregular metal teeth, vertically raised cheekbones, and sacrificial matter on the right cheekbone.5 The mask also has formal characteristics similar to Ngere and Dan Poro Society masks. The Dan inhabit the Liberian border and share many cultural traits with the Ngere.6 The Poro Society consists of male members who maintain social, cultural, and political functions for their particular group.7 The Poro invoke the powers inside wooden masks through performance and dance. Poro masks are characterized by a mixture of exaggerated zoomorphic and human features, such as a beak-like mouth with a pointed tongue etched inside. Repetition of facial features is also common in Poro masks and indicates magical potency and ancient status. This is seen with the mask’s two sets of eyes, the slits for the wearer to peer out of and the protruding eyes below.

Ngere masks are endowed with supernatural power because they are the material manifestations of ancestral and forest spirits. The Ngere word for mask, gla, means “the

4. Missionary Collections, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections. 5. Sarah Miller, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum Collection (1876-1930).

1. Eberhard Fischer, “Dan Forest Spirits: Masks in Dan Villages,” African Arts vol. 93, no. 2 (1978): 19. 2. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Mimsy, accession number MH1963.2.U.OI. 3. Jacques Kerchache, et al., Art of Africa (New York: Harry W. Abrams Incorporated, 1988), 523. 4. Paul S. Wingert, “African Masks: Structure, Expression, Style,” African Arts vol. 6, no. 2 (1973): 59. 5. Wingert, “African Masks,” 58. 6. Eberhard Fischer, “Dan,” In Grove Art Online, Oxford Art Online, http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T021287, accessed September 25, 2011. 7. African Art: The DeHavenon Collection (Washington D.C.: Museum of African Art, 1971), 85.


forest” and “ancestral spirit.”8 Although Ngere masks display common visual conventions, each mask stresses the individuality and uniqueness of the spirit it portrays. These spirits are disembodied and float throughout the forest. They intervene in village life to educate and entertain humankind.9 Masks are created when a spirit appears to a person, usually a man, in a dream and describes their distinct qualities and visual characteristics.10 It is the duty of the dreamer to commission a vessel for the forest entity to inhabit. Wooden masks are the most expressive and translatable form of a spirit’s paranormal power.11 Authority and identity are not fully expressed until an individual wears a mask with full costume and headdress. This completed transformation is called gela and refers to the animated personality of a spirit.12 A masker’s identity is blurred by the costumes and headdresses, which enlarge and alter their human form. For example, the Ngere people of Canton Boo wear voluminous raffia-palm skirts that cover the entire body to the ankles.13 This way the expression of spiritual identity is presented foremost when in gela. This mask was most likely an embodiment of a forest or ancestral spirit and originally seen in the context of gela. 1

2

3

4

5

6

Madison Braziel ‘14

Figure 1 Ngere, Eastern LiberiaWestern Ivory Coast. Mask Wood, 10 1/2” Private Collection

8. Anne-Marie Bottiaux, Persona Masks of Africa: Identities Revealed (Milan: 5 Continents Editions, 2009), 149. 9. Fischer, “Dan Forest Spirits,” 18. 10. Monni Adams, “Double Perspectives: Village Masking in Canton Boo, Ivory Coast,” Art Journal vol. 47, no. 2 (1988): 98. 11. Fischer, “Dan Forest Spirits,” 18. 12. Adams, “Double Perspectives,” 95. 13. Adams, “Double Perspectives,” 97.

African; South Africa or Lesotho; amaSwazi Cloth Sample Cloth made from tree bark, 19th century Transfer from the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections 2003.26.9

You may be most familiar with textiles made from wool, silk, cotton, or raffia, but tree bark is one raw material used in Eastern and Southern African textile traditions.1 Turning bark into functional cloth demands an intricate beating process that requires both mastery and time, for too much force could tear the cloth, and not enough force leaves the cloth rough and inflexible.

The process begins with cutting the bark from the tree. Trees used for bark cloth can vary, though the Natal fig trees are particularly common. Once the bark is stripped from the tree and the hard shell is scraped, the bark is then soaked in water, cleaned, dried, and readied for the beating process, which can leave the bark up to four times its original width.2 Wide-grooved mallets are used to beat the strips of bark flat, and then the strips are folded and beaten again with another set of finer-grooved mallets. After about eight or so cycles, the bark is then rolled out flat and dried in the sun, giving the newly-made cloth its coloring. The longer the cloth is left in the sun, the richer and more vibrant the cloth becomes. After this step, the cloth would be ready for painting, embellishment, or mud-dyes, depending on the function of the cloth.3 This cloth sample is coral red in color, and seemingly flexible and soft. Upon a closer viewing, individual fibers can be seen, meaning that this cloth was highly manipulated, and likely very soft. In the 19th and 20th centuries, bark cloth was multifunctional for the Swazi and could have been used for clothing, bedding, mats, funeral shrouds, or ceremonial purposes. The cloth was worn as skirts by young women. Once married, adult women wore cloth dresses that covered their chest. For men, traditional dress was loin skin and cloth with beaded ornaments. More ornate clothing was reserved for celebrations, especially the Swazi’s most sacred ceremony, the Incwala, which honors Kingship’s role in society. The king, known as Ngwenyama (Lion), was a centralized power in Swazi culture, sharing the power his mother, Ndlovukati (Lady Elephant), and together they represented fertility, authority, and world order. The ceremony began near the summer solstice and spanned across a week and included ritual dances, initiation ceremonies for boys, harvest celebrations, and dance. The costumes worn varied based on one’s role in society, and the cloth in this sense served as a visual power symbol in Swazi culture. 1. Dale Idiens. “An Introduction to Traditional African Weaving and Textiles.” Textile History, pg. 8. 2. Cosmo Haskard and Barbara Lamport Stokes. “Bark Cloth” The Society of Malawi Journal, pg. 38 3. Ibid, pg 84.


Bibliography

RJG, Three African Masks, Bulletin (St. Louis Art Museum) , New Series, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Janu-ary-March 1979), pp. 156-158. Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/ stable/40716030.

Roy, Christopher D. “The Spread of Mask Styles in the Black Volta Basin.” African Arts 20.4 (1987): 40-47. Web. Nunley, John W. “West African Sculpture: Sacred Space, Spirit, and Power.” Bulletin (St. Louis Art Museum) New Series 16.4 (1983): 1-41. Web. Giles, Bridget. Peoples of West Africa. New York: Facts On File, 1997. Print.

Povey, John. “Traditional Sculpture from Upper Volta.” African Arts. 12.3 (1979): 87. http://www.uiowa.edu/~africart/Mask_styles/Index.html.

African; South Africa or Zimbabwe; Shona Headrest Wood Gift of Mrs. Louisa Healy Pixley (Class of 1857) 2003.26.5

This headrest was assumed to be of Zulu origin due to a handwrittend label under the base of the piece that reads “Zulu Pillow Pixley.” Its date of manufacture remains unclear. Located in the province of Natal in western South Africa, the Zulu people are one of multiple ethnic groups that constitute the Nguni people, who are united by the Bantu language and an intertwined historical background. This headrest was gifted to the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum by Mrs. Louisa Healy Pixley, a non-graduating member of the class of 1857 who lived in South Africa with her husband, Steven, and daughter, Martha (Mount Holyoke alumna class of 1886), who were both missionaries in the region for several years. The Mount Holyoke Archives mention numerous donations of “Zulu Curiosities,” made by Mrs. Pixley to the College, including this headrest. The Shona are a neighboring froup of the Zulu and are settled primarily in Zimbabwe, and to a lesser extent in Mozambique. There is evidence to support that this particular headrest is of Shona, rather than Zulu origin. Typical Zulu headrests have a low, horizontal form with a linear platform supported by four or more legs (Figure 2). This headrest closely resembles several other headrests of confirmed Shona origin such as the one depicted in Figure 3. Both headrests are made of wood with a dark patina and are roughly the same size. Traces of hair oil on the surface of Mount Holyoke’s headrest suggest its frequent use. Each has an upper platform that curves downward with decorative, rectangular flaps on either end. Both headrests also have a center support comprised of a pair of inverted chevrons conjoined at the middle. The V-shapes are separated by a pair of concentric circles that occurs halfway up on either side of the leg. The support of each headrest is connected to a tapering, oblong base with a triangular wedge incised in the front and back. The headrest at the Fowler Museum of Cultural History is more elaborately decorated with a zigzag pattern along the branches of the support, in addition to parallel scoring along the ends of the platform. Previously, the headrest was a utilitarian object in Shona cultures, and it remains symbolically important. To sleep, the owner would place the platform under his or her head, either along the line of the jaw and ear or under the back of the neck. Headrests were used to protect the elaborate hair styles that indicated an individual’s age, wealth, and status within the community. Such hairstyles could take hours or even weeks to construct, and were often embellished with various ornaments. Headrests were decorated with intricate designs that may have indicated social status of the owner. Although the specific meanings behind such designs in the Shona culture have not been confirmed, there are several theories regarding their symbolism. Some scholars believe


Bibliography

Adams, Monni. “Double Perspectives: Village Masking in Canton Boo, Ivory Coast.” In Art Journal vol. 47, no. 2 (1988): 95-102. African Art: The DeHavenon Collection. Washington D.C.: Museum of African Art, 1971.

Bottiaux, Anne-Marie. Persona Masks of Africa: Identities Revealed. Milan: 5 Continents Editions, 2009. Fagg, William Butler. Afrique: Centatribus-Cent Chefs-D’Oeuvre. Berlin: 1964.

Fischer, Eberhard. “Dan Forest Spirits: Masks in Dan Villages.” African Arts vol. 93, no. 2 (1978): 16-23.

Fischer, Eberhard. “Dan.” In Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online, http://www. oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T021287 (accessed September 25, 2011). Kerchache, Jacques, Jean-Louis Paudrat, and Lucien Stephan. Art of Africa. New York: Harry W. Abrams Incorporated, 1988.

Wingert, Paul S. “African Masks: Structure, Expression, Style.” In African Arts vol. 6, no. 2 (1973): 56-64. Visonà, Monica Blackmun, Robin Poynor, and Herbert M. Cole. A History of Art in Africa. 2nd ed. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd., 2008.


forest” and “ancestral spirit.”8 Although Ngere masks display common visual conventions, each mask stresses the individuality and uniqueness of the spirit it portrays. These spirits are disembodied and float throughout the forest. They intervene in village life to educate and entertain humankind.9 Masks are created when a spirit appears to a person, usually a man, in a dream and describes their distinct qualities and visual characteristics.10 It is the duty of the dreamer to commission a vessel for the forest entity to inhabit. Wooden masks are the most expressive and translatable form of a spirit’s paranormal power.11 Authority and identity are not fully expressed until an individual wears a mask with full costume and headdress. This completed transformation is called gela and refers to the animated personality of a spirit.12 A masker’s identity is blurred by the costumes and headdresses, which enlarge and alter their human form. For example, the Ngere people of Canton Boo wear voluminous raffia-palm skirts that cover the entire body to the ankles.13 This way the expression of spiritual identity is presented foremost when in gela. This mask was most likely an embodiment of a forest or ancestral spirit and originally seen in the context of gela. 1

2

3

4

5

6

Madison Braziel ‘14

Figure 1 Ngere, Eastern LiberiaWestern Ivory Coast. Mask Wood, 10 1/2” Private Collection

8. Anne-Marie Bottiaux, Persona Masks of Africa: Identities Revealed (Milan: 5 Continents Editions, 2009), 149. 9. Fischer, “Dan Forest Spirits,” 18. 10. Monni Adams, “Double Perspectives: Village Masking in Canton Boo, Ivory Coast,” Art Journal vol. 47, no. 2 (1988): 98. 11. Fischer, “Dan Forest Spirits,” 18. 12. Adams, “Double Perspectives,” 95. 13. Adams, “Double Perspectives,” 97.

African; South Africa or Lesotho; amaSwazi Cloth Sample Cloth made from tree bark, 19th century Transfer from the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections 2003.26.9

You may be most familiar with textiles made from wool, silk, cotton, or raffia, but tree bark is one raw material used in Eastern and Southern African textile traditions.1 Turning bark into functional cloth demands an intricate beating process that requires both mastery and time, for too much force could tear the cloth, and not enough force leaves the cloth rough and inflexible.

The process begins with cutting the bark from the tree. Trees used for bark cloth can vary, though the Natal fig trees are particularly common. Once the bark is stripped from the tree and the hard shell is scraped, the bark is then soaked in water, cleaned, dried, and readied for the beating process, which can leave the bark up to four times its original width.2 Wide-grooved mallets are used to beat the strips of bark flat, and then the strips are folded and beaten again with another set of finer-grooved mallets. After about eight or so cycles, the bark is then rolled out flat and dried in the sun, giving the newly-made cloth its coloring. The longer the cloth is left in the sun, the richer and more vibrant the cloth becomes. After this step, the cloth would be ready for painting, embellishment, or mud-dyes, depending on the function of the cloth.3 This cloth sample is coral red in color, and seemingly flexible and soft. Upon a closer viewing, individual fibers can be seen, meaning that this cloth was highly manipulated, and likely very soft. In the 19th and 20th centuries, bark cloth was multifunctional for the Swazi and could have been used for clothing, bedding, mats, funeral shrouds, or ceremonial purposes. The cloth was worn as skirts by young women. Once married, adult women wore cloth dresses that covered their chest. For men, traditional dress was loin skin and cloth with beaded ornaments. More ornate clothing was reserved for celebrations, especially the Swazi’s most sacred ceremony, the Incwala, which honors Kingship’s role in society. The king, known as Ngwenyama (Lion), was a centralized power in Swazi culture, sharing the power his mother, Ndlovukati (Lady Elephant), and together they represented fertility, authority, and world order. The ceremony began near the summer solstice and spanned across a week and included ritual dances, initiation ceremonies for boys, harvest celebrations, and dance. The costumes worn varied based on one’s role in society, and the cloth in this sense served as a visual power symbol in Swazi culture. 1. Dale Idiens. “An Introduction to Traditional African Weaving and Textiles.” Textile History, pg. 8. 2. Cosmo Haskard and Barbara Lamport Stokes. “Bark Cloth” The Society of Malawi Journal, pg. 38 3. Ibid, pg 84.


Mount Holyoke College’s earliest acquisitions—including this amaSwazi Cloth—were donated by students and alumnae who served as missionaries in the mid-nineteenth century. Loyal to one of Mary Lyon’s strongest founding tenets, the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary sought to “cultivate the missionary spirit among its pupils.”4 Thus, these objects were meant to provide physical material for students to formulate a precise understanding of both craftsmanship and cultural diversity.5 The fact that this bark cloth was included in the Missionary Cabinet means that the College acquired it prior to 1892, the year the inventory list of the Missionary Cabinet was created. However, the formal opening of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum was in 1876, meaning that the Missionary Cabinet and its contents were understood as ethnographic learning tools instead of prized pieces of fine art. The amaSwazi cloth remained a part of Archives and Special Collections until 2003, the year in which remaining items were transferred to the Museum’s collection, a move that began dissolving the boundary between “art” and “artifact” in the college’s collections. 1

2

Mallory Roark, ‘13

African; Liberia or Cote d’Ivoire; Ngere Mask Polychromed wood with rope Gift of Emil J. Arnold, through Mrs. J. O’Leary (Doris E. Anderson, Class of 1935) 1963.2.U.OI

This red and white polychromatic wooden mask with rope comes from the Ngere peoples from the Liberian and Ivory Coast border. The facial features are exaggerated and protruding, particularly the forehead, mouth, and cheekbones. Red pigment stretches across the large, oval eyes and indicates majesty or frightfulness. The white polychromed cheeks and eye slits of the mask demonstrate piety and serenity.1 Rope is affixed around the sides of the mask’s face and held in place by wooden pegs. Animal hair is attached to these pieces of rope and above the mouth. The presence of animal hair indicates decoration as well as spiritual empowerment.2 Bells and other sacrificial paraphernalia were once attached to the mask. The Ngere believe that animal hair, bells, cowrie shells, nails, feathers, and other types of sacrificial matter increase the magical powers of a wooden mask.3

The bulky and jutting features of the mask are common traits in Ngere works, as demonstrated by another Ngere mask from the Liberian-Ivory Coast area (fig. 1).4 The Ngere mask here displays similar rounded eyes with horizontal slits, an angular and projecting mouth, irregular metal teeth, vertically raised cheekbones, and sacrificial matter on the right cheekbone.5 The mask also has formal characteristics similar to Ngere and Dan Poro Society masks. The Dan inhabit the Liberian border and share many cultural traits with the Ngere.6 The Poro Society consists of male members who maintain social, cultural, and political functions for their particular group.7 The Poro invoke the powers inside wooden masks through performance and dance. Poro masks are characterized by a mixture of exaggerated zoomorphic and human features, such as a beak-like mouth with a pointed tongue etched inside. Repetition of facial features is also common in Poro masks and indicates magical potency and ancient status. This is seen with the mask’s two sets of eyes, the slits for the wearer to peer out of and the protruding eyes below.

Ngere masks are endowed with supernatural power because they are the material manifestations of ancestral and forest spirits. The Ngere word for mask, gla, means “the

4. Missionary Collections, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections. 5. Sarah Miller, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum Collection (1876-1930).

1. Eberhard Fischer, “Dan Forest Spirits: Masks in Dan Villages,” African Arts vol. 93, no. 2 (1978): 19. 2. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Mimsy, accession number MH1963.2.U.OI. 3. Jacques Kerchache, et al., Art of Africa (New York: Harry W. Abrams Incorporated, 1988), 523. 4. Paul S. Wingert, “African Masks: Structure, Expression, Style,” African Arts vol. 6, no. 2 (1973): 59. 5. Wingert, “African Masks,” 58. 6. Eberhard Fischer, “Dan,” In Grove Art Online, Oxford Art Online, http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T021287, accessed September 25, 2011. 7. African Art: The DeHavenon Collection (Washington D.C.: Museum of African Art, 1971), 85.


Bibliography

Anna, M. “Bark-Cloth Making among the Baganda of East Africa.” Primitive Man 9.1 (1936): 12-14. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3316400. Barker, Dudly. Swaziland. London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1965. Print.

Haskard, Cosmo, and Barbara Lamport-Stokes. “Bark Cloth.” The Society of Malawi Journal, 44.2 (1991): 38-40. http://www.jstor.org/stable/29778653. Hodder, B.W. “Indigenous Cloth Trade and Marketing in Africa.” Textile History, 11 (1980): 21. Idiens, Dale. “An Introduction to Traditional African Weaving and Textiles.” Textile History. No. 11, 1980, pages 5-21. Textile History, 11 (1980): 5-21.

Kuper, Hilda. “A Ritual of Kingship Among the Swazi.” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (14.5): 230 – 257. Kuper, Hilda. “Celebration of Growth and Kingship: Incwala in Swaziland.” African Arts (1.3):56-59+90. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3334349. Kuper, Hilda. “Costume and Identity.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 15.03 (1973): 348-67. http://www.jstor.org/stable/178260. Kuper, Hilda. The Swazi: A South African Kingdom. New York: Rineheart and Winston, 1986. Print. Miller, Sarah. “Mount Holyoke College Art Museum Collection (1876-1930).” Thesis. Mount Holyoke College, 1975. Print.

Missionaries Collection, Series 3: Missionary Work by Country: Africa – Chile, Box 9, LD 7093.8. m5, RG 29, Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA.

Richard, Paul, et al. “Africa.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 27 Sep. 2012 <http:// www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T000675pg6>. [Sections used: Materials, techniques, uses]. Student Files, Pixley, Alzina, V, X Class of 1849, Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. Vogel, Catherine A. M., and Anitra C. E. Nettleton. “The Arts of Southern Africa.” African Arts 18.3 (1985): 52-53. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3336355 .


inspired by nature, such as a turtle’s back, a dog’s face, smoke, or the beat of a drum. The alternating black and white rectangles that make up the border around the skirt may symbolize the king’s palace. The white lines resemble a pattern used to symbolize smoke. Mayra Rivera

Exhibition History

Hillwood Art Museum at Long Island University, Brookville NY, 1999

Bibliography

Binkley, David A., and Patricia Darish. Kuba. Milan: 5 Continents, 2009.

Cameron, Elisabeth L. “Coming To Terms with Heritage.” African Arts 45.3 (2012): 2841. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Sept. 2012. Finch, Christopher. “Kuba Textiles.” Architectural Digest 56.1 (1999): 48. Search Premier. Web. 26 Sept. 2012.

“Kuba Information.” Art and Life in Africa Online. University of Iowa. 1999.

Mack, John. “Bakuba Embroidery Patterns: a Commentary on their Social and Political Implication.” Textiles of Africa. Bath, England. The Pasold Research Fund. 1980. Meurant, Georges. Shoowa Design: African Textiles from the Kingdom of Kuba. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1986.

Pemberton III. John. African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment. Northampton: Smith College Museum of Art, 2008. Print.

Washburn, Dorothy K. Style, Classification and Ethnicity: Design Categories on Bakuba Raffia Cloth. Independence Sqaure: The American Philosophy Society, 1990. Print.

African; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Azande Trumpet Ivory and snakeskin, ca. 1920 Bequest of Helene Brosseau Black (Class of 1931) 1991.4.142

The name of the Zande people (plural form: Azande) refers to the language spoken by multiple ethnic groups in the northeastern corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a result of warfare and alliances, the Avongara people formed the elite class of the Zande, bringing together various ethnic groups that retained their individual identities. As a result, Zande culture is a mixture of various cultural components selected by the Avongara. For example, the use of ivory horns originated with the Mangbetu, the Zande’s neighbors, long before the Zande existed as a unified entity.

Horns were one of three instruments reserved for court use, and they commonly belonged to court musicians as opposed to Zande leaders. The court orchestras of Zande rulers were so important that membership was a hereditary position, or appointed at the ruler’s discretion. Performance, especially dance, was important in Zande culture because dance was a means of measuring intelligence. The greater ease and more virtuosity a dancer presented, the more intelligent they were considered. For this reason, among others, court orchestras were necessary as court musicians played the mabolo. The mabolo was a dance reserved for the leader. It differs from other Zande dances because the various components could be choreographed with ease. In this way, the mabolo offered an opportunity for a ruler to prove his intelligence to the community without taxing himself. Despite the horns’ importance in Zande society, their carvings are simplistic, letting the natural beauty and form of the ivory tusks define them. This particular piece is carved in extremely high relief around the mouthpiece; this attention signifies its importance as a producer of sound, highlighting the purpose of the horn as one of its more important aspects. The figure’s legs draw the viewer to the opposite opening, moving the eye across the elegant and polished natural curve. The carved figure is a common motif, said to be an allusion to Queen Nenzima, yet this figure appears male. Queen Nenzima was the wife of King Okondo of the Mangbetu, who ruled during the time of the Lang-Chapin Expedition. The expedition marked a turning point in the production of ivory horns, as mass exportation increased significantly following their departure.

It is interesting to note that the figure’s elongated head emulates the style of Mangbetu women during the early twentieth century. The fact that they also often represented Queen Nenzima gives evidence for the figural motif being developed during the same period. If anthropomorphic horns preceded her reign, the figures would not allude to her, or portray popular fashion styles of the Mangbetu in the early twentieth century. This


decoration is determined by the influence of Europeans on the production market, as they preferred anthropomorphic art. Furthermore, the horn is solid, and thus not functional. Together, these aspects reflect the political and cultural atmosphere of northeastern Zaire during the 1920s. This particular horn was never intended to be used, much less kept in Africa. Very often tourists, explorers, and art dealers commissioned solid horns because of the time it took for artisans to hollow them out. It was made solely for the growing African art market abroad, spurred on by colonial expeditions into Africa. Production of ivory horns was especially effected by Georg Schweinfurth’s expedition into Central Africa in 1870, and further following the Lang-Chapin expedition (1910-1915.) The export market was not the only way that European influence increased the production of the ivory horns. As more Zande came into contact with Europeans, Zande rulers themselves commissioned growing numbers of these pieces. This is not to say that the introduction of the horns was a new phenomenon. Traditionally, most horns were carved from wood, with only a handful of ivory examples. The ivory horns caught the eyes of Europeans, who praised those few above all else. By the time of the LangChapin Expedition (1910-1915,) the export market for Zande ivory horns had grown considerably. Another result was that Zande rulers commissioned ivory horns for themselves in lieu of wooden ones to mark their wealth and importance in ways that would impress the Europeans. While they did not understand the cultural importance of the horns, Europeans understood their material wealth. This is most easily described in the increasing production of objects that were determined by the Europeans’ buying habits, as they purchased ivories in vastly greater numbers than non-ivory examples. Production lessened directly preceding World War II, and continued to slow into the 1950s. Today production is nearly nonexistent due to poaching laws as well as conflict that remains in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ashley Kosa ‘15

African; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Kuba Man’s Skirt Raffia, cotton, pigments, 20th century Gift of Gilbert and Roda Graham 2000.7.3

This twentieth-century raffia textile comes from the Kuba people, also known as the Bakuba, who live in the center of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. The Bakuba people were made up of about eighteen groups who lived between Sankuru and Lulua rivers in what was once known as Zaire. These eighteen groups had different names and until the 1880’s the name Bakuba specifically referred to the Bushong, where the different groups had their own representative at the court. Over time, however, all the people became known as the Kuba. The Kuba people were known as the “people of the throwing knife.” “Ba” meaning “people of” and “Kuba” meaning “lightning.” It could be that the lightning is a reference to the glint of sun coming from knives being thrown. This man’s skirt was worn tied around the waist. Skirts like this one would be worn for different occasions or used as currency. Depending on the occasion, different skirts with different patterns would be used. Those with patterns like Dog’s Tail were used for performances and other skirts were worn for funerals. Elaborate skirts were worn during funerals of people with high social status. It would have been considered disrespectful to not wear your best skirt to the king’s funeral, for example. Such skirts were viewed as clothing but also as intricately made works of art. Skirts were sometimes made by a group of people or family. However, not all skirts were meant to be viewed by the general public. For example, some festivals were only attended by men, and women were not allowed to see the skirt. For this reason, sometimes skirts were made by only one single person. Look carefully at this skirt. It is composed of six strips of about 5 x 24”. The place where they overlap seems to have a thick strip of cloth on top. This is called pile cloth. It has an almost velvety feel to it. It is made by raffia fiber that is first chewed and rubbed by hand until it is at the softness that is needed. This skirt also has raffia balls on the hem. Although the color of the skirt looks maroon, it may have been a more bright red when it was first made. Notice the four patches. You can see that the skirt was repaired and that the people repairing it tried to preserve the pattern. There are over 200 named patterns in the canon of Kuba textiles. However, the patterns, their meanings, and names can change from person to person. These patterns are often


References

Bovin, Mette. “Ethno-Terms for Ethnic Groups: Examples from Azande and Kanuri.” Zande Themes: Essays Presented to Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard. Eds. Andre Singer and Brian V. Street. Oxford:Basil Blackwell, 1972. 64--82. Print. Demolin, Didier. “Music and Dance in Northeastern Zaire Part 1: The Social Organization of Mangbetu Music.” African Reflections: Art from Northeastern Zaire. Eds. Enid Schildkrout and Curtis A. Keim., 1990. 195-195-209. Print. Evans-Pritchard, Edward. The Azande: History and Political Institutions. Great Britain: Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1971. Print.

Schildkrout, Enid. “Gender and Sexuality in Mangbetu Art.” Unpacking Culture: Art and Commodity in Colonial and Postcolonial Worlds. Eds. Ruth B. Phillips and Christopher B. Steiner. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1999. 197-213. Print. ---. “The Spectacle of Africa through the Lens of Herbert Lang: Belgian Congo Photographs 1909-1915.” African Arts 24.4 (1991): 75,-85, 100. Print.

Schildkrout, Enid and Curtis A. Keim, eds. The Scramble for Art in Central Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Print.


References

Bovin, Mette. “Ethno-Terms for Ethnic Groups: Examples from Azande and Kanuri.” Zande Themes: Essays Presented to Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard. Eds. Andre Singer and Brian V. Street. Oxford:Basil Blackwell, 1972. 64--82. Print. Demolin, Didier. “Music and Dance in Northeastern Zaire Part 1: The Social Organization of Mangbetu Music.” African Reflections: Art from Northeastern Zaire. Eds. Enid Schildkrout and Curtis A. Keim., 1990. 195-195-209. Print. Evans-Pritchard, Edward. The Azande: History and Political Institutions. Great Britain: Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1971. Print.

Schildkrout, Enid. “Gender and Sexuality in Mangbetu Art.” Unpacking Culture: Art and Commodity in Colonial and Postcolonial Worlds. Eds. Ruth B. Phillips and Christopher B. Steiner. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1999. 197-213. Print. ---. “The Spectacle of Africa through the Lens of Herbert Lang: Belgian Congo Photographs 1909-1915.” African Arts 24.4 (1991): 75,-85, 100. Print.

Schildkrout, Enid and Curtis A. Keim, eds. The Scramble for Art in Central Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Print.


decoration is determined by the influence of Europeans on the production market, as they preferred anthropomorphic art. Furthermore, the horn is solid, and thus not functional. Together, these aspects reflect the political and cultural atmosphere of northeastern Zaire during the 1920s. This particular horn was never intended to be used, much less kept in Africa. Very often tourists, explorers, and art dealers commissioned solid horns because of the time it took for artisans to hollow them out. It was made solely for the growing African art market abroad, spurred on by colonial expeditions into Africa. Production of ivory horns was especially effected by Georg Schweinfurth’s expedition into Central Africa in 1870, and further following the Lang-Chapin expedition (1910-1915.) The export market was not the only way that European influence increased the production of the ivory horns. As more Zande came into contact with Europeans, Zande rulers themselves commissioned growing numbers of these pieces. This is not to say that the introduction of the horns was a new phenomenon. Traditionally, most horns were carved from wood, with only a handful of ivory examples. The ivory horns caught the eyes of Europeans, who praised those few above all else. By the time of the LangChapin Expedition (1910-1915,) the export market for Zande ivory horns had grown considerably. Another result was that Zande rulers commissioned ivory horns for themselves in lieu of wooden ones to mark their wealth and importance in ways that would impress the Europeans. While they did not understand the cultural importance of the horns, Europeans understood their material wealth. This is most easily described in the increasing production of objects that were determined by the Europeans’ buying habits, as they purchased ivories in vastly greater numbers than non-ivory examples. Production lessened directly preceding World War II, and continued to slow into the 1950s. Today production is nearly nonexistent due to poaching laws as well as conflict that remains in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ashley Kosa ‘15

African; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Kuba Man’s Skirt Raffia, cotton, pigments, 20th century Gift of Gilbert and Roda Graham 2000.7.3

This twentieth-century raffia textile comes from the Kuba people, also known as the Bakuba, who live in the center of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. The Bakuba people were made up of about eighteen groups who lived between Sankuru and Lulua rivers in what was once known as Zaire. These eighteen groups had different names and until the 1880’s the name Bakuba specifically referred to the Bushong, where the different groups had their own representative at the court. Over time, however, all the people became known as the Kuba. The Kuba people were known as the “people of the throwing knife.” “Ba” meaning “people of” and “Kuba” meaning “lightning.” It could be that the lightning is a reference to the glint of sun coming from knives being thrown. This man’s skirt was worn tied around the waist. Skirts like this one would be worn for different occasions or used as currency. Depending on the occasion, different skirts with different patterns would be used. Those with patterns like Dog’s Tail were used for performances and other skirts were worn for funerals. Elaborate skirts were worn during funerals of people with high social status. It would have been considered disrespectful to not wear your best skirt to the king’s funeral, for example. Such skirts were viewed as clothing but also as intricately made works of art. Skirts were sometimes made by a group of people or family. However, not all skirts were meant to be viewed by the general public. For example, some festivals were only attended by men, and women were not allowed to see the skirt. For this reason, sometimes skirts were made by only one single person. Look carefully at this skirt. It is composed of six strips of about 5 x 24”. The place where they overlap seems to have a thick strip of cloth on top. This is called pile cloth. It has an almost velvety feel to it. It is made by raffia fiber that is first chewed and rubbed by hand until it is at the softness that is needed. This skirt also has raffia balls on the hem. Although the color of the skirt looks maroon, it may have been a more bright red when it was first made. Notice the four patches. You can see that the skirt was repaired and that the people repairing it tried to preserve the pattern. There are over 200 named patterns in the canon of Kuba textiles. However, the patterns, their meanings, and names can change from person to person. These patterns are often


inspired by nature, such as a turtle’s back, a dog’s face, smoke, or the beat of a drum. The alternating black and white rectangles that make up the border around the skirt may symbolize the king’s palace. The white lines resemble a pattern used to symbolize smoke. Mayra Rivera

Exhibition History

Hillwood Art Museum at Long Island University, Brookville NY, 1999

Bibliography

Binkley, David A., and Patricia Darish. Kuba. Milan: 5 Continents, 2009.

Cameron, Elisabeth L. “Coming To Terms with Heritage.” African Arts 45.3 (2012): 2841. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Sept. 2012. Finch, Christopher. “Kuba Textiles.” Architectural Digest 56.1 (1999): 48. Search Premier. Web. 26 Sept. 2012.

“Kuba Information.” Art and Life in Africa Online. University of Iowa. 1999.

Mack, John. “Bakuba Embroidery Patterns: a Commentary on their Social and Political Implication.” Textiles of Africa. Bath, England. The Pasold Research Fund. 1980.

Meurant, Georges. Shoowa Design: African Textiles from the Kingdom of Kuba. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1986.

Pemberton III. John. African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment. Northampton: Smith College Museum of Art, 2008. Print.

Washburn, Dorothy K. Style, Classification and Ethnicity: Design Categories on Bakuba Raffia Cloth. Independence Sqaure: The American Philosophy Society, 1990. Print.

African; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Azande Trumpet Ivory and snakeskin, ca. 1920 Bequest of Helene Brosseau Black (Class of 1931)

1991.4.142

The name of the Zande people (plural form: Azande) refers to the language spoken by multiple ethnic groups in the northeastern corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a result of warfare and alliances, the Avongara people formed the elite class of the Zande, bringing together various ethnic groups that retained their individual identities. As a result, Zande culture is a mixture of various cultural components selected by the Avongara. For example, the use of ivory horns originated with the Mangbetu, the Zande’s neighbors, long before the Zande existed as a unified entity.

Horns were one of three instruments reserved for court use, and they commonly belonged to court musicians as opposed to Zande leaders. The court orchestras of Zande rulers were so important that membership was a hereditary position, or appointed at the ruler’s discretion. Performance, especially dance, was important in Zande culture because dance was a means of measuring intelligence. The greater ease and more virtuosity a dancer presented, the more intelligent they were considered. For this reason, among others, court orchestras were necessary as court musicians played the mabolo. The mabolo was a dance reserved for the leader. It differs from other Zande dances because the various components could be choreographed with ease. In this way, the mabolo offered an opportunity for a ruler to prove his intelligence to the community without taxing himself. Despite the horns’ importance in Zande society, their carvings are simplistic, letting the natural beauty and form of the ivory tusks define them. This particular piece is carved in extremely high relief around the mouthpiece; this attention signifies its importance as a producer of sound, highlighting the purpose of the horn as one of its more important aspects. The figure’s legs draw the viewer to the opposite opening, moving the eye across the elegant and polished natural curve. The carved figure is a common motif, said to be an allusion to Queen Nenzima, yet this figure appears male. Queen Nenzima was the wife of King Okondo of the Mangbetu, who ruled during the time of the Lang-Chapin Expedition. The expedition marked a turning point in the production of ivory horns, as mass exportation increased significantly following their departure.

It is interesting to note that the figure’s elongated head emulates the style of Mangbetu women during the early twentieth century. The fact that they also often represented Queen Nenzima gives evidence for the figural motif being developed during the same period. If anthropomorphic horns preceded her reign, the figures would not allude to her, or portray popular fashion styles of the Mangbetu in the early twentieth century. This


African; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Kuba Belt (nkody mu-ikup) Green, white and blue glass beads; cowrie shells, and fiber, 20th century Gift of Gilbert and Roda Graham 2000.7.1

Geometric principles are central to the arts made by the Kuba peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rhythmic design manifests among all manner of Kuba art forms, but has been given special attention when it comes to weaving and embroidery. The Kuba weave astonishingly intricate patterns into large pieces of raffia cloth, often employing multiple designs in interplay on the same sheet. Over two hundred different motifs, each of them named and some of them representing objects in nature, have been recorded. With a long history of trading their artwork among other central African peoples, Kuba work quickly circulated to Europe after first contact in the late 19th century; now Kuba objects are popular pieces in many museums and collections, where they are often lauded for their beauty as well as their mathematical brilliance. Geometric complexity extends to Kuba beadwork – hats, crowns, belts, and other important clothing items bear intricate, colorful patterns of beads and cowrie shells. Decorated belts are worn to special occasions, where they are often worn with the most impressive patterned raffia panels. This belt is an nkody mu-ikup, which is still worn by women during dance performances on ceremonial occasions, such as funerals and festivals. Most of the span of the belt is fiber (likely raffia) embroidered with three rows of cowrie shells framed by a border of blue and white glass beads. In the center is an imbol, a decorative motif that is one of the Kuba’s most prestigious patterns, thoroughly embellished with green and white glass beads laid out in varying patterns. The symbol of two intertwined loops, known elsewhere as a Solomon’s knot, has been used as a decorative symbol in many cultures throughout world history. The imbol would be worn at the dancer’s back, and she would tie the fiber cords in the front, hidden beneath her patterned raffia wrap. The intricacy of this belt probably pointed out the wearer’s wealth and influence – she could afford cowrie shells (as a former means of currency, they symbolize wealth, as well as beauty) and glass beads (customarily imported from Europe), not to mention the services of a beadworker talented enough to accomplish the difficult task of embellishing the imbol. Traditionally, Kuba artistic methodology was highly specialized: a woman likely embroidered this belt, but a man probably made the raffia base and might have even prepared the beads and cowries to be sewn on.

Intricacy of form could have importance outside showing off means, however. Funerals, to which belts like the nkody mu-ikup would likely be worn, have a long history of profound importance in Kuba culture: they provide an opportunity for performance, and thus the exhibition of arts, including masks, sculpture, and textiles. After an important member of the community dies, it is vital to honor the mween, the spirit of the dead

person, or else they could become angry enough to wreak havoc on the entire community. The Kuba believe mween become especially angry when their social position isn’t properly acknowledged – thus, symbols of rank, such as appropriately spectacular raffia panels and beaded belts adorned with important symbols like the imbol, must be prominently worn and displayed. These items might later be buried with the deceased to further guarantee the mween’s complacency. Though the nkody mu-ikup seems fairly utilitarian at first glance, its beauty and high-quality craftsmanship could be instrumental in securing good luck and well-being for the entire community. Genevieve Oliver ‘13

Exhibition History

African Forms at the Museum for African Art, New York, January 31 – August 8, 2001.

African Forms at Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley MA, January 20 – March 14, 2003.

African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment at Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton MA, February 1 – June 15, 2008.

Bibiliography

Adams, Monni. “Kuba Embroidered Cloth.” African Arts 12 (1978): 24-39. Binkley, David A., and Patricia Darish. Kuba. Milan: 5 Continents, 2009.

Blier, Suzanne Preston. The Royal Arts of Africa: The Majesty of Form. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1998. Cornet, Joseph. “The Itul Celebration of the Kuba.” African Arts 13 (1980): 28-33.

Meurant, Georges. Shoowa Design: African Textiles from the Kingdom of Kuba. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1986.

Oxford Art Online. “Kuba.” http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/ art/T048147?q=kuba&search=quick&pos=4&_start=1#firsthit. Accessed October 2, 2012. Pemberton, John. African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment. Northampton, MA: Smith College Museum of Art, 2008.

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at University of Florida. “Between the Beads: Reading African Beadwork.” http://www.harn.ufl.edu/beadwork/gallery/pages/powerPrestige/ index.php. Accessed September 20, 2012.


African; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Kuba Belt (nkody mu-ikup) Green, white and blue glass beads; cowrie shells, and fiber, 20th century Gift of Gilbert and Roda Graham

2000.7.1

Geometric principles are central to the arts made by the Kuba peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rhythmic design manifests among all manner of Kuba art forms, but has been given special attention when it comes to weaving and embroidery. The Kuba weave astonishingly intricate patterns into large pieces of raffia cloth, often employing multiple designs in interplay on the same sheet. Over two hundred different motifs, each of them named and some of them representing objects in nature, have been recorded. With a long history of trading their artwork among other central African peoples, Kuba work quickly circulated to Europe after first contact in the late 19th century; now Kuba objects are popular pieces in many museums and collections, where they are often lauded for their beauty as well as their mathematical brilliance. Geometric complexity extends to Kuba beadwork – hats, crowns, belts, and other important clothing items bear intricate, colorful patterns of beads and cowrie shells. Decorated belts are worn to special occasions, where they are often worn with the most impressive patterned raffia panels. This belt is an nkody mu-ikup, which is still worn by women during dance performances on ceremonial occasions, such as funerals and festivals. Most of the span of the belt is fiber (likely raffia) embroidered with three rows of cowrie shells framed by a border of blue and white glass beads. In the center is an imbol, a decorative motif that is one of the Kuba’s most prestigious patterns, thoroughly embellished with green and white glass beads laid out in varying patterns. The symbol of two intertwined loops, known elsewhere as a Solomon’s knot, has been used as a decorative symbol in many cultures throughout world history. The imbol would be worn at the dancer’s back, and she would tie the fiber cords in the front, hidden beneath her patterned raffia wrap. The intricacy of this belt probably pointed out the wearer’s wealth and influence – she could afford cowrie shells (as a former means of currency, they symbolize wealth, as well as beauty) and glass beads (customarily imported from Europe), not to mention the services of a beadworker talented enough to accomplish the difficult task of embellishing the imbol. Traditionally, Kuba artistic methodology was highly specialized: a woman likely embroidered this belt, but a man probably made the raffia base and might have even prepared the beads and cowries to be sewn on.

Intricacy of form could have importance outside showing off means, however. Funerals, to which belts like the nkody mu-ikup would likely be worn, have a long history of profound importance in Kuba culture: they provide an opportunity for performance, and thus the exhibition of arts, including masks, sculpture, and textiles. After an important member of the community dies, it is vital to honor the mween, the spirit of the dead

person, or else they could become angry enough to wreak havoc on the entire community. The Kuba believe mween become especially angry when their social position isn’t properly acknowledged – thus, symbols of rank, such as appropriately spectacular raffia panels and beaded belts adorned with important symbols like the imbol, must be prominently worn and displayed. These items might later be buried with the deceased to further guarantee the mween’s complacency. Though the nkody mu-ikup seems fairly utilitarian at first glance, its beauty and high-quality craftsmanship could be instrumental in securing good luck and well-being for the entire community. Genevieve Oliver ‘13

Exhibition History

African Forms at the Museum for African Art, New York, January 31 – August 8, 2001.

African Forms at Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley MA, January 20 – March 14, 2003.

African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment at Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton MA, February 1 – June 15, 2008.

Bibiliography

Adams, Monni. “Kuba Embroidered Cloth.” African Arts 12 (1978): 24-39. Binkley, David A., and Patricia Darish. Kuba. Milan: 5 Continents, 2009.

Blier, Suzanne Preston. The Royal Arts of Africa: The Majesty of Form. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1998. Cornet, Joseph. “The Itul Celebration of the Kuba.” African Arts 13 (1980): 28-33.

Meurant, Georges. Shoowa Design: African Textiles from the Kingdom of Kuba. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1986.

Oxford Art Online. “Kuba.” http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/ art/T048147?q=kuba&search=quick&pos=4&_start=1#firsthit. Accessed October 2, 2012. Pemberton, John. African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment. Northampton, MA: Smith College Museum of Art, 2008.

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at University of Florida. “Between the Beads: Reading African Beadwork.” http://www.harn.ufl.edu/beadwork/gallery/pages/powerPrestige/ index.php. Accessed September 20, 2012.


Brochure design by Maureen Millmore, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;13

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