384 pages, 24.5 x 29.7 cm , 2680 g.
Mothers and Children in the Arts of Africa
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African maternity images are prevalent wherever visual arts are valued, from early rock-art sites, ancient Egypt, and Christian Ethiopia to more recent forms. In varied materials – wood, terra cotta and metal sculpture, as well as ivory, stone, goldleaf, and painted – mother and child images are used by everyone, from commoners to kings.

This art enlivens virtually every type of object, especially altars and shrines, situated at the juncture of this world and the supernatural. Defining maternity as simultaneously biological and cultural, the author moves from obvious notions of fertility, nurture and increase to the importance of maternity in thought, ritual action and worldview, when community transformation and regeneration are paramount. Motherhood in Africa as concept and metaphor embodies a rich complex of ideas vital in the perpetuation of human society. Arts invoking this archetypal theme have been used as instruments in a politics of maternity from earliest times to the present.

While for much of human history this art has idealized and glorified maternity, more recently African artists have used the mother-baby image to address the risks and stresses of motherhood in modern life.
Author(s)Herbert M. Cole
Article IDart-61767


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