African Ceremonies: The Concise Edition

Overview

In four previous books, acclaimed photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher have documented vanishing tribal customs in Africa-and won an enormous following. Now, after nearly a decade of travel and research, they have created their masterwork. Spanning the continent, Beckwith and Fisher open our eyes to scores of exotic and wondrous ceremonies-baby namings, initiations, weddings, harvest blessings, coronations, healing exorcisms, and funerals, among others. Many of these rituals will never be performed ...
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Overview

In four previous books, acclaimed photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher have documented vanishing tribal customs in Africa-and won an enormous following. Now, after nearly a decade of travel and research, they have created their masterwork. Spanning the continent, Beckwith and Fisher open our eyes to scores of exotic and wondrous ceremonies-baby namings, initiations, weddings, harvest blessings, coronations, healing exorcisms, and funerals, among others. Many of these rituals will never be performed again; few have been pictured and described with the intimacy, knowledge, and skill of Beckwith and Fisher. Overflowing with nearly 850 magnificent color photographs, African Ceremonies is one of the most important works on Africa ever published.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The photography of Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher is an intimate exploration of the African continent. Their lifelong commitment to documenting African cultures has resulted in a number of award-winning books: Maasai, The Nomads of Niger, Africa Adorned, and African Ark. Beckwith and Fisher's latest visually arresting masterpiece is African Ceremonies, a two-volume collection chronicling the beautiful, exotic, and disappearing rituals of African peoples.
Essence Magazine
In African Ceremonies, the faces shown are those of our long-lost relatives. It is a joy to make their acquaintance again in this extraordinary book. It is an heirloom that you'll treasure forever.
K. Anthony Appiah
hese are sumptuous photographs -- a visual feast -- and they reflect both the photographers' gift for gaining the trust of their subjects and the reciprocal generosity of all sorts of African men and women...
New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From the collaborative team behind four award-winning books on Africa (Africa Adorned; Maasai; Nomads of Niger; and African Ark) comes an outstanding two-volume survey of the continent's rituals, rites and ceremonies. Divided into six sections--birth and initiation; courtship and marriage; royalty and power; seasonal rites; beliefs and worship; spirits and ancestors--the set documents 43 ceremonies in 26 countries. In addition to the more than 800 arresting color photographs, the text respectfully details each ceremony (including controversial ones, such as Maasai clitoridectomy). The authors lived with each of the groups they photographed; their bonds with their subjects are apparent in the images, which drive home the point that these ceremonies are simply conducted by ordinary people with different traditions than ours. Thus, young Taneka men dancing before a circumcision look nervous; Kassena mothers gaze lovingly at their babies as they are shaved during naming ceremonies; and Krobo girls preparing for coming-of-age dances look as cheerful as teenagers at a prom. Because masks, textiles, jewelry, sculptures and body painting often have a prominent role in rites, the books also highlight the diverse beauty of Africa's traditional arts. Ten years in the making, the volumes also represent an important anthropological achievement--some of the rituals have never been seen by outsiders and many others are disappearing under the cumulative pressure of drought, famine, political upheaval and Western influence. 45 maps. BOMC selection; 8-city author tour. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
Beckwith and Fisher, two western photographers (the former American, the latter Australian) fascinated by the rituals of Africa, spent 10 years traveling the continent to document their passion on film for the first edition of this stunning book. In 1999, it was released in a slip-cased, $150, two-volume edition; it featured 850 images of the various namings, initiations, weddings and coronations the women witnessed during their travels, as well as countless other moments of consequence with their generous hosts. Now comes the concise edition, which boasts more than half the original collection assembled in a single, large, full-color book and accompanied by a CD of ceremonial African music by composer David Bradnum. The images are bright, intimate and genuinely exotic, and they speak to a diversity of fascinating and wildly inventive rituals. From the Pedi people's beadwork to the Do-society's shaggy raffia outfits, the images capture a multitude of beautiful costumes on beautiful people, celebrating their life cycles from birth to death. For those interested in the tribal cultures of Africa, this would be a tough volume to miss. Over 400 color photographs (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
A spectacular visual record of traditional rituals, this is perhaps the ultimate coffee-table book on African cultures. Renowned photographers Beckwith (Nomads of Niger) and Fisher (Africa Adorned) organize the chapters in the first volume by life-cycle rituals--birth, marriage, and death--an arrangement that doesn't work as well for the second volume, which functions more as a collection of miscellany. Each chapter consists of introductory text and a half-dozen or so photo essays featuring rituals in specific cultures from all regions of Africa. As in the best National Geographic articles, the text is brief, well written, and clearly aimed at a general audience (as are the extensive photo captions). But, unquestionably, it is the excellent color photos that make these volumes valuable to lay reader and scholar alike, especially because many of these rituals may soon disappear from a changing Africa. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.--Eugene C. Burt, Seattle Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Scientific American
Beckwith and Fisher introduce each section with a concise, informative essay. But it is the pictures that do the talking.
The Economist
This remarkable, and certainly unrepeatable, two-volume record of the vanishing ceremonies that have given Africa so much of its spiritual wealth is the work of photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher, an American and an Australian who met in Kenya in 1978. The result is the true culmination of two lives' work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810934849
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Edition description: Book with CD- Concise Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 666,074
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 14.25 (h) x 1.25 (d)

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