African Vodun: Art, Psychology, and Power / Edition 2

African Vodun: Art, Psychology, and Power / Edition 2

by Suzanne Preston Blier
     
 

In this first major study of its kind, Suzanne Preston Blier examines the artworks of the contemporary vodun cultures of southern Benin and Togo in West Africa as well as the related vodou traditions of Haiti, New Orleans, and historic Salem, Massachusetts. Comprised of beads, bones, rags, straw, leather, pottery, fur, feathers, and blood, and often tightly bound with… See more details below

Overview

In this first major study of its kind, Suzanne Preston Blier examines the artworks of the contemporary vodun cultures of southern Benin and Togo in West Africa as well as the related vodou traditions of Haiti, New Orleans, and historic Salem, Massachusetts. Comprised of beads, bones, rags, straw, leather, pottery, fur, feathers, and blood, and often tightly bound with cords, vodun artworks yield a wide range of insights into the provocative workings of emotional expression, power, and artistic representation. The power of these objects, which can be either figural sculptures, [actual symbol not reproducible], or nonfigural works known as bo, lies not only in their aesthetic, and counteraesthetic, appeal but also in their psychological and emotional effect. As objects of fury and force, these works are intended to protect and empower people and cultures that, in both precolonial and postcolonial periods, have long lived in threat of war, enslavement, disease, malnutrition, and violent death. Blier employs a variety of theoretically sophisticated psychological, anthropological, and art historical approaches to explore the contrasts inherent in the vodun arts - commoners versus royalty, popular versus elite, "low" art versus "high." She examines the relation between art and the slave trade, the psychological dynamics of artistic expression, the significance of the body in sculptural expression, and indigenous perceptions of the psyche and its corollaries in art. Throughout, Blier pushes African art history to a new height of cultural awareness that recognizes the complexity of traditional African societies as it acknowledges the role of social power in shaping aesthetics and meaning generally. This book will be of critical importance not only to those concerned with African, African American, and Caribbean art, but also to anthropologists, scholars of the African diaspora, students of comparative religion and comparative psychology, and anyone fascinated by the tr

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226058603
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
12/28/1996
Edition description:
1
Pages:
486
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Linguistic Note
Introduction: Ties that Bind: The Psychology and Power of Art1
1Vodun Art, Social History, and the Slave Trade23
2Audiences, Artists, and Sculptural Activators55
3Design in Desire: Transference and the Arts of [actual symbol not reproducible]95
4Bodies and Being: Anatomy, Anamnesis, and Representation133
5The I and Not-I in Artistic Expressions of the Self171
6Alchemy and Art: Matter, Mind, and Sculptural Meaning205
7Surface Parergon and the Arts of Suturing239
8The Force of Genre: Sculptural Tension and Typology271
9Power, Art, and the Mysteries of Rule315
Conclusions, Concomitants, and Comparisons347
Appendix: Collections and Stylistic Features355
Sources361
Notes363
Bibliography433
Index463

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >