Dreads

Dreads

4.3 22
by Francesco Mastalia
     
 

Dreadlocks are a modern phenomenon with roots reaching as far back as the fifth century. According to ancient Hindu beliefs, dreads signified a singleminded pursuit of the spiritual. Devotion to God displaced vanity, and hair was left to its own devices.

Dreads captures this organic explosion of hair in all its beautiful, subversive glory. One hundred

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Overview

Dreadlocks are a modern phenomenon with roots reaching as far back as the fifth century. According to ancient Hindu beliefs, dreads signified a singleminded pursuit of the spiritual. Devotion to God displaced vanity, and hair was left to its own devices.

Dreads captures this organic explosion of hair in all its beautiful, subversive glory. One hundred duotone portraits present dread-heads from around the world, in all walks of life. Interviewed on location by the photographers, jatta-wearers wax philosophic about the integrity of their hair, and every stunning image confirms their choice. Alice Walker puts words to pictures, offering lyrical ruminations about her decision to let her own mane mat.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
YA-This large, coffee-table type book with black-and-white photographs looks at the wide diversity of people who sport this knotted, ropelike hairdo. Some display it theatrically, while others wear it to stress their individuality. Others have religious or political reasons. The author also looks at dreadlocks in history, including the priests of the Ethiopian Coptic Church who have been locking their hair since the fifth century and the Rastafarian movement, which began religiously in Ethiopia. There is an introduction by Alice Walker as well as a 20-page treatise on "Sacred Rites of the Natural Hair Revolution." The 100 plates of men, women, and children in various cultures and at varying levels of modernity show this amazing hairstyle doing its thing in variety and abundance. The hair itself arouses interest and speculation as to the time involved in achieving it, the intricacies of the hygiene, and simply the wonder of it all.-Frances Reiher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781579651503
Publisher:
Artisan
Publication date:
11/01/1999
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
263,196
Product dimensions:
10.31(w) x 12.06(h) x 0.56(d)

Read an Excerpt

Considering the prevalence of dreadlocks today and their twentieth-century Jamaican roots, it's tempting to view them as just another outgrowth of multiculturalism, a blatant badge of membership in the global village. But the current craze for dreadlocks can be deceptive: In fact, the style dates back to the dawn of civilization. India's sadhus and sadhvis—mendicant ascetics of the Hindu faith—have been locking their hair for pre-Christian centuries, from the time when their ancestral warriors fought for royal rulers. Matted locks, or jatta, are considered a divine directive, symbolic of the the covenant between the sadhus and Shiva, the god of destruction and regeneration. Tresses are roped in emulation of the deities: Skanda, depicted with six matted locks—one for each of his faces; Huniyan, marked with five—or three in his demonic incarnation. Jatta announces that its owner adheres to the strict spiritual and sexual practices, including poverty and celibacy, outlined over two thousand years ago in the Naradaparivrajaka Upanished. The Old Testament recounts the tale of Sampson and Delilah, in which a man's potency is directly related to the "seven locks" upon his head. Jesus of Nazareth would have returned from his forty days in the desert with matted hair.

Excerpted from Dreads by Francesco Mastalia. Copyright (c) 1999. Reprinted with permission by Artisan.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Beautiful book, beautiful hair, beautiful people, beautiful exhilarating spirituality. I loved it and love my (our) hair."
—Anne Lamott author of Traveling Mercies

"Dreads is an exquisite artistic testament to the individuality of the men and women who make dreads not only a look but a way of life. These cross-cultural images demonstrate that the human visage is the first artistic canvas we have access to."

—Farai Chideya author of The Color of Our Future

"There is always the question of whether you grow locks or your locks grow you. This book shows dreadlocks that are funky, elegant, sexy, dramatic, spiritual—and always beautiful. It makes me very happy to be nappy."
—Veronica Chambers, author of Mama's Girl

Meet the Author

Francesco Mastalia has spent the last twenty-five years mastering the art of the black-and-white photography. Advertising and corporate assignments dominate his career as a portrait photographer, while his commitment to documentary photography has taken him around the world. A native of Italy, he is now based in New York.

Alfonse Pagano turned to photography as an art form in 1994, after a distinguished career as a painter, during which his mixed media and oil works were exhibited in such venues as the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Laguna Gloria Museum of Art. He is the recipient of New York Foundation for the Arts and Change, Inc., grants. Pagano lives in New York.

Alice Walker is a poet and novelist whose work includes The Temple of My Familiar, Possessing the Secret of Joy, and The Color Purple, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1983. A longtime advocate of dreadlocks, she did not comb her hair for more than ten years.

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