All the books reviews
Toi Ora. Ancestral Maori Treasures - (ENGLISH)
Toi Ora introduces more than 120 superb illustrations of Maori taonga (treasures) from the Te Papa Ton-garewa collection, located in Wellington, New Zealand. The volume offers a new perspective on a magnificent selection of works, and includes important sculptures, ceremonial objects, traditional weapons, ornaments, and costumes. Enhanced by a dynamic and effective layout, the pieces included are presented in the best light. The techniques used in their creation and the place they occupy within traditional indigenous societies are richly described. Toi Ora presents these artifacts as living treasures, handed down from generation to generation, guardians and keepers of the stories and mauri (life force) of those who created and used them, and of those who continue to appreciate them.
Toys for the Souls. Life and Art on the Mentawai Islands - (ENGLISH)
This book presents a detailed and inspiring picture of the traditional ways of life and the impressive art of the Mentawai archipelago located off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. This shamanistic culture, most notably found on the northernmost island of Siberut, maintains an ancient relationship between man and the spiritual world. Within this worldview, everything is animated. Not only do humans have souls, but so do animals, plants and objects. To please these souls and to create harmony, alluring artifacts have been created for generations. In this way life, art, ritual and esthetics are intertwined: a notion reflected in the field photographs and in the beautiful and rare objects that are described and illustrated here. Toys for the Souls reveals for the first time the richness and creative power of an artistic imagination, deeply rooted in Southeast Asian prehistory.
Transfigurations: North Pacific Coast Art - (ENGLISH)
Beautiful is the word that springs to mind upon viewing this massive publication. Ninety-three pieces once owned by New York dealer and collector George Terasaki are on display here, and they are nothing short of spectacular. The first and largest part of the book shows the objects, piece by piece in full-page photographs, one image per page with the adjacent page empty to allow full focus on the object. The second part repeats the images in smaller scale accompanied by descriptive text by Brown. Transfigurations has been printed in a limited edition, 450 of the standard edition and 50 of the slipcase edition, so if you want one, act quickly. This publication is lovely and, at the same time, a fine resource for enhancing understanding of Northwest Coast art.
Translation and Ethnography: The Anthropological Challenge of Intercultural Understanding - (ENGLISH)
This is a collection of eleven scholarly essays that address the vagaries and pitfalls of linguistic translation. Translating ideas from one language to another in a very real way translates cultural concepts from one society to another. It is well known that much is often lost on the way. This is a fascinating work that delves deep into what the ramifications of this really are. Words like “war,” “kinship,” and “marriage” are commonly used in the ethnography of South America, for example. But these concepts in English, and indeed most other languages, largely miss the signification of the specific Amerindian beliefs and practices they intend to describe. These essays are thoughtful discussions of the degree to which different cultures understand, and fail to understand, one another.
Treasures of Ester Island. Collection de la congrégation des Sacrés-Coeurs de Jésus et de Marie - (ENGLISH / FRENCH)
With a host of superb illustrations, this book presents tribal art collected on Easter Island by the SS.CC missionaries of Rome (see the article in this issue about the exhibition of these objects in Paris). This little-known collection is presented here for the first time, with a modern analysis appropriate for its age and importance. The book’s three sections address the histories of both the Polynesian inhabitants of Rapa Nui and the SS.CC, and feature an exhaustive historical and scientific study of the more than thirty objects that make up the collection.
Trésors de Côte d’Ivoire - (FRENCH)
The release of a new publication by François Neyt always heralds an enlightening and agreeable reading experience, thanks to his combination of scholarship and fi ne writing style. Neyt, professor emeritus at the Université Catholique de Louvain and emeritus member of Belgium’s Académie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-Mer, has long distinguished himself through his research on the arts of Central Africa and Nigeria, with particular emphasis placed on those of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Trésors de Côte d’Ivoire, Neyt focuses on artistic traditions that are less familiar to him, allowing him to take a fresh approach. The result is a presentation of the area’s main cultures arranged by geographic region, from the west to the north, then from the center to the east, and ending in the lagoon regions of the south. The author examines the histories of the various peoples of these regions, as well as their migrations and interactions. As might be expected, emphasis is placed on the aesthetics revealed in their artistic creations, shedding light on the factors that unify these extremely diverse groups. Neyt’s synthesis is based on extensive documentation, including maps, in situ photographs, and archival images, as well as on an iconographic survey that includes nearly 250 illustrated objects, many shown full page.
Tribal Art Magazine Winter Issue 2017 #T86 - (ENGLISH / FRENCH)
Westerners’ perceptions of “The Other” have evolved over the years and continue to do so. Former ethnographic museums are changing and are increasingly including the input of autochthonous peoples in their exhibitions and events. Here at Tribal Art magazine, we are keenly aware of the importance and richness of other realities, and we strive to present respectful and open visions of these to you. Otherness has many facets and objectivity is but a lure, so this is not always an easy task, but we always try to rise to the challenge. We hope you enjoy this Winter 2017 issue!
Tribal Names of the Americas and Alternative Forms, Cross-Referenced - (ENGLISH)
Tribal Names of the Americas is a thorough compendium of tribal names from North, Central, and South America. Alphabetically organized, the entries include tribal name; the "parent group," or ancestral tribe; and source material for this information. Over time and depending on location, many of these names have had variations in spelling and pronunciation. Clark has carefully registered these with cross-referencing, including as many variants as could be found. This unil-lustrated volume is a specialized but valuable reference.
Tribal Treasures in Dutch Private Collections - (ENGLISH)
Published by the Society of Dutch Collectors of Tribal Art (WE) to celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary, this catalogue accompanied the eponymous exhibition on view at the Afrika Museum in Berg-en-Dal from October 4, 2008, through January of 2009. It illustrates more than 120 works from Africa, Indonesia, and Melanesia, most of which have never been published before. Some of the major pieces are accompanied by historical descriptions, which explain the context in which they were used. This valuable reference work is a welcome addition to the bibliographic corpus of works on tribal art.
Tridacna Gigas. Objets de prestige en Mélanésie - (FRENCH)
This book is the fruit of an encounter between two indi-viduals with the same fascination for the fossil form of the giant clam Tridacna gigas and for works made from this exceptional material. It is reminiscent of ivory, but is ac-tually shell that has undergone structural modifications in the course of fossilization. It was considered to be rare and valuable by the Melanesians. The book examines the varieties of objects made from this "stone shell, which include bracelets and other ornaments found in Lapita ar-chaeological contexts; the well-known openwork funerary objects from the Solomon Islands known as barava; kap-kap dises, which were overlaid with tortoiseshell décorations; and circular currencies which were used throughout Melanesia. The book is richly illustrated and confers a well-deserved status upon a material that has often been overlooked by aficionados.