Latest books reviews
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.
Himalayan Masks – Lanfranchi collection - (ENGLISH)
This luxurious large format publication explores the wonderful and varied world of Himalayan Masks through hundreds of specially commissioned photographs and 376 pages. Himalayan Masks – Lanfranchi collection is based on the most important collection of its genre and contains many never published examples collected over the course of more than 20 years. An original text by Renzo Freschi divides the masks into stylistic groups and recounts the function and history of the discovery of these amazing objects from the mid-1970’s tip today. Published in English, the title is limited to a total of 500 copies and PRIMEDIA has reserved 200 copies for it’s subscribers and booksellers with a unique cover and ISBN number : 9789079881499. Officially launched in September, subscribers of Tribal Art magazine can order their copy at a discounted price of 99 euros (RRP 120 euros).
Ancestors and Rituals - (ENGLISH / FRENCH)
This is the catalog that accompanies the exhibition of the same name organized for the Europalia Indonesia festival at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels. It presents a general introduction to the history of Indonesian art followed by discussions of the principal themes that defi ne it, including status, fertility, protection, death rituals, and the role of ancestors in the Indonesia of today. In addition to the exhibition curator, Daud Tanudirjo, numerous contributors, including Peter ter Keurs, Nico de Jonge, Heddy Shri Ahimsa Putra, and Abdul Munir Mulkhan, present essays here. These are complemented by hundreds of seldom-seen masterpieces of Indonesian art on loan from the National Museum of Indonesia in Jakarta, which have never before been exhibited outside Indonesia. These objects, all specially photographed and mostly illustrated on full pages, are accompanied by detailed descriptions, making this book a valuable resource and reference for a wide array of Indonesian art forms, ranging from sculptures and textiles to jewelry and prestige items.
Glittering as Gold - (ENGLISH)
Though bronze, brass, and copper have been regarded as inferior metals in Western eyes, in sub-Saharan Africa, copper and its alloys proved to be a much-coveted material that was used in bodily adornments, on statuary, and as a means of exchange. Brass, in particular, became a highly valued metal that rivaled gold in luster as well as glitter. The adornments that grew from these trade metals became a phenomenon specifi c to West and Central Africa. Among certain African cultures, such adornments served not only to distinguish oneself in life, but were also regarded as the most personal of items of the wearer after death and were commonly placed on the family altar as a form of remembrance. This book introduces in detail some 100 items selected on the basis of form, rarity, and decorative motifs from the many hundreds of items in the Harry and Miep Schillings Collection. This is a useful addition to any reference library of African art.
Raja Ampat Ritual Art - (ENGLISH)
Over the course of the last century, the traditional ritual art related to ancestor cults, spirit beliefs, and headhunting has withered in the sparsely populated Raja Ampat archipelago. Setting out to establish an inventory of mon spirit figures, korwars, and secret priests’ drawings, this book also delves into the exploits of naturalists, explorers, colonial administrators, and, in particular, missionaries since the beginning of the nineteenth century. The social and cosmological background of the spirit and ancestor figurines from the archipelago is discussed extensively with a wealth of fascinating details and new insights. In the process, it is shown that the demise and the exodus of the traditional art resulted from complex interactions between indigenous agency, conversion, cargo cult activity, modernization, and, signifi cantly, intervention by colonial administrators. The abundant illustrations feature most of the known korwar figures, which have a distinctive and much-admired style, and also include a number of stunning, sacred-secret drawings depicting the spirit world devised by indigenous priests to serve in their rituals. Acquired during the 1930s, these drawings were long believed to be lost but have recently been rediscovered. The author, Raymond Corbey, is an anthropologist attached to Leiden University in the Netherlands and has published extensively in this field.
A Bag Worth a Pony: The Art of the Ojibwe Bandolier Bag - (ENGLISH)
Bandolier bags or "gashkibidaaganag" are large, heavily beaded shoulder bags made and worn by several North American Indian tribes around the Great Lakes. They are prized cultural icons within their own cultures and around the world. Dakota peoples would even trade a pony for a beautiful beaded bag! Over the years, non-Indian collectors and ethnographers bought them up. Today, there are hundreds of bags in museums around the world, but not so many in the hands of community members. In this book, Marcia G. Anderson shares the results of thirty years of study in which she learned from the talented bead artists who keep the form alive, from historical records, and from the bags themselves. Anderson examines the history, forms, structure, and motifs of the bags. She gives readers the tools to understand a bag’s makeup and meaning and offers a tour of Minnesota’s seven Ojibwe reservations. Part one of this densely illustrated book examines the historical development of this unique and beautiful art form, while part two looks at the tradition regionally and identifies specific artists. A wealth of historic photos is distributed throughout its pages.
Archaeology of the Solomon Islands - (ENGLISH)
Archaeology of the Solomon Islands presents the outcome of twenty years’ research in the Solomon Islands undertaken jointly by Richard Walter and Peter Sheppard, both leaders in the field of Pacific archaeology. It draws together the research that has taken place in the field over the past fifty years and takes a multidisciplinary approach to considering the work of archaeologists, environmental scientists, anthropologists, and historians. At the same time this volume highlights the results of the authors’ own considerable field research. Their work also integrates the Solomon Islands into ongoing models and debates around Pacific culturehistory, including in such key areas as human expansion during the Pleistocene, the spread of Austronesians, Lapita colonization, the development of food production, the role of exchange systems, the concept and meaning of culture areas, and human impact on landscapes and ecosystems. The result is a unique and fascinating book, accessibly written, that represents a groundbreaking contribution to Pacific archaeology.
Kulango Figurines: Wild and Mysterious Spirits from the Collection of Pierluigi Peroni - (ENGLISH / FRENCH)
In early October of 2017, this book dedicated to the Pierluigi Peroni's collection of Kulongo bronzes will be a significant addition to the small body of literature relating to metal sculpture from West Africa. Published with attention to detail, this work explores the wide diversity of the copper alloy figurines of the Kulango, a people of northeastern Côte d’Ivoire. With their stylized shapes, sinuous bodies, and elongated faces with globular eyes, these figures are characteristic of this culture area. Beautifully photographed by Francesco Pachì, some 100 of these figurines are reproduced in this book, many as full-page plates, despite their small size. This allows for a better appreciation of their sculptural nuances as well as the beauty of the surfaces due to wear and time. Boyer’s text provides interesting insights into these enigmatic artworks.