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The Anthropology of Art

The Anthropology of Art

2nd Edition


  • Date Published: September 1991
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521368940

£ 32.99

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About the Authors
  • Robert Layton provides an authoritative introduction to the richness and diversity of art forms in non-Western societies. He addresses the problems of aesthetic appreciation across cultures, the varied uses of art, and the fundamental problem of what constitutes 'art' in societies varying from the traditional kingdoms of West Africa, with their specialist craftsmen using precious metals, to Australian hunter-gatherers, with their sand paintings and body decoration. Art forms discussed include bark, sand and rock painting, ivory bone and wood carving, brass casting, masks, and house and body decoration. To understand the meaning of these diverse productions demands an understanding of cultural contexts, Layton relates particular art productions to rituals, myths and power relations. He also discusses and illustrates perspectives on art within anthropological and sociological theory. This is a revised version of a book first published in 1981 and is widely used in courses for archaeologists, anthropologists and art historians.

    • Revised, thoroughly updated edition of successful introductory text first published by Columbia in 1981
    • Textbook intended for 2nd/3rd year undergraduates and graduate students in the anthropology of art and art history and archaeology. Since original publication many new courses established in anthropology of art e.g. University of East Anglia, Durham
    • Layton is a Reader in Anthropology at Durham and the author of several books on art and material culture
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a sparkling introduction for anyone wishing to understand something of the art of exotic societies and the contribution made by anthropology to the study of it.' The Times Literary Supplement

    '… Layton offers a lively and testable thesis about the social uses of art. His reflections could easily become the inspiration for further cross-cultural study.' American Anthropologist

    'In this exceptionally well researched volume, Layton presents a nearly exhaustive history of rock art studies as developed and practiced in Australia.' Paul Faulstich, Pitzer College

    'Layton's 'new synthesis' is a valuable reference work on rock art and cultural studies. It is important reading for scholars … with an interest in Australian Aboriginal expressive culture.' Paul Faulstich, Pitzer College

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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: September 1991
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521368940
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.445kg
    • contains: 73 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of plates
    1. The art of other cultures
    2. Art and social life
    3. Art and visual communication
    4. Style
    5. Creativity of the artist

  • Author

    Robert Layton, University of Durham

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