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The Making of Bamana Sculpture

The Making of Bamana Sculpture
Creativity and Gender

Part of Res Monographs in Anthropology and Aesthetics

  • Date Published: October 1995
  • availability: Unavailable - out of print
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521444842


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About the Authors
  • The Making of Bamana Sculpture describes both the techniques and the rituals used by Bamana blacksmiths in Mali, West Africa, when they carve sacred sculpture. Chronicling the process of decision-making that results in a commission, it provides a detailed account of the carving process and also analyses the meaning of this process. Sarah Brett-Smith demonstrates that Bamana sculptors compare the process of producing a ritual object both to sexual intercourse and to childbirth. Her study details how Bamana sculptors become 'great' artists, how this process requires a shift from a 'male' to a 'female' gender identity, and why the Bamana believe that the ambitious artist must make tragic sacrifices to win renown.

    • Addresses ritual and gender-related issues, presenting new and unique material on women carvers
    • Makes extensive use of word-for-word translations of field data
    • Accessible on an emotional as well as intellectual level to undergraduate-level students
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 1995
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521444842
    • length: 376 pages
    • dimensions: 260 x 208 x 27 mm
    • weight: 1.065kg
    • contains: 60 b/w illus.
    • availability: Unavailable - out of print
  • Table of Contents

    1. The Bamana universe
    2. The sculptor speaks with spirits: the other world
    3. The human world
    4. Trees and tools
    5. Carving and aesthetics
    6. Sacred secrets
    7. 'The foundation of the world is with women'.

  • Author

    Sarah C. Brett-Smith, Rutgers University, New Jersey

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