Art and power in the Central African Savanna: Luba, Songye, Chokwe, Luluwa
Revealing the powers immanent in works that the West long regarded only as exotic or abstract, Constantine Petridis looks beneath the surface of the arts of the Luba, Songye, Chokwe and Luluwa peoples to find, literally embedded in sculpture, the forces that enable the spirit world to intervene in daily life. Ritual use of these objects is expected to ensure a healthy birth, successful hunt, or triumph over an enemy. Analysis of the scholarly record illuminates the changing visions of leadership and prestige that fostered the development of the majestic, elaborate figure styles long prized in the West. These sculptures nevertheless retain the mysterious potency of more humble objects trusted for centuries to protect, heal and harm. Art and Power in the Central African Savanna examines an artistic culture in which the sacred and the secular are indivisible, and aesthetic and moral value inseparable.
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