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Continuum Encyclopedia of Native Art

Worldview, Symbolism and Culture in Africa, Oceania and North America



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The Continuum Encyclopedia of Native Art: Worldview, Symbolism and Culture in Africa, Oceania and North America by Hope B. Werness
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This major reference work provides pertinent information on the art of Africa, Oceania and native North America. Many reference works treat symbolism and iconography in Western art and culture yet, until now, little attention has been paid to these rich artistic traditions in native art. Entries on each geographical area discuss the art of the region and, through cross-references, lead the reader to additional geographical subdivisions and individual cultures. The major art forms for each culture - including worldview, religion, and society - are treated in detail. Broad subjects, such as rites of passage, are treated in the general entries. These entries address universal motifs and themes such as: the centre, the layered universe, the four/six directions and architecture as a symbol of the cosmos. Other major issues included here are: colour, the role of animals in art, colour symbolism and the symbolism of the various parts of the human body. The reference also details the reciprocal impact of colonization on native art and native art on modern Western art.

Table of Contents

Include: 500 line drawings, 20 maps, 8 full-colour plates Supernatural Beings (e.g., Ogun, Olokun, Orisanla, Obalufon, Obatala, Orunmila-all Yoruba, Nigeria); The Natural World: flora, fauna, weather, night/day, cycles of nature, geographical features, stars and planets; The Human World: architecture, artefacts, body art, costume, rituals and ceremonies, social hierarchies, gender issues and sexuality. Concepts and Ideas: continuity, cosmology, cycles of life, dreams/ visions, journey/ quest, power, taboo, time. Materials and Techniques: pottery, metals, weaving and basketwork, wood.

Author Biography

Hope B. Werness is professor of art at California State University, Stanislaus. An art historian specializing in tribal, Precolumbian, and 19th and 20th European art, she is also a practicing artist, working in ceramics. She is the author of The Symbolism of Mirrors in Art from Ancient Times to the Present.
Release date NZ
August 1st, 2000
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
New edition
508 illustrations, (8 colour ) 20 maps
Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
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