African Royal Court Art
Michèle Coquet University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress N7391.65.C66613 1998 | Dewey Decimal 709.67
In this visually stunning work, anthropologist Michèle Coquet presents the power and the brilliance of African court arts. Grounding her analysis in the social and historical context of traditional royalty systems, Coquet examines the diverse roles played by artisans, nobles, and kings in the production and use of royal objects. From the precolonial kingdoms of the Edo and the Yoruba, the Ashanti and the Igbo, Coquet reconstructs from a comparativist view the essential cultural connections between art, representation, and the king.
More than ornamentation, royal objects embodied the strength and status of African rulers. The gold-plated stools of the Ashanti, the delicately carved ivory bracelets of the Edo-these objects were meant not simply to adorn but to affirm and enhance the power and prestige of the wearer. Unlike the abstract style frequently seen in African ritual art, realism became manifest in courtly arts. Realism directly linked the symbolic value of the object-a portrait or relief-with the physical person of the king. The contours of the monarch's face, his political and military exploits rendered on palace walls, became visual histories, the work of art in essence corroborating the ruler's sovereign might.
Richly illustrated and wonderfully detailed, Coquet's influential volume offers both a splendid visual presentation and an authoritative analysis of African royal arts.
"[This] beautiful and exciting book emphasizes the skillful court art of the Benin, Dahomey, and the Kongo. A very interesting and unusual approach to the art of the continent that has been too easily situated 'outside of history.'"—Le Figaro
There’s nothing quite like a relationship with an aged pet—a dog or cat who has been at our side for years, forming an ineffable bond. Pampered pets, however, are a rarity among animals who have been domesticated. Farm animals, for example, are usually slaughtered before their first birthday. We never stop to think about it, but the typical images we see of cows, chickens, pigs, and the like are of young animals. What would we see if they were allowed to grow old?
Isa Leshko shows us, brilliantly, with this collection of portraits. To create these portraits, she spent hours with her subjects, gaining their trust and putting them at ease. The resulting images reveal the unique personality of each animal. It’s impossible to look away from the animals in these images as they unforgettably meet our gaze, simultaneously calm and challenging. In these photographs we see the cumulative effects of the hardships of industrialized farm life, but also the healing that time can bring, and the dignity that can emerge when farm animals are allowed to age on their own terms.
Each portrait is accompanied by a brief biographical note about its subject, and the book is rounded out with essays that explore the history of animal photography, the place of beauty in activist art, and much more. Open this book to any page. Meet Teresa, a thirteen-year-old Yorkshire Pig, or Melvin, an eleven-year-old Angora Goat, or Tom, a seven-year-old Broad Breasted White Turkey. You’ll never forget them.
American Congregations, Volume 1: Portraits of Twelve Religious Communities chronicles the founding, growth, and development of congregations that represent the diverse and complex reality of American local religious cultures. Some, like Center Church in New Haven, trace their stories back to colonial times. Others, like the Swaminarayan Hindu temple in suburban Chicago, are recent attempts to create local religious worlds. Ranging from congregations of Lebanese Muslims in Northern Canada to Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, the essays convey the distinctive character of each congregation and provide vivid evidence of the importance of congregations in daily life.
"This study refreshingly illuminates [congregations'] strengths as places where the public and private lives of their members meet in dynamic creativity and as havens of religious meaning and comfort in the midst of a secular world."—Choice
"A major contribution to how debates about American religion will be framed in the years ahead. . . . In giving us these case histories and a set of excellent interpretive essays, Wind and Lewis have reminded us that American religion must be understood in its particular, local, gathered, human forms. They remind us that congregations matter."—Nancy T. Ammerman, First Things
"Well-presented and engaging essays, by some of the foremost religious scholars working today, examining the histories of twelve diverse religious institutions. . . . A fascinating and important social history of religion."—Kirkus Reviews
"Scholarship and the religious traditions have been enriched by the labors of the Congregational History Project. Theologically, its pioneering research invites us to examine ourselves."—Gabriel Fackre, Christian Century
Portraits. We know what they are, but why do we make them? Americans have been celebrating themselves in portraits since the arrival of the first itinerant portrait painters to the colonies. They created images to commemorate loved ones, glorify the famous, establish our national myths, and honor our shared heroes. Whether painting in oil, carving in stone, casting in bronze, capturing on film, or calculating in binary code, we spend considerable time creating, contemplating, and collecting our likenesses. In this sumptuously illustrated book, Richard H. Saunders explores our collective understanding of portraiture, its history in America, how it shapes our individual and national identity, and why we make portraits—whether for propaganda and public influence or for personal and private appreciation. American Faces is a rich and fascinating view of ourselves.