An exceptional book for its striking design, its sensitive and dramatic photography, and especially the awesome beauty of...

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BLACK IMAGES: The Art of West Africa

An exceptional book for its striking design, its sensitive and dramatic photography, and especially the awesome beauty of the masks, figures and ritual objects reproduced. Naylor's sequence unobtrusively follows the sacred, cyclical ""rhythm of creation,"" so that mother-and-child and ancestor figures come first, then items associated in turn with boy and girl societies, initiation rites, and community rituals. For splendor there are 16th and 17th century bronzes from the Benin court (Nigeria) and finally, fittingly -- after the death masks and reliquary figures -- another mother-and-child followed by a figure of Nimba, goddess of increase. The photographs are sometimes accompanied by traditional ""poems"" (predominantly Yoruba) on related themes, sometimes by brief paragraphs of background information provided by Naylor. A few of the works reproduced here (most are from the Museum of Primitive Art in New York) also appear in Glubok's Art of Africa (1965), which provides a more systematic introduction but doesn't approach Naylor and Little in conveying the impressive power and resonance of these Black Images.

Pub Date: May 4, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1973