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BABIES CELEBRATED by Béatrice Fontanel


by Béatrice Fontanel & Claire d’Harcourt

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8109-4012-4
Publisher: Abrams

Don’t let the title mislead you. This is not another gathering of cute baby photographs. It is instead a stunning visual survey of the ways in which babies in traditional cultures (in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, primarily) are fed, dressed, carried, and treated. Fontanel and d’Harcourt (who also collaborated on Babies: History, Art and Folklore, 1997) provide informed, sympathetic captions to extraordinary photographs depicting such things as babies being ritually massaged; wrapped in swaddling cloths; adorned with pigments and dressed in often brilliantly colored ritual clothes to bring good fortune; carried, in baskets, net bags, and slings, on backs and in the arms of siblings or parents; and fed. Several points are inescapable: in traditional cultures, babies go where their parents go—to the fields, to market, on visits. They are present almost from birth in the essential routines of these cultures. And in more traditional cultures babies are more immediately and closely integrated into society, with a greater variety of family and friends assuming some responsibility for care and protection. The range of cultures depicted (from the Kayapo of the Amazon to nomads in Tibet) is wide, and the photographs sharp, brilliant, and fascinating.