Frank, Barbara E.
Title MANDE POTTERS & LEATHERWORKERS: ART AND HERITAGE IN WEST AFRICA.
Publisher Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, (1998), Ist printing.
Seller ID 24218
192 pp, 4to (11 1/4" H), hard cover in dust jacket. ISBN 1560987944 Profusely illustrated with b&w and color photos and drawings. "Among the Mande-speaking groups dispersed throughout much of West Africa, certain artists - including potters and l eatherworkers - form a spiritually powerful social class in which gender determines craft specialization. Ceramic water jars and cooking pots are made only by the wives and female relatives of blacksmiths. Leather objects such as knife shea t h s , a m ulet cases, and, more recently, western-style shoes and bags are produced by male leatherworkers. While these objects display features common to those of other West African groups, the manner in which they are produced has remained dis ti nc tl y M an de . Analyzing the work of Mande potters and leatherworkers, (the author) argues that studying craft technologies in addition to object styles is essential to reconstructing the art heritage of an ethnically complex region. Drawing on ar cha eo lo gic al and historical evidence as well as her field research in Mali, she shows how tools and practices such as potters' use of convex molds and leatherworkers' adherence to specific knife blade shapes serve to distinguish the good s ma de b y Ma nde ar tist s f rom those of neighboring groups. She also discusses the pride the potters take in their healing and spiritual knowledge, and the sense of difference between craftsmen who specialize exclusively in leatherworking and those who doubl e as bar ds an d mu sicians. Examining the roles of Mande leatherworkers and potters in the rise and fall of empires, the development of trans-Saharan trade networks, and the spread of Islam, Frank questions the 'one-tribe, one-st yle' i nterp retati ons t hat h ave do minat ed studies of West African art. Focusing on two traditions that have been little studied, (this book) explores the complex, shifting relationships among the identities of Mande craftspeople, the objects they cr eate, and the techn ologie s they use." Minor edge wear, minor wrinkling at top/bottom of spine, barcode label on rear paste-down. Dust jacket has minor edge wear, light edge wrinkling - mainly at top/bottom of spine and top of rear panel . very l ight r ubbing. Very G ood+/Ve ry Good