Handmade in Africa

Shedding light on the art of the 'Dark Continent'

Art from the African continent occupies an unusual place in the concert of world cultures. Once considered "primitive" by colonial invaders, it has long since been recognized and acknowledged for its highly developed sense of design and aesthetics. Similarly, African art is often concerned with vital moral and spiritual concerns of the human condition, and frequently has a ritual or religious function—whether in masks, ancestral figures, ceramics, basketry, metalwork, or weapons. The items in this volume, mostly datable only with difficulty, start with a sculptured head from Nigeria, possibly dating from the 12th century, and extend from a 15th/16th-century salt container from Sierra Leone to the 19th and 20th centuries, to which most of the artworks belong.

With examples from every region of the continent—including Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Madagascar, South Africa and a dozen other countries—this book demonstrates the profundity and astonishing variety of African arts, describing the social and religious contexts without which these artworks cannot be fully understood.
About the Series:
Each book in TASCHEN's Basic Genre Series features:
  • a detailed illustrated introduction plus a timeline of the most important political, cultural and social events that took place during that period
  • a selection of the most important works of the epoch, each of which is presented on a 2-page spread with a full-page image and with an interpretation of the respective work, plus a portrait and brief biography of the artist
  • approximately 100 colour illustrations with explanatory captions
The author:
Ethnologist and historian Stefan Eisenhofer has been head of the African department of the Museum für Völkerkunde in Munich since 2001. He co-founded the museum's Munich EthnoFilm Days and Urban African Sounds concert series. He also teaches at the Institute for Ethnology at the University of Munich, and has curated various exhibitions including Genocide Monument (2004). His book Painted People (2005) explores body art on all five continents.
African Art (Basic Art Series)

African Art


Softcover with flaps, 7.3 x 9.1 in., 96 pages
$ 9.99

Online currently not available
  • Reviews
"…their book on African Art is by necessity a breeze-through toe-dip, but you'll walk out knowing (and appreciating) things you'd never known about."
— TheAwl.com, New York, United States
  • See also
Peter Beard (TASCHEN 25 Edition)
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Original edition $ 1,900

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Sebastião Salgado. Africa
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