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Songye: The Impressive Statuary of Central Africa
Synopses & Reviews
Featuring stunning color illustrations, this book presents the rich artistic statuary tradition of the Songye people, a tribal group based in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Book News Annotation:
Published in French in 2004, this English edition is presented in an oversized format (10.25x11.75") replete with full-page color plates of superb quality of a large selection of individual sculptural works, most of them in private collections. Neyt, a specialist in the art of central Africa who lives in Belgium, has written an extensive text to accompany the plates, briefly describing the area's history, the history of collecting, and in more detail, the stylistic features that distinguish the sculpture, grouping them into different groups. Neyt describes the specific materials used in the sculpture, including the symbolism of some of the materials, describing how the sculptures are effigies of ancestors and more broadly, assert a link to the cosmos. The volume concludes with an extensive bibliography. It is not indexed. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A tribal people located in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
the Songye are best known for their distinctive statuaries and
masks, which for centuries have been used to protect villages,
ward off enemies, and bring fertility and wealth. Approximately
one thousand of these pieces are shown in this vibrant collection.
The Songye often named their statues and decorated them
with horns, skins, beads, tacks, shells, and bits of cloth. As a
result, each item displays a singular, impressive identity.
Considered to be imbued with magical energy and used only
by village shamans, these statues have enormous cultural and
historical significance, and they are also powerful works of art
in their own right.
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