Synopses & Reviews
A magnificent full-color book introducing a collection of traditional western Sub-Saharan African art.
A magnificent full-color book introducing a collection of traditional western sub-Saharan African art.
The World of Spirits and Ancestors in the Art of Western Sub-Saharan Africa illustrates for the first time a collection of African Sculpture at the Museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The masks and figurative carvings from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century are from two sources: Ambassador and Mrs. Julius Walker's gift to ICASALS (International Center for Arid and Semiarid Land Studies), now on permanent loan to the Museum, and the Elliot Howard Collection. Howard, an artist and authority on antiques, chose examples of sculpture for their "variety and aesthetic appeal". His hope was that the pieces he assembled would provide new discoveries for those unacquainted with the art of Africa and an art experience that would "enhance mutual respect among people". Fittingly, then, a context for understanding is the focus of Elizabeth Skidmore Sasser's book. As the title suggests, The World of Spirits and Ancestors introduces carefully chosen examples of masks and figures as social and spiritual communications imbued with the living history and culture of the various peoples of western sub-Saharan Africa. Sasser emphasizes that geography and climate - ranging from semiarid deserts to tropical rain forests - influence not only the art but also the habitations and ceremonial life of the region. More than 180 drawings and illustrations reflect the creative genius that continues to meet environmental challenges and to express the distinctive contributions of the cultures and the people of western sub-Saharan Africa.