By J. Vansina
It is a pioneering advent to a subject matter that continues to be at an early srage of educational improvement. It goals to supply the reader with a scientific process for the historic figuring out of African artwork. Professor Vansina considers the medium, approach, sort and which means of artwork gadgets and examines the artistic strategy by which they arrive into being. various photos and drawings illustrate his arguments, and aid to give an explanation for the alterations that experience taken position.
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Extra resources for Art History in Africa: An Introduction to Method
Discrepancies between m otif and the object itself for one feature should be tested against others. Is the wood of the carving similar to the wood of the corpus? Is the technique similar? Is the style comparable? Is the theme rendered in the corpus? In the case of fakes or errors several characteristics differ and multiple negative evidence accumulates. Doubt increases. The proof of the pudding comes when the characteristics of the object quite clearly refer to a body of art works different in place and time to the one referred to by the label.
There is in fact no relationship between language and the manufacture of reliquaries. The art historians first equated language and culture, then equated culture and aesthetic creation and finally claimed that some groups which had mbulu ngtilu but were not Kota speakers m ust be ‘Bakota’ after all, while omitting the unmistakably Bakota Akota! Having done this, they are still faced with the fact that some Bakota use masks belonging to one tradition, some use masks of another tradition, a third group have their own masks christened Bakota because the Bakota proper, east of the Ivindo, have them and some Bakota may never have made masks at all.
The first field trip specifically directed towards an examination of art dates from 1933 (Bernatzik 1933; Gerbrands 1937:52-65). By 1945 a specialization in ‘African art’ was beginning to emerge in anthropology. Given the characteristics of the discipline at that time, interest in the history of the arts was unsustained. Then, from 1956 onwards, archaeologists who viewed African art seriously, entered the field. The historical perspectives developed only very slowly until 19 ART HISTORY IN AFRICA recently.
Art History in Africa: An Introduction to Method by J. Vansina