By Ladislas Segy
163 full-page plates Illustrating mask, fertility figures, ceremonial items, etc., of fifty West and relevant African tribes—95% by no means prior to illustrated. 34-page advent to African sculpture.
«Mr. Segy is one among its most sensible authorities,» New Yorker.
164 full-page photographic plates.
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Extra resources for African Sculpture
On some statues, especially those of the Bakongo tribe of the Belgian Congo, the magic box was sealed with a mirror (Plates 81, 82) and sometimes the eyes, too, were made sacrificial blood , of small pieces of mirror. These mirrors appear to have been they reflect the sun in a blinding ray, and drive away the malevolent spirits that cause sickness and misfortune. ) to the statue, while cowry shells, from their resemblance to female genitalia, were fertility symbols. They added power to the statue, and fostered fertility.
Thus, exaggerated genitals on the statues symbolize both the symbolic meaning of pro- and force. Sometimes a statue has both exaggerated breasts and male genitals, but this does not indicate creation, virility hermaphrodism, as we might think. Instead, it merely reemphasizes the fertility concept. In good carvings the shape of the genitals is often adjusted to the overall structure of the statue; in Plate 131A, detail of Plate 131 the triangular shape of the phallus parallels the position of the legs.
Instead, am I And I do not intend to contra- only reaffirming the power of the African artist to show in the very same carving the struggle between opposite forces, and at the same time unite them into The tension between the symbols of two sexconsummated in the overall aspect of African sculpture; tension is released and unity attained. a compact unity. forces seems to be This is a very great artistic achievement, for, in addi- round and angular shapes may also be tion, the display of interpreted as indicating the inner storms of a life-struggle, or the forces which mold the individual.
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