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The making and breaking of pots is a central ritual in African society. To smash a pot is to mark the end of something, whether virginity, incest or life itself. In "Smashing Pots", Nigel Barley surveys the role of pottery in traditional and modern Africa, the technologies it calls into play and the extraordinary aesthetic effects it achieves. He shows how pottery is used in cultural thought and how it reflects, in Africa, important ways of thinking about human bodies and powers, time and change. Pottery enters into religion and medicine, the structuring of sexuality and the control of fertility, and through it important differences emerge between European and African notions of gender. Illustrated with field photographs and pots from the British Museum's unsurpassed collection, this book provides a comprehensive introduction to African pottery.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780714125138
ISBN-10: 071412513X
Format: Hardback
(276mm x 219mm x mm)
Pages: 176
Imprint: British Museum Press
Publisher: British Museum Press
Publish Date: 1-May-1994
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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