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246 × 189 mm
288 pages
89 illustrations, 50 in colour
11 Nov 2019
  • £35.00

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The Artfulness of Death in Africa John Mack

If weddings are the most lavish events in most parts of the world, in Sub-Saharan Africa, by contrast, it is funerals. Funeral celebrations can be flamboyant occasions, particularly those honouring prominent people. Artworks of many kinds are created to commemorate the dead, from mortuary sculptures and extravagant coffins, to elaborate headstones, memorials, monuments and cenotaphs.

This is a unique survey of the ‘artful’ nature of funerals in Africa. Drawing on a wide range of historical, anthropological, archeological, art historical and literary sources, John Mack charts the full range of African funereal art, drawing on examples from across the continent, and from ancient times to today.

Featuring abundant illustrations, some of which have never been published before, this is essential reading for those interested in African art, culture, society and history.

‘A much-needed publication relevant to the growing popular interest in death, dying, mourning and thereafter.’ — John Picton, Emeritus Professor, SOAS, University of London

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John Mack is Professor of World Art Studies in the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and a specialist in African arts and cultures. His many books include The Museum of the Mind: Art and Memory in World Cultures (2003), The Art of Small Things (2007) and The Sea: A Cultural History (Reaktion, 2011).