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Book Book Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Mande blacksmiths: knowledge, power, and art in West Africa
Author:McNaughton, Patrick R.ISNI
Series:Traditional arts of Africa
City of publisher:Bloomington, Ind.
Publisher:Indiana University Press
ISBN:025333683X; 0253207983
Geographic term:Mali
metalworking industry
iron forging
Abstract:While carrying out research for this book in 1978, the author worked as an apprentice to Mande blacksmith Sedu Traore in the Republic of Mali. Chapter one examines the Mande smiths' place in society as members of a special category of creative specialists. The ambiguity of that category is considered with reference to the tenets of Mande knowledge, social interaction, and sorcery, and the smiths' relationship to Mande principles of energy and action. Chapter two takes up blacksmiths' techniques and products and the idea of articulation. Chapter three describes Mande concepts of instrumental knowledge and the kinds of activity that it engenders, from rain making and divination to doctoring and amulet making. It focuses on the way blacksmiths acquire this knowledge and how they apply it in social and spiritual arenas. Chapter four treats the relationships between blacksmiths' aesthetics and their roles beyond art and considers four types of sculpture: spear blades, iron lamps, iron figures and 'komo' masks. The final chapter interprets the confluence of these varied activities in the hands of creative individuals at once damned and praised by their own society.