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African Cosmos Hardcover – November 27, 2012


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African Cosmos + Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press (November 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580933432
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580933438
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christine Mullen Kreamer is deputy director and chief curator at the National Museum of African Art. A graduate of Indiana University, with a PhD in African Art History and minors in anthropology and African studies, Kreamer is an expert on both traditional and contemporary African art.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By jeri jones on January 25, 2013
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My father is an artist and this book, which was a gift to him for Christmas, plays on the theme of a recent series of paintings he is currently working on. He was very excited about this book, but he won't open the book until he's finished his series of paintings, preferring to remain true to his own concept of Africans in antiquity who followed the path of the stars to guide their decisions about agriculture, life, etc. Its a beautiful coffe table book that think he'll treasure for a long time -- and it was a lot cheaper at Amazon than at other locations!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Merrily Baird on June 1, 2014
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"African Cosmos: Stellar Arts," published by the National Museum of African Art of the Smithsonian Institution is the "second in a series of projects...that explores African contributions to the history of knowledge..." Its stated intent, and that of an associated museum show, was to remedy the paucity of attention given sub-Saharan African understandings of heavenly phenomena.

In the second part of this catalogue, ten chapters, running nearly 200 pages, explain how the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa have traditionally understood astronomy and cosmology and the practices, ceremonies, and artifacts that have flowed from their belief systems. The ethnic groups touched on by these chapters are diverse, ranging from the Christians in Ethiopia to the Bamana and Dogon in Mali, Merina in Madagascar, Kongo of central Africa, and Yoruba of Nigeria, among others. A diversity of substantive focus is another strength. Several chapters focus on architecture, while others examine the human body--in both the flesh and art--and ceremonial performances to see how they too evidence local notions of cosmology. Most notable among these superbly illustrated ten chapters is that by Christine Mullen Kreamer, deputy director and chief curator of the National Museum of African Art. It might well have been the book's introduction, and it is, in fact, a good place to start working one's way through this complex volume.

It is when we look at other than these ten chapters that some weaknesses appear. A number of introductory essays resemble academic conference papers shaped by personal agendas. As such, they do not form an integrated whole. Likewise, as the book concludes, readers will be left to wonder how Islam, Christianity, and urbanization have impacted traditional practices for there is no comprehensive discussion of this topic.
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By Oshun555 on November 11, 2014
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Great reference book!
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David R Reed Jr on April 8, 2013
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A must have for every citizen scientist's coffee table. A great book for every one who looks at the night sky and wonders.
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