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Spirits Speak: A Celebration of African Masks Hardcover – October 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 185 pages
  • Publisher: Prestel Publishing; 1ST edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3791332287
  • ISBN-13: 978-3791332284
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 10 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,811,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Stepan is the author of World Art: Africa (Prestel), and a number of other publications on African art. Iris Hahner is an ethnologist and author of many publications on African art, including African Masks: The Barbier-Mueller Collection (Prestel).

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The gorgeous Spirits Speak: A Celebration Of African Masks edited by Peter Stepan with contributions by Iris Hahner gathers a representative sampling of African masks from the world's leading museums and private collections, choosing samples which reflect powerful artistry and spiritual meaning alike. The power in Spirits Speak lies in full-page color photos of each mask making for a catalog which pairs an introductory section of history and cultural insight with plates which pack a visual punch.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By C. McCormick on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is breathtakingly beautiful, AND contains massive amounts of well-organized scholarship on African Masks. Stepan begins with a beautifully written section that, besides tackling the misunderstandings the early collectors had of these masks, reconnects the masks with the communities who created them and the ceremonies in which they were (and still are) intimately connected. The plates that follow are exquisite and fill three-quarters of the book. But, in addition to all that, each mask which is presented on a full-color, full-page plate (the pages in this book are HUGE) is then explained in the Catalogue entries (by Iris Hahner). There is also a poster map of Africa showing the masks' places of origin. I am a professor of Humanities and borrowed this book from the library a few times . . . but then HAD to have one of my own.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Arthur V. Rowe on March 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful book filled with great photographs and well wirtten text. Photographs illistrated, to allow the viewer to see every detail of each mask. A very informative book, almost like a museum tour, with the exception that the viewer will never see as many examples of African Masks in one place at one time. 100% Satisfaction
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Prof Itamar Procaccia on November 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is an excellent introduction the beauty of African masks for the beginning enthusiast, presenting excellent photographs of arguably some of the most beautiful examples of masks of the various tribes of Africa. For the more advanced enthusiast the book is a let-down - most of the images are recycled from other publications. There is a scarcity of new material and new examples. I can therefore recommend this book only for those who want to get a first visual impression of the wonderful arts of Africa, without getting into much ethnography or cultural background.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eric Clingen on April 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking for more in-depth information than was provided. It claims to be a superlative collection of the very best examples, but tells us little about the artwork and the selections are aesthetically arbitrary. A different smaller book,"African Masks" has many of the same pictures, is just as photographically comprehensive, and much more informative. This large book is redundant, but I suppose it is a nice coffee table book. I would rather have the space.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Luca Mirabile on February 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is another wonderful book if you're interested about african masks. The pictures - they are plenty - are amazing. Some examples are even very rare to find in other publications (see Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Tanzania sections). This is mainly a photographic book, but there are some right informations at the end of the book about each mask. I bought this book to know how to recognize a surface of an ancient mask from a modern (or even fake) one, and I'm fully satisfied. The images are detailed enough to see very well even the most hidden part of the mask. A very good purchase.
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