The Art of Daily Life: Portable Objects from Southern Africa

Based on an exhibition of 85 exceptional works from American private collections and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art inWashington, this book joins the few publications devoted to the artistic traditions of Southern Africa. Astoundingly diverse and limitless in their inventiveness, materials, forms, and styles, works from this part of the continent defy specific ethnic attribution. Small and portable in nature-snuff containers,pipes, headrests, staffs, sticks, beer vessels, beaded garments-they were created by seminomadic cattle-herding peoples and primarily intended for daily use.Their softened edges and lustrous patinas are obvious signs of wear and tear. Whether figurative or abstract, carved out of wood, ivory, or horn, or made of cloth, glass beads, or clay, most of the works presented in this publication were much more than exquisitely designed functional objects.