The Wild Bull and the Sacred Forest: Form, Meaning, and Change in Senegambian Initiation Masks by Peter MarkThe Wild Bull and the Sacred Forest: Form, Meaning, and Change in Senegambian Initiation Masks by Peter Mark

The Wild Bull and the Sacred Forest: Form, Meaning, and Change in Senegambian Initiation Masks

byPeter Mark

Paperback | February 17, 2011

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The study of the cattle-horned initiation masks of southern Senegal and the Gambia innovatively weaves together art history, history, and cultural anthropology to give a detailed view of Casamance cultures, as they have interacted and changed over the past two centuries. Based on seven field trips to West Africa and fifteen years of research in colonial archives and in museum collections from Dakar to Leipzig, Professor Mark's work presents a subtle interpretation of Casamance horned masquerades, their complex ritual symbolism, and the metaphysical concepts to which they allude. (The masks protect against the power of the kussay, or "sorcerers".) In tracing the cultural interaction and changing identity of the peoples of the Casamance, the author convincingly argues for a new and dynamic approach to art and ethnic identity. Culture should be seen, not as a fixed entity, but as a continuing process. This dynamic model reflects the long history of interaction between Manding and Diola and between Muslim and non-Muslim, a process that has resulted in the creation of hybrid masking forms.

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Title:The Wild Bull and the Sacred Forest: Form, Meaning, and Change in Senegambian Initiation MasksFormat:PaperbackDimensions:190 pages, 9.61 × 6.69 × 0.39 inPublished:February 17, 2011Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521180872

ISBN - 13:9780521180870

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Table of Contents

Foreword; List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; method and subject; 2. Ethnographic background; 3. Bukut initiation; 4. History and provenance of the Ejumba mask; 5. Iconography of the horned mask; 6. Mandinka or Jola? Art and culture as regional processes; 7. Islam and Casamance masking traditions; 8. Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliography.

Editorial Reviews

"Mark has done a masterful job of tracking down over sixty such masks on three continents, unraveling the often complex history of particular masks, and supplementing them with his thorough knowledge of early European travellers' accounts which provide, occasionally with illustrations, the earliest evidence of such masks among the Diola. He skillfully interprets the changing iconography of the masks, relating them to Diola thought about manhood, fertility, witchcraft, and clairvoyance as well as the openness of Diola maskmakers to incorporate Muslim gris-gris (or shapes that imitate such talismen), Manjaco cloth, and even such commercial items as cowry shells and buttons into the decoration of the masks." Robert M. Baum, Journal of Religion in Africa