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Article

Carol Magee

(b Dec 8, 1956).

Ethiopian painter, installation artist, graphic designer, and writer, active in the USA. She grew up in Addis Ababa in a family of painters before moving to the USA. She graduated from Howard University, Washington, DC, with a BFA in painting (1975) and returned in 1994 for an MFA. Her early works, based on dreams or visions, have richly textured surfaces. In the 1980s she abandoned her early palette of reds, ochres, and greens for one of purples and blues. Later paintings depict an urban environment and frequently evoke the feeling of dislocation and nostalgia that comes from living in a country that is not one’s own. Her use of themes and motifs from myriad cultures (including those of Ethiopia and Latin America) comes out of her experiences as a diasporic subject as well as the lives of the women around her. Her pieces often tell their stories, as in the Dream Dancers series (...

Article

Avaris  

M. Bietak

[now Tell el-Dab‛a, eastern Delta, Egypt]

Ancient capital of Egypt that flourished during the Hyksos period (c. 1640–c. 1530 bc). The Greek name ‘Avaris’ derives from an ancient Egyptian name meaning ‘royal fortified settlement of the district’. The northern part of Tell el-Dab‛a was at first occupied by the town of Rowaty in the Middle Kingdom (c. 2008–c. 1630 bc). Avaris itself was founded c. 1720 bc as the capital of a local Delta kingdom independent of the ruling 13th Dynasty. The community was at that time largely of Syrian origin, employed originally by the Egyptian navy and treasury. A local Asiatic dynasty took control of Avaris and continued the existing cult of the god Seth. During the subsequent Hyksos rule (15th Dynasty, c. 1640–c. 1532 bc) Egypt was governed by monarchs of Asiatic origin. According to a late tradition of Flavius Josephus, Avaris was strongly fortified, and Egyptian sources suggest that it served as the ...

Article

Ayyubid  

Islamic dynasty that ruled 1169–1252 in Egypt, 1180s–1260 in Syria and south-east Anatolia, and 1174–1229 in the Yemen, with minor branches continuing until the end of the 15th century. The Ayyubids were the Kurdish clan brought to power in 1169 by Salah al-Din (Saladin; reg 1169–93) and his nephew Shirkuh when they occupied Egypt on behalf of the Zangid family ruler of Damascus, Nur al-Din (reg 1146–74). Shirkuh soon died, and Salah al-Din became master of Egypt. He ended the Shi‛ite Fatimid dynasty of Egypt in 1171 and brought Aleppo and Damascus under his control in 1183 and 1186. Salah al-Din is best known in both East and West as a tireless foe of the crusaders, and for his liberation of Jerusalem in 1187. The Ayyubid lands were governed by leading members of his family. The sultan ruling in Cairo was paramount, and Damascus was the second capital, but Ayyubid possessions extended to the Yemen and into Anatolia. The counter-crusade continued throughout the Ayyubid period; notable is the failed treaty between al-Malik al-Kamil (...

Article

Carol Magee

(b Bamako, 1959).

Malian photographer. He began his career in 1983 when he began documenting cultural patrimony for the Musée National du Mali, where he was staff photographer. His photographs present both broad and intimate views of life, and he is equally skilled in capturing a place empty of people as he is with close-ups, for example of hands or feet. Suggesting both absence and intimate presence, he evokes a powerful sense of the human condition. His aesthetically stunning works offer views that might otherwise go unnoticed: feet pedaling a bicycle, a faint reflection of a colourful boat on creamy white water. Working in both black and white and colour, he almost never shows the faces of his subjects as he captures them at work or in everyday pursuits, for example in Le bol de lait (1997). He suggests people through their interaction with their surroundings; although they remain anonymous, they have an overpowering presence. Light is important both technically and compositionally: in photographed reflections off the land and buildings, one senses the overpowering Malian sun, and such conditions enable him to create images rich in saturated colours....

Article

El Hadji Sy

(b Agniam Thiodaye Matam, July 11, 1945).

Senegalese painter. Primarily an autodidact, he also learnt engraving at the Institut National des Arts du Senegal, Dakar, in 1975. His early work was often rendered in china ink, but he later worked mainly with oil or acrylic paint. In the 1980s and 1990s his canvases focused on the world of Fulani cow herders, as seen in Vache (1988; Frankfurt am Main, Friedrich Axt priv. col.). Ba employs a palette of subtle, earth-tone hues to suggest the arid Sahelian landscape, populating these scenes with stylized cows and herders. His painting is often appreciated by collectors for its visual affinity with ancient rock art. He was considered for membership of the Ecole de Dakar and participated in the government-sponsored exhibition Art contemporain du Senegal, which traveled internationally from 1974 to 1982.

Contemporary Art of Senegal/Art Contemporain du Senegal (exh.cat., Hamilton, Ont., A.G., 1979) F. Axt and El Hadji M. B. Sy...

Article

Paul T. Nicholson

[al-Badāri]

Site in Egypt on the east bank of the Nile, where a predynastic cemetery and settlement were meticulously excavated and recorded by Guy Brunton and Gertrude Caton-Thompson in 1922–5. They uncovered some 650 prehistoric pit graves and associated artefacts, which formed the basis for the definition of the so-called Badarian period (c. 6000/5500–c. 4000 bc). The Badarian graves were shallow and roughly oval, with sides sloping towards the base, probably originally roofed with sticks or matting. The deceased were each laid in a loose foetal or sleeping position, with their faces looking west, and there is no evidence of any deliberate attempt to preserve the bodies.

Most distinctive among the associated artefacts is the fine pottery, consisting of three types of thin-walled, handmade vessels: ‘Polished Red’, ‘Polished Black’ and ‘Black-topped Polished Red or Brown’. Some of this pottery had a ripple-burnished surface, created either by rubbing a rounded pebble over the leather-hard clay or by combing ripples into the wet clay and then burnishing when leather-hard. The manner of production of the black-topped ware remains a matter of debate. The shapes of the pots were usually simple and mostly bowls....

Article

Baga  

Frederick Lamp

A cultural union of peoples from West Africa comprising five Baga dialect groups of the Temne language cluster ( Mandori, Sitemu, Kakissa, Koba, Kalum) and two separate, vaguely interrelated units ( Pukur and Buluñits; commonly known respectively as Baga Mbsteni, Binari, and Baga Foré). These peoples occupy small, isolated sections of the Atlantic coast of Guinea. In art-historical terms, the name Baga is commonly used to define a geographical region stretching from the area just south of Conakry to the insular coast of Guinea-Bissau south of the city of Bissau and inhabited by neighbours who share many different cultural traditions with the Baga. These include the Nalu to the north, the Landuma to the east, and the Mmani to the south. Baga culture, as represented by art objects in Western museums, spans several hundred years, with a dramatic redirection beginning in the 1950s.

The Baga and their neighbours are surrounded to the east by such Mande-speaking peoples as the Susu, Mikifore, and Malinke, and by the Fula. The Mande-speaking peoples, in particular, have had a profound influence on Baga culture dating back several centuries to the era of their conquest of the legendary Baga-Temne homelands in the Futa Jalon highlands. The hegemony of the Susu over most of the Baga territory was one of the factors in the changes that took place in the 1950s, when the demise occurred of the traditional religious institutions that initiated men and women into successive stages of ritual knowledge. Others included the Baga’s forced conversion in ...

Article

A. J. Mills

[Arab. al-Baḥriyya; Bahria Oasis]

Site in Egypt, just south of the latitude of Cairo and about 200 km west of the Nile, occupied from the 17th Dynasty (c. 1630–c. 1540 bc). Most of the small settlements of which the oasis is composed are clustered at the northern end of an oval depression. Contact with the Nile seems to have been frequent. The oasis is best known for several decorated tombs with the remains of painted scenes, the earliest being that of Amenhotep Huy, a governor during the 19th Dynasty (c. 1292–c. 1190 bc). Another group of tombs, of officials from the 26th Dynasty (664–525 bc), includes the tomb of Bannentiu, which has a variety of painted religious scenes whose vivid colours are well preserved. There are two ruined temples, both with the usual Egyptian style of relief decoration. One is a large limestone temple, dated to the reign of Apries (...

Article

[Arab. Dawlat al-Baḥrayn; anc. Dilmun, Tilmun, Gr. Tylos]

Independent state in the Persian/Arabian Gulf, comprising an archipelago of low-lying islands. The capital, Manama, is on the main island, also known as Bahrain. Bahrain Island is c. 586 sq. km in area and consists mostly of sand-covered limestone, with a fertile strip in the north and oases fed by natural springs. The discovery of oil in 1932 transformed Bahrain’s revenues, replacing pearls as its main export. Many of the islands are linked by causeways, including one between Bahrain Island and Muharraq Island, and a major causeway (1986) links Bahrain with Saudi Arabia. The indigenous population (c. 500,000) consists mainly of Shi‛a and Sunni Muslims. From the 3rd millennium bc to the mid-1st Bahrain can be identified as Dilmun, a powerful trading centre between the east (e.g. Iran, the Indus Valley) and Mesopotamia, with a colony on Failaka Island (Kuwait) from c. 2000 bc. Islam came to Bahrain ...

Article

Gavin Stamp

(b Cobham, Kent, June 9, 1862; d Cobham, Feb 4, 1946).

English architect and writer, also active in South Africa and India . He was articled to a cousin, Arthur Baker, a former assistant of George Gilbert Scott I, in 1879 and attended classes at the Architectural Association and Royal Academy Schools before joining the office of George & Peto in London (1882), where he first met and befriended Edwin Lutyens. Baker set up in independent practice in 1890 but moved to South Africa in 1892 to join his brother Lionel Baker. In Cape Town he met Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, who directed his attention to the traditional European Cape Dutch architecture of the province and asked him to rebuild his house Groote Schuur (1893, 1897), now the official residence of South Africa’s prime ministers. Applying the ideas of the English Arts and Crafts movement to local conditions, Baker produced a series of houses, both in the Cape Province and the Transvaal, which were instrumental in the revival of Cape Dutch architecture. In ...

Article

Elaine E. Sullivan

(b Lubumbashi, Dec 29, 1978).

Congolese photographer. Baloji’s photomontages explore themes of memory, architecture, and the environment. Such subjects are frequently treated through the use of archival photographs and watercolours, juxtaposed with contemporary photographs taken by the artist. By foregrounding archival images of labourers and overseers against contemporary urban and rural landscapes, Baloji’s work humanizes the colonial industrial history of his native Katanga province.

Sammy Baloji grew up in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where he attended the University of Lubumbashi and in 2005 received degrees in Information Sciences and Communication. While working as a cartoonist he borrowed a camera to photograph scenes to use as source material for his drawings. This sparked his interest in photography, which he began to study in the DRC. In 2005 he moved to France, where he continued to study photography as well as video at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg.

Baloji’s work explores the history of Katanga through photography of both the natural and built environment. The locations Baloji photographs display the colonial and industrial pasts that continue to inform present-day politics and everyday life. Abandoned factories remind the viewer of Katanga’s prosperous mining past, and photographs of recently burnt fields where colonial outposts once stood shed light on a post-colonial reality....

Article

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

Paul Hulton

(Antonio Melchiorre)

(b Bologna, Jan 14, 1737; d Gondar, Ethiopia, between 14 Feb and March 3, 1771).

Italian draughtsman and printmaker . He showed early artistic promise and was apprenticed to Giuseppe Civoli (1705–78), a Bolognese painter and professor of architecture at the Accademia Clementina in Bologna. As a student he won the gold medal for architectural design in an open competition at Parma in 1759. He was consequently elected an academician in Bologna at the early age of 22. For his patron, the count and senator Girolamo Ranuzzi, he drew and etched (c. 1760) a notable set of plates of the Palazzo Ranuzzi (now the Palazzo di Giustizia) in Bologna. In 1761 he moved to Rome and began to take commissions as an architectural draughtsman. Here he was recruited to assist the explorer James Bruce of Kinnaird (1730–94) to draw and record Classical remains. For about three years from March 1765 Balugani travelled with Bruce, recording most of the known Classical sites of North Africa and Asia Minor. When Bruce decided to extend his travels to Ethiopia, by way of Egypt and Arabia, to search for the source of the Nile, Balugani accompanied him and made numerous drawings of botanical and zoological specimens, despite having also to compile weather records and travel journals. He was with Bruce when the latter discovered the springs of the Blue Nile (which they believed to be the source of the main river) in ...

Article

Bamana  

Patrick R. McNaughton

[Bambara]

Mande-speaking people of central Mali. Numbering some 1.2 million, the Bamana are closely related to the Maninka (Malinke) and Wasuluka, with whom they share territory along their southern and western borders. To the south-east they intermingle with the Senufo, to the east with Minianka, Bobo, and Dogon, to the north-east with Fula speakers and to the north-west with Soninke and several other, smaller Mande-speaking groups (see Africa, §VII, 3). They are principally agriculturists, but many individuals specialize in commerce, hunting, herbal medicine, occult activities, and the arts, both oral and visual.

Despite much effort by many scholars, the study of Bamana art is in its infancy. Many of the numerous types of Bamana sculpture, for example, are given meaning in relation to the religious associations that use them, but often these have not been studied adequately. Many other sculptures are not affiliated with institutions but rather with individuals who use them in esoteric and secret ways. Scholarly knowledge of such practices and the types of sculpture employed is limited....

Article

dele jegede

(b Iloffa, c. 1885; d Odo-Owa, 1978).

Nigerian wood-carver. He carved traditional objects (houseposts, bowls, stools) as well as innovative ones (coffee tables, bread boards) in a relatively plain style. He also carved masks, among the finest being an Epa mask (London, BM) on which two women are surrounded by smaller male figures atop the mask superstructure. This piece adheres to Yoruba conventions in that the figures are idealized, static, stoically poised, emotionless and non-narrative, though they display the fullness of life. Large in size, symmetrical and conventionally proportioned, his pieces have relatively smooth surfaces. Wall plaques with narrative scenes, stools, knives, intricate patterning and details are among his more ‘modern’ works. He taught carving in Omu.

J. D. Clarke: ‘A Yoruba Carved Wood Wall-Plaque’, Nigeria Magazine, 14 (1938), pp. 141–5J. Pemberton III: ‘The Carvers of the Northeast’, Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought, by H. J. Drewal and J. Pemberton III (New York, 1989), pp. 195–206...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Nigeria, 1963).

Nigerian photographer, film maker, installation artist and writer active in Scotland. He studied Chemical Engineering at Strathclyde University, Glasgow (1981–85), before completing an MA in Media, Fine Art, Theory and Practice at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1996–8). Bamgboyé’s earliest work was photographic: The Lighthouse series (1989; see 1998 book, p. 65) initiated his interest in the representation of black masculinity by depicting his own naked body in often theatrical contortions, amid mundane domestic rooms; the frames of the photographs are attached to coat hangers, underlining the theme of domesticity and pointing to his interest in the changeable character of subjectivity. These themes were further explored in films, which he began to make in 1993: Spells for Beginners (1994; see 2000 exh. cat., p. 74) explores the breakdown of his long-term relationship with a woman through a broken mix of confessional dialogue and fleeting images of their home. The installation of which this film is a part takes the form of an ordinary living room and is typical of Bamgboyé’s technique of adumbrating his imagery with sculptural motifs that emphasize his themes. In other films he explored the issue of migration: ...

Article

Christraud M. Geary

Group of Bantu-speaking peoples inhabiting the Grassfields, a mountainous region in the western part of Cameroon. As well as sharing centuries of common history, they are also tied through extensive trade networks. As a result, their art forms display many similarities, as well as local variation. They are most famous for their royal sculptural arts.

The Grassfields, in particular Bamileke country, is one of the most densely settled parts of Cameroon. According to estimates in 1980 the Bamileke comprised c. 600,000 people, while the related peoples in the north-western part of the Grassfields were estimated at 300,000. These populations have formed numerous small and large states, often referred to as chiefdoms or kingdoms, among them Bangwa-Fontem, Bamum, Nso, Kom, and Bafut. Although the inhabitants of the Grassfields see themselves as members of distinctive states, a number of labels for larger groupings have entered the literature. Thus a distinction is often made between the inhabitants of the southern kingdoms, referred to as ‘Bamileke’, and populations in the Northwest Province, with its capital Bamenda, erroneously designated as ...

Article

Bamum  

Claude Tardits

[Bamoum; Bamoun]

Kingdom and Benue–Congo-speaking people, numbering c. 100,000, living in the south-eastern part of Cameroon’s North-West Province. Foumban, the capital of the kingdom, in particular, is famous for its rich artistic traditions, especially in architecture and associated sculpture and furniture. Collections of Bamum art are held by many museums in Europe and the USA (e.g. Berlin, Mus. Vlkerknd.; Paris, Mus. Homme; Chicago, IL, Field Mus. Nat. Hist.), and there is an important collection in the Musée des Arts et Traditions Bamoun, Foumban, Cameroon. Bamum art has been widely illustrated (see bibliography), and a number of photographs of material in situ in the early 1900s have been published (see especially 1988 exh. cat.).

Having emigrated from the Tikar region in present-day Cameroon, the Bamum established a tiny kingdom on the plateau between the Mbam and Noun Rivers during the 17th century. They brought with them ancient techniques and art forms, including wood-carving, the engraving of ivory and buffalo horns, ceramics, and probably also the lost-wax casting of copper alloys, leather-tanning, and weaving of cotton cloth. These traditions were enriched in their new location and again at the beginning of the 19th century, when they expanded their territory twenty-fold through the subjugation of dozens of other peoples. The Bamum took over the institutions of the conquered peoples, adopted their architectural forms, elaborated their sculptural forms, improved their lost-wax casting technique, and adopted the use of glass beads to decorate cloth. Already practising various forms of graphic art on wood and horn, they began to apply these to textiles and other media, and even to a pictographic system of writing developed during the reign of ...

Article

Bangwa  

Robert Brain

[Mbangwé ; Mba Nwẽ]

Group of nine independent chiefdoms located in the region of convergence between the forest and savannah grassfields of western Cameroon, with a total population of some 20,000; the largest chiefdom is Fontem. Bangwa art forms include statues, fetishes, masks, and stools (see Brain and Pollock for illustrations of numerous examples); a representative collection is held by the Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin (see Krieger and Kutscher, Krieger).

The Bangwa are linguistically and culturally related to their eastern neighbours, the Bamileke and related peoples, from whom they were administratively separated only by the accidents of European colonial history. However, while their culture is basically Bamileke, the Bangwa have been sensitive to trading opportunities with, and receptive to ideas from, their other neighbours, particularly those of the forest, such as the Ejagham. A striking feature of the art of the area is the mobility of both art objects and their producers; sculptures, masks, and artists being traded between chiefdoms. It is thus difficult to establish distinct art styles or substyles....

Article

Gordon Campbell

Unwoven cloth made from the bast (inner bark) of a tree. It is also known as ‘tapa’, with reference to the Polynesian bark cloth made from the bark of the paper mulberry and used for clothing. There is a huge collection of Polynesian bark cloth in the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu. In sub-Saharan Africa bark cloth was traditionally decorated with free-hand painting applied with grass brushes, and was used for room-dividers and screens as well as clothing. Its widest application was in Japan, where bark cloth was used for windows, screens, kites, flags and umbrellas.

L. Terrell and J. Terrell: Patterns of Paradise: The Styles of Bark Cloth around the World (Chicago, 1980)M. J. Pritchard: Siapo: Bark Cloth Art of Samoa...