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Pas RA6 - a religious context of the art that survives from...

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JP Lyninger III African American Art to 1920 Reading Assignment 6 Black American Folk Art This essay concerning the origins and manifestations of black American folk art is was intended to provide a background for the pieces on display at an exhibition. As the author states, these pieces of folk art did not appear without precedent or historical roots. The crafts of metalworking, basket weaving and others are recalled from the slavery period, and their roots explained as being distinctly African. The essay particularly identifies the symbolism that much of the art shares with the religious iconography of African peoples. First examined is woodcarving, particularly human figures. A piece resembling George Washington is examined for its combination of African influences (a human figure carved from a singe piece of wood) and Western (the proportions and subject matter.) Also examined are various wooden sculptures of animals, some perhaps suggesting African icons, and others incorporated into staves as wards against evil spirits,
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Unformatted text preview: a religious context of the art that survives from Africa. Next, the essay turns to pottery. The essay’s section is devoted to what are referred to as ‘Afro-Georgian and Afro-Carolinian face vessels,’ ceramic jugs which portray human facial features and use mixed media such as insects for eyes. The origin of this concept is thought to lie with Zairian funeral sculpture, the similarities being too strong to dismiss for the author. Finally, the essay turns to quilt making, perhaps the most famous African American folk art. Quilt making is examined as a way to incorporate a new form with old art, in this case the practice of decorating textiles. There are geometric patterned quilts, which may recall kente. The ‘Harriet quilts’ with their portrayal of biblical scenes and unique meteorological, astronomical and personal events in the life of the artist, are also discussed. The iconography is suggested to be African in origin....
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