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Burnished : Zulu Ceramics between Rural and Urban South Africa

Burnished : Zulu Ceramics between Rural and Urban South Africa

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Burnished : Zulu Ceramics between Rural and Urban South Africa

W038512 | $80.00 / 10% library disc.

Elizabeth Perrill. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2022. African Expressive Cultures.

276 pp. Well Illustrated (chiefly col.). 24 x 16 cm. In English. Hardcover.

ISBN 9780253061867

Showcases the lives and work of individual Black South African artists, mostly women, whose contributions and accomplishments have not been well recognized. —Offers the most complex and richest analysis of Zulu beer pots to date, by examining their history and significance from multiple vantage points, ranging from the art market to the aesthetics and family connections of individual potters. —Approaches Zulu pottery making not to define a normative style but to treat ceramic production as an important mode of self-definition for Zulu women. When Zulu women potters innovate or move to a more urban setting, they are asked why they have abandoned tradition. Yet when they continue to follow convention or choose to stay in rural areas, art historians speak of their work as unchanging symbols of the past. Burnished rejects both stereotypes, acknowledging the agency of rural women as innovative artists and complex individuals negotiating a biased set of power structures. Featuring 90 color images, Burnished engages directly with individual artists and specific vessels, fracturing assumptions that Zulu ceramicists are resistant to rural transformation and insulated from urban realities. Elizabeth Perrill shares compelling narratives of women ceramic artists and the sophisticated beer pots they create—their aesthetic choices, audiences, production, and artistic lives. Simultaneously, Perrill documents the manner in which and reasons why ceramic arts, and at times the artists themselves, capitalize upon bucolic stereotypes of rural womanhood, are constrained by artistic methods, or chafe against definitions of what qualifies as a Zulu pot. Revealing how white South Africans and global art gatekeepers have continually twisted the designation of Zulu ceramics before, during, and after apartheid, Burnished provides an engaging look at the artistry of entrepreneurial Black women too often erased from historical records.

Subject Headings: African Art ; Non-Western Art -- Ceramics -- Women Artists --

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