Tuesday, 6 September 2011

What is good: Inscribing Meaning

I have decided to broaden my research to tribal jewellery in general, and have narrowed it down to tribes in Africa. I have done this because I think that the meanings behind tribal jewellery are really interesting and interlink with traditions.

I have got a book out of the library called 'Inscribing meaning, writing and graphic systems in African art'. The images in this book are amazing but don't really directly link to my topic of research, I found it hard to find books on just tribal jewellery. However I can see how this book can link my topic to graphic design, as it focuses on writing and lettering used within African traditions.

There is an interesting section of the book where it describes how African tribes people not only use their bodies to inscribe text but also their jewellery. The idea of inscribing onto an amulet is 'a dialect of concealment and revelation is at work. The very notion of an amulet is rooted in the concept of the secret, because the written inscription is withheld from view.' The thought is that the person wearing the amulet is the holder of the secrets. The signs imprinted on the silver amulet stand for animals and astronomical constellations. The amulets in north and east Africa also often contain talismanic prayer papers.
Mande hunters of Mali attach amulets to their shirts to display their knowledge, skill and expertise in the forest that has been acquired throughout their lifetime. Only the hunter knows the contents of the amulets, and he is the only one to wear the shirt.

No comments:

Post a Comment