A Tribute to Miniature Works of African Art
Micro Monumentality is the first title in a new series, Micro-Africa, which aims to highlight the artistic and cultural value of miniature objects made in Africa. The whole series will be based on a single private collection. Forthcoming titles will be dedicated to different ethnic groups and/or varieties of objects (jewels, talismans, containers, boxes, fetishes). The first volume introduces the concept behind the series, offering a broad overview of objects and materials created and used by a large number of different African ethnic groups.
With superb full-page photographs and close-ups of single details, Micro Monumentality extols the wealth of expression found in talismans, weights, boxes, containers, fetishes, jewels, and other objects made from wood, ivory, bone, bronze, iron, aluminium, and stone. None of these exceed 15 cm (just under 6 inches) in height or length, and though indeed ‘microscopic’, they are as expressive as much larger works, and are even ‘monumental’ in their own right. Showcased here are approximately 150 objects from a unique collection of 20,000 pieces, purchased from renowned art galleries, exchanged between collectors, or found in Africa during decades of enthusiastic research. Representing the quintessence of African thought, religiosity, and prodigious formal inventiveness, this private collection is a celebration of the union of the minuscule, the sacred, and the precious. Including a long interview in which the collector talks about the origin of his passion, this book plunges the reader into a poetic odyssey of materials, forms, and rituals composed on a smaller scale.
A graduate from the école du Louvre et de lettres classiques at the Sorbonne, Bérénice Geoffroy-Schneiter is an art historian and journalist who specialises in archaeology and ethnology. She has published many books on the art of costume and the primal arts and has been editor-in-chief of the review Tribal Art.