The Art of the Maasai: 300 Newly Discovered Objects and Works of Art

Gillies Turle, Author
Gillies Turle, Author Knopf Publishing Group $50 (160p) ISBN 978-0-394-58323-5
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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As much about culture as about art, this handsome book pays homage to Kenya's most notable tribe, the Maasai, who are ``content with one God who had granted them life, children and all cattle.'' Turle, an antiques dealer in Nairobi, began to acquire Maasai objects, such as a rhinoceros horn club known as an o-rinka ; he gained the trust of the Maasai and became increasingly convinced that Africa ``had much to teach me.'' The 115 photos, 80 of which are in color, are as striking as might be expected from the veteran Beard ( The End of the Game ), who was assisted here by Greenberg. Turle's long, thoughtful essay, punctuated by Maasai proverbs, demonstrates his enthusiasm for his subject even if he does not always focus on the photographed art objects. However, the quotations that amplify the photo captions often are from older books such as Out of Africa , and more information is needed on the Maasai struggle against ``progress'' today. (Oct.)
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