Vanishing Tribes

Alain Cheneviere, Author Doubleday Books $35 (267p) ISBN 978-0-385-23897-7
For some 20 years, Cheneviere, a Paris-based linguist, ethnologist and photographer, lived among more than 200 primitive tribes. He presents here descriptive legends and magnificent color photographs of 20 such tribes, evoking a wealth of ancient customs threatened by extinction. The temple of the Mother Goddess serves as a ceremonial house and central meeting place for Kogi men in the tropical forest of Colombia; access is forbidden to women, who are considered impure. Before attaining womanhood, Ethiopian Mursis undergo various ritual mutilations, such as exaggerated protrusion of the lower lips and scarring of the skin. The tiny Jales of New Guinea practice cannabilism; before a young man of the Dogon tribe of Mali can marry, he must father several children by the same woman. Anthropology buffs will find their curiosity aroused by this photo album, but they will have to look elsewhere for an in-depth study of native rituals. (September 4)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
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