Hammer Art History Lecture
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States + Google Map
“Patterns of Anomaly in African Ivories”
Abstract: This lecture takes up questions in African Medieval to Early Modern ivory imagery and sources framed in part around a set of seemingly anomalous motifs that address how power and ivory have mutually shaped each other both in Africa (particularly Nigeria) and in European contexts. Among the works taken up are images of elephants in Nigerian Nok and Ife art, the prominence of sirens on Benin and Owo Yoruba ivories, the cultural primacy of ivory spoons, the “missing” Durer saltcellar (now possibly found?), and the legacies of colonial era impact of pianos and ivory keys.
Suzanne Blier (Allen W. Clowes Professor, Harvard University) is a historian of African art and architecture in both the History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies Departments. She also is a member of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science and a Faculty Associate at the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative.
More information about past Armand Hammer Art History Lectures can be found here.
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