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In pursuit of virtuosity: gendering ‘master’ pieces of nineteenth-century South African indigenous arts

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In nineteenth-century South Africa two different forms of facture of objects were encouraged by European colonial intervention. One, woodcarving, was male and produced many objects which have been declared masterpieces. The other, beadwork, was a female craft and was regarded as less valuable. This article examines the ways in which these values were located in the visible virtuosity of the facture of objects and through the visual representation of objects and people, drawing on well-documented pieces from the collections of the British Museum and nineteenth-century photographs.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-11-01

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