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The Depiction of Concept of Death in Art of African Society
File size:
6220 KB
ID number:

241255

Author:
Evaluation:
Published: 07.03.2011.
Language: English
Level: College/University
Literature: 6 units
References: Used
Table of contents
Nr. Chapter  Page.
  INTRODUCTION    3
  THE AFRICAN CONCEPT OF DEATH    4
  THE AFRICAN CONCEPT OF AFTERLIFE    5
  THE CULT OF ANCESTORS    6
  BURIAL AND MOURNING CUSTOMS    7
  FUNERAL RITE    7
  ORNAMENTS IN CLOTHES AND SYMBOLS IN THEM    8
  RITUAL OBJECTS    9
  MASKS    9
  TERRACOTTA STATUETTES    10
  FIGURINES OF WOOD    11
  RELIQUARY HEADS AND FIGURES    12
  METAL ALTARS    13
  INDIVIDUAL AND COMMUNITY    15
  MODERNISATION OF OLD TRADITIONS    16
  CONCLUSION    18
  BIBLIOGRAPHY    19
Extract

Death as any realm of the everyday life has its own legend in African religion. It has different statements according to the place and time, but the main elements stay the same.
The legend says that at some point in the past people and the Supreme Being or the Maker lived together. “But this paradise did not last, and after some time God withdrew from people. This withdrawal is not usually attributed to human sin or offence, but to some mistake (..). Myths go on to explain how people lost their immortality, again through an unfortunate accident. The most common myth in Africa concerns the animal messenger (often the chameleon) who was sent to people with news of immortality or resurrection. But the messenger dawdled on the way, forgot his message or garbled it, stuttered in delivering it, or had his parcel of new skins stolen by the snake (which explains why snakes can have new skins every year). But the most common version of the myth is that the first messenger was overtaken by a second one (often the lizard) whose message was that people would die. The result is irreconcilable separation between humanity and the creator.”1 As the result, the animals mentioned in the myths of the lost of immortality are often depicted on ritual objects or cloches connected with burial rites.
Although African people have used to the death and it’s everywhere appearing signs; the death itself is considered to be unnatural “in the sense that man was originally intended to inherit immortality here. He has come to regard death as the inevitable debt which every man must pay. He prefers to call it a “home call” which every mortal must answer.”2 Therefore the death is not considered to be a threat, but just the end of the life cycle on this side of existence which will be continued on the other side.
“Although death is acknowledged as having come into the world and remained there ever since, it is unnatural and preventable on the personal level because it is always caused by an other agent. If that agent did not cause it, then the individual would not die.”3 This agent could be a disease or the result of the witchcraft.…

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