REVIEWS BRAVMANN, René A., Islam and Tribal Art in West Africa (African Studies Series) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1974, 190 pp., illus., maps. £ 5.00. This is an important addition to Islamic Studies in that it questions the common assumption of Islamic influence being invariably icono- clastic and aniconic (see especially ch. 2). It is also important for African studies in revealing the persistence, and further development, of African cultures after contact with more powerful and sophisticated societies; it is usual'ly a case of the interaction of the two rather than the "impact" of the latter. And at this same point it is important for missiology,, as well as in ch. I, which gives a good summary of the various factors at work in the Islamization of West Africa, and in ch. 3 which shows the tolerance, adaptability and syncretism that have maiked Islam's success in this area. All this suggests comparison with Christian expansion. The author is an art historian who uses a detailed study of re- presentational art associated with shrines and with masked cults to disprove many of the assumptions about Islam's destructive effects on these - assumptions that have been passed from scholar to
Journal of Religion in Africa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1974
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