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The Forge and the funeral : the Smith in Kapsiki/Higi culture

Author: W E A van Beek
Publisher: East Lansing, MI : Michigan State University Press, 2015. ©2015
Series: African history and culture.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Throughout Africa one craft among many stands out: that of the blacksmith. In many African cultures, smiths occupy a significant position, not just as artisans engaging in a difficult craft but also as special people. Often they perform other crafts, as well, and make up a somewhat separate group inside society. The Forge and the Funeral describes the position of the smith in the culture of the Kapsiki/Higi of  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
(OCoLC)908991027
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: W E A van Beek
ISBN: 9781609174538 1609174534
OCLC Number: 930600965
Description: 1 online resource.
Contents: Preface --
Language and orthography --
Smith, skill, and the senses --
An African enigma --
The internal other --
Hot iron and cool pots --
Yellow wildness --
Of whistling birds and talking crabs --
Smith and ritual --
Masters of healing --
A sense of justice --
The smell of death --
Music and the silence of the smith --
The smith and the power of things --
Notes --
Glossary of kapsiki terms --
Glossary of paksiki plant names --
Bibliography --
Index.
Series Title: African history and culture.
Responsibility: Walter. E.A. van Beek.

Abstract:

Throughout Africa one craft among many stands out: that of the blacksmith. In many African cultures, smiths occupy a significant position, not just as artisans engaging in a difficult craft but also as special people. Often they perform other crafts, as well, and make up a somewhat separate group inside society. The Forge and the Funeral describes the position of the smith in the culture of the Kapsiki/Higi of northern Cameroon and northeastern Nigeria. Situated in the Mandara Mountains and straddling the border of these two countries, Kapsiki culture forms a specific and highly relevant example of the phenomenon of the smith in Africa. As an endogamous group of about 5 percent of the population, Kapsiki smiths perform an impressive array of crafts and specializations, combining magico-religious functions with metalwork, in particular as funeral directors, as well as with music and healing. The Forge and the Funeral gives an intimate description and analysis of this group, based upon the author's four decades-long involvement with the Kapsiki/Higi. Description and analysis are set within the more general scholarly debates about the dynamics of professional closure - including the notions of caste and guild - and also consider the deep history of iron and brass in Africa.

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