In the arid, rugged terrain of northern Kenya, virtually isolated from civilization, lives one of the last surviving warrior peoples of Africa, the Samburu. Renowned for their exceptional physical beauty and grace as well as for their independence and pride, the seminomadic Samburu live as they have for centuries, herding cattle and maintaining an intricate social system shaped over time by strongly held beliefs, intertribal rivalry, and the never-ending search for pastures and water.
Thomasin Magor, who lived among the Samburu for six years and built up a strong bond of trust with them, has created one of the most intimate portraits of an African people ever attempted. In recognition of her independence - her Samburu name is Sala, meaning "she who walks alone" - she gained the acceptance of the men and took part in councils and ceremonies that would normally be barred to a woman; and by reason of her gender she was permitted by the women to witness a number of important rites at which men are not allowed. Her book is, remarkable not only for its evocative images of the lives of Imurran (the warrior herdsmen), women, children, and elders - and their rituals, hairstyles, body-painting, dances, and feast days - but also for its cohesive picture of a culture.
At the heart of the book is an extraordinary sequence of photographs of the most important of all Samburu rituals - E-muratare, or days of circumcision. At this ceremony, which takes place approximately once every fourteen years, the new generation of Imurran is initiated into warriorhood as the former warriors move on to junior elderhood and marriage. Thomasin Magor witnessed the 1990 circumcision ceremonies and the changeover and renewal of roles at all levels of Samburu society. In her telling photographs we see boys becoming warriors, warriors becoming elders, girls becoming wives, and mothers lamenting the passing of their sons' time of warriorhood.
With more than 200 color photographs and a direct, informative text, African Warriors is an eloquent tribute to a proud people, and an unprecedented insight into a unique way of life.
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An intimate, sometimes striking photo-essay detailing the folkways of the Samburu, a warrior-based society of northern Kenya. Magor, a Kenyan-born model who studied design in England, lived among the Samburu for six years, recording the daily rhythms and significant ceremonies of this traditional culture, whose members depend on herds of cattle, goats, and camels for their survival. Living in semi-arid scrublands, the Samburu follow rigidly circumscribed patterns that dictate age- and gender-based divisions of labor, family and social organization, and the timing and enactment of rites of passage. The book's principle focus is on lmurran, the young warriors whose duties are to guard the community and its herds. Flamboyantly attired in ivory earrings, colored beads, bracelets, and feathers, their faces and upper bodies smeared with red ocher, they are photographed leaning upon their spears, chanting and leaping during a warrior's dance, and slitting a cow's vein for blood (which, along with milk and meat, forms the diet of the Samburu). Having gained the trust of her subjects, Magor photographed the circumcision rights performed on teenage boys, as well as the preparations for and aftermath of female circumcision performed on young girls before marriage. These pictures and their accompanying captions may be jarring to Western sensibilities, but Magor's writing is dispassionate and informative. Her camera also chronicles wedding ceremonies; rituals denoting the passage from warrior status to elder status (at which time a man can marry and take part in council meetings); and, poignantly, a private ceremony performed on a riverbank by a mother whose son is ready to move from her home. Also photographed or described are the more prosaic features of Samburu life: care of livestock, the hierarchial arrangement of huts in the villages based on the status of the elders, and the harsh but beautiful Kenyan landscape. With over 200 color photos, this is a well-documented record of one of the last remaining societies of its kind. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
If Magor's book is any indication, the fawningly romantic view of the pastoralists of East Africa promulgated since the 19th century is still alive and well. In one caption to a photo of a slumbering herdsman, we are told how much grace and poise the Samuru have even while asleep. It is indeed fortunate, however, that the 200-plus excellent color photos coupled with the ethnographically detailed text manage to make this book a useful resource on the Samburu people of northern Kenya. Less well known than the Masai (who live further south), with whom they share many social and material cultural features-especially the importance of a military-based age grade system and the aesthetic emphasis given to the body arts-the Samburu are nonetheless a distinct culture that Magor documents in word and image. Well recommended for public and academic libraries with an interest in Africa.
Eugene C. Burt, Art Inst. of Seattle Lib.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descripción Harry N Abrams, 1994. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110810919435
Descripción Harry N Abrams, 1994. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Brand New!. Nº de ref. de la librería VIB0810919435
Descripción Harry N Abrams Inc, 1994. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0810919435
Descripción Harry N Abrams, 1994. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. First. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0810919435