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Segy, L. (1953). Initiation Ceremony and African Sculptures. Am. Imago, 10(1):57-81.

(1953). American Imago, 10(1):57-81

Initiation Ceremony and African Sculptures

Ladislas Segy


Segy Gallery

“For when all is said and done our resemblance to the savage are still far more numerous than our differences … to our predecessors we are indebted for much of what we thought most our own.”

Sir James G. Frazer “The Golden Bough”

Fellow of Royal Anthropological Institute, London

Member: International African Institute, London

Royal African Society, London

Societe des Africanistes, Paris

Our purpose here is to analyse the significance of African initiation rituals, and point up meanings they may have for us. Our discussion of African sculpture shall be limited to its use in these rituals, and to make clear that the figures are regarded as useful tools rather than works of art. (Ref. 1)

In the Western sense, we shall also endeavor to show that the initiation ceremonies, as an institution, had great integrating powers. It was from the communal ideology, fostered by such institutions that the powerful African art emerged.


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