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Book Recommendation: The Decorative Arts of Africa

The Decorative Arts of Africa by Louise E. Jefferson [1973] is an amazing compilation of her notes, photographs, drawings and paintings.  I was looking for pattern-based designs and found this neat old book in the library.  The author worked to be as comprehensive as she could covering  clothing, hairstyles, body decoration, metal work, weaving, pottery, basketry and home architecture styles and home decoration from as much of Africa as she was able to.  The book states her biography simply:

Louise E. Jefferson lives in Litchfield, Connecticut and is an artist, photographer, and cartographer whose work has appeared in many books and periodicals.  This book is the result of more than ten years of research and extensive travel in Africa.

The book combines art, art history and geography.  It is largely a visual catalog of different forms of creative expression.  I wonder if being an artist and being able to draw at such a high level of ability helped her on her travels by not having to rely entirely on a camera and possibly by being more personal and intimate with local people through her art rather than coming at them with a camera like a tourist.  If you are interested in the art and culture of Africa, find a copy of this book.

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