Friday, October 12, 2018

THE ART OF AFRICAN BLACKSMITHING AT UCLA'S FOWLER MUSEUM

The "Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths" exhibit installation at UCLA's Fowler Museum.
(JOSHUA WHITE/JWPICTURES.COM)


Here's how this week's arts and culture piece begins:

I can’t say enough for the Fowler Museum at UCLA. It’s set into a little dell beneath Royce Hall, so en route you get to see the sweep of the campus and let your heart be lifted by the old-growth trees, green lawns, and the dear young students making their way in the world.

It’s free.

It’s the perfect size. You can tour the whole thing in an hour and a half.

It has a great gift shop, especially if you like batik throws, corn husk dolls, and change purses made of soda can pop-tops.

There’s always at least one exhibit about a facet of global anthropology, history, geography, or culture you never even knew existed and turns out that you’re dying to learn more about.

Through Dec. 30, 2018, for example, you can catch “Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths.”

Most scholars believe that sub-Saharan Africans began smelting iron around 2,500 years ago. The artifacts on display range in date from the 17th century to the present.

There are agricultural tools: hoes, sickles, axes, and adzes.

There are blades in the form of spears, axes, knives, and swords that were used both in battle and as insignia of property, prestige, and political power. There are bracelets, neck torques, earrings, hair ornaments, and small-scale iron blades used in bodily scarification by certain sub-Saharan Africans to indicate status, identity, and life transitions.

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

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