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Displaying traditional Yoruba religious objects in museums: the Western re-making of a cultural heritage

Catalani, Anna 2007, 'Displaying traditional Yoruba religious objects in museums: the Western re-making of a cultural heritage' , Library Trends, 56 (1) , pp. 66-79.

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Abstract

This paper, based on doctoral research carried out from January 2003 through July 2005, addresses the interpretation and representation of non-Western religious material culture in Western museums and offers a comprehensive view of the way traditional religious Yorùbá objects are displayed in contemporary museums in Britain. Museum exhibitions can be conceived as a visual narrative, which absorbs the religious essence of traditional religious non-Western objects into broad categories. At the same time, these categories are still strongly affected by Western aesthetic appreciation, understanding, and classificatory systems. In museum displays, traditional Yorùbá religious material culture loses its distinctiveness and is absorbed into global pan-African representations. Therefore, in order to be able to reach more informed or "authentic" interpretations, museums should include the memories and voices of the people who are "closer" to the original meanings of traditional religious objects.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences
Subjects / Themes > N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Journal or Publication Title: Library Trends
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0024-2594
Depositing User: Dr Anna Catalani
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2011 11:29
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 16:45
URI: http://usir.eprints.org/id/eprint/12731

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