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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Ambohimanga: State formation and the symbolic organization of space
Author:Kus, Susan
Year:1989
Periodical:Omaly sy anio: revue d'études historiques (ISSN 0255-0385)
Issue:29-32
Pages:43-54
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs., ills.
Geographic terms:Madagascar
Indian Ocean islands
Subjects:legitimacy
Merina polity
physical planning
Anthropology, Folklore, Culture
Ambohimanga (Madagascar)
history
anthropology
External link:http://madarevues.recherches.gov.mg/IMG/pdf/omaly29-32_5_-2.pdf
Abstract:The symbolic organization of the architecture of monuments and public spaces has an ideological function: to legitimate authority. In this way Andrianampoinimerina, who laid the foundations of the Merina State between 1775 and 1810, rebuilt the gates of Ambohimanga to symbolize the unification of this State. However, a close reading of the passages of the 'Tantara ny Andriana eto Madagasikara' (1908), a history of the kings of Madagascar, which contain a description of the rebuilding of Ambohimanga, reveals the complexity of the symbolic field created at this 'sacred' town. Most intriguing is the fact that the 'Tantara' presents two successive and different accounts of the spatial layout of the gates of Ambohimanga. The dual mapping of Ambohimanga finds an echo in the confounding of the Merina capitals of Ambohimanga and Antananarivo in the 'Tantara'. The duality in the organization of space expressed in both cases articulates two major symbolic images in which the central State is constituted as the necessary, legitimate and active force in the preservation of cosmological harmony and the creation of sociopolitical order. Notes, ref., sum. in French and Malagasy.
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