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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Created in Their Own Image: A Comment on Beta Israel Figurines
Authors:Kaplan, Steven
Rosen, C.
Year:1996
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines
Volume:36
Issue:141-142
Pages:171-182
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:Falasha
sculpture
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Architecture and the Arts
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://doi.org/10.3406/cea.1996.2006
Abstract:This article explores the social and political conditions underlying the evolution of a tradition of figurines and statuettes among the Beta Israel (Falasha) of Ethiopia. More specifically, the authors trace the emergence of the Beta Israel as a semicaste of despised craftsmen in medieval Ethiopia and analyse the development of their statuettes in the past three decades as a form of tourist art sold first in Ethiopia and later in other countries, especially the United States and Israel. The authors examine both the manner in which interventions by foreign individuals and local government institutions have shaped the production of these figurines, and the role this ethnic art plays in the projection of larger national images. They argue that these statuettes provide valuable insights concerning changing forms of 'Ethiopian Jewish' identity and relations with outsiders. In particular, emphasis is placed on the evolution of the statuettes from Jewish ethnic art in Ethiopia to Ethiopian ethnic art in Israel. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.
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