Working with Clay
Prototypical distinctions between men’s and women’s activities and social domains emerge boldly through African art. This situation, however, is not peculiar to African societies. The history of women in Western art from the 15th century to the present demonstrates a close relationship between the social status of women and their public exclusion from the mainstream of art production (Tuchman, 1975:171–202). At the beginning of the Renaissance, women were not considered capable of any significant contribution to the arts, except, perhaps, to the needle arts, and they were excluded from craft associations (Wilkins, 1975:107–115). By linking cultural perceptions to the process of art production, it is possible to examine the origins of expressive culture and its relationship to particular social groups. We can see how the sign value of the art object is transformed when it is exchanged between one subgroup of producers and a broader consumer audience.
KeywordsMigrant Woman Cottage Industry Village Life Petty Trading Beer Brewing
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