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Our Library
These are some of our favourite books. Send us your suggestions.
Books about Africa:
Textiles & fabrics Design & Decorating Beads & jewellery Culture & Traditions
History & anthropology General Africa Biography & travel Music & dance
 
  Books about Africa
 Textiles & fabrics
 African Majesty African Majesty : The Textile Art of the Asante and the Ewe
by Peter Adler.
An illustrated history of strip weaving by the Asante in Ghana and the Ewe who live in both Ghana and Togo. The individually patterned strips are sewn together to make kente cloth which has been known by European explorers since 15th century. Well illustrated with wonderful photographs and explanations of designs.
 
 Printed and Dyed Textiles from Africa Printed and Dyed Textiles from Africa (Fabric Folios)
John Gillow
A beautifully illustrated book documenting the various methods of fabric dying in West Africa including mudcloth from Mali, adinkra from Ghana, adire from Yorubaland in Nigeria, ikats from Madagascar, indigo-resist dying and more. Useful both as a design reference and to learn about the traditional techniques.
 
 The Art of African Textiles The Art of African Textiles
Duncan Clark
Describing both the materials and techniques, this book describes how many different kinds of African cloth are made including Kente cloth from Ghana, Bogolan (mud cloth) from Mali, Raffia cloth from Congo, Aso Oke from Yorubanland in Nigeria and wax printed cloths. Descriptions and photographs show the skill and workmanship required to produce these cloths.
 
 African Textiles African Textiles
John Gillow
John Gillow travelled extensively throughout Africa and uncovered a dazzling array of textiles from tapestries, rugs, garments, and more. Tecniques and regions are covred in detail from strip weaving in Ghana to Ethiopian embroidery and Berber rugs - this is an authoritative work.
 
 The Art of African Textiles The Art of African Textiles
John Picton
A round up of different techniques, traditions and materials used to make textiles around the continent.
 
 Bogolan: Shaping Culture through Cloth in Contemporary Mali Bogolan: Shaping Culture through Cloth in Contemporary Mali
Victoria L. Rovine
Lavishly illustrated this book explores the revival of bogolan, bogolanfini or mudcloth as it is known and how artisans are developing new products using the traditional techniques. You can buy mudcloth shawls in the Wear section of eShopAfrica.
 
 Silk in Africa Silk in Africa
Chris Spring, Julie Hudson
From the authoritative British Museum, the latest book in the Fabric Folios series explores the diverse and little known world of African silk. With illustrations from the British Museum collections the book explores the places where silk is valued in Africa and explanations of the way designs and ideas have travelled throughout the continent.
 
 Design & decorating
 African Style: Down to the Details African Style: Down to the Details
Sharne Algotson, photographs by George Ross
An inspired collection of design ideas that use textiles, colours and materials from African cultures. Full of practical as well as design advice this book will help you create a truly African style for your home.
 
 The Spirit of African Design The Spirit of African Design
Sharne Algotson
How to use African designs and motifs in a contemporary way to decorate your home.
 
 African Accents African Accents
Lisa Shepard
Things to make using African crafts - illustrated with photographs and easy to follow diagrams for things to make both for home, school and office.
 
 Beads & jewellery
 The History of Beads The History of Beads
Lois Sherr Dubin
The authoritative work on beads all around the world form 30,000 BC to the present. Sections both on African beads and beads traded with Africa and including a timeline of all beads showing the evolution of beads in Africa.
 
 Beads Beads: an exploration of Bead Traditions Around the World
Janet Coles
The definitive book on the history of beads and bead-making techniques--with more than 350 full-color photos and step-by-step instructions for creating 30 beautiful, authentic beaded objects from a variety of world cultures.
 
 Collectible Beads Collectible Beads
Robert K Liu
Covering beads from many parts of the world with a section on African beads and beads traded with Africa.
 
 Beads of the World Beads of the World
Peter Francis Jr
By the recently deceased world renowned expert on beads, this book covers both technique and design of beads around the world including in Africa and for Africa.
 
 Glass Beads from Europe: With Value Guide Glass Beads from Europe: With Value Guide
Sibylle Jargstorf
Although documenting the European glass bead industry, this book shows the design and economic links with Africa as well as the roots of the European glass industry in African beadmaking.
 
 Beads and Beadwork of West and Central Africa Beads and Beadwork of West and Central Africa
Margret Carey
The historical background, design and technique of bead work in West and Central Africa.
 
 Millefiori Beads from the West African Trade (Beads from the West African Trade, Vol VI) Millefiori Beads from the West African Trade (Beads from the West African Trade, Vol VI)
John Picard, Ruth Picard
This book offers a comprehrensive insight in the colourful world of the many types beads used in the trade with West Africa. With about 3000 diffrent colour combinations of glass beads.
 
 Chevron and Nueva Cadiz Beads (Beads from the West African Trade, Volume VII) Chevron and Nueva Cadiz Beads (Beads from the West African Trade, Volume VII)
John Picard, Ruth Picard
The best reference work on chevrons and nueva cadiz beads that exists. Amply illustrated and packed with information.
 
 Russian Blues: Faceted and Fancy Beads for the West African Trade Russian Blues: Faceted and Fancy Beads for the West African Trade
John Picard, Ruth Picard
Again, the best reference available on Russian blues and other faceted trade beads.
 
 Culture & traditions
 Going into Darkness: Fantastic Coffins from Africa Going into Darkness: Fantastic Coffins from Africa
Thierry Secretan
The definitive work about the Ga coffin makers of Teshie, Accra. As well as documenting the intricacies of the funeral ceremony there is a wide selection of coffin types showing the skill and wit of the carpenters. These products are available in the Decorated Chest section of our shop.
 
 Africa Adorned Africa Adorned
Angela Fisher
A glorious look at how Africans all over the continent use adornment to express their creativity and individuality. A wealth of detailed knowledge as to the meanings of the designs and styles and the way they are used.
 
 African Ceremonies African Ceremonies
Carol Beckwith, Angela Fisher
Spectacular photographer document the importance of ceremonies some 1300 cultures that make up the African continent. The diversity and scope of the ceremonies covered and the skills use document the true creativity of the African peoples.
 
 Passages Passages
Carol Beckwith, Angela Fisher
Another picture book by the veteran photographers this time concentating on the rites of passage from Ethiopia to the Tuareg - an illustrated look at how children pass through to adulthood.
 
 Baule - African Art, Western Eyes Baule - African Art, Western Eyes
Susan Mullin Vogel
The Baule are a major culture group in central Cote d'Ivoire whose art has interested Westerners since the beginning of this century. Vogel, a leading authority on African art, has spent several decades researching Baule art and aesthetics, as well as studying the nature of Western appreciation of their art.
 
 Masks of Black Africa Masks of Black Africa
Ladislas Segy
Illustrations of the masks used by different African tribes with maps and texts.
 
 African Masks: The Barbier-Mueller Collection African Masks: The Barbier-Mueller Collection
Iris Hahner-Herzog
High quality photographs of masks both alone and being worn. Grouped by region and style interprets the maaks and their meanings.
 
 The Tribal Arts of Africa The Tribal Arts of Africa
Jean-Baptiste Bacquart
Dramatic color photographs with small black-and-white photographs and text about the art, the tribes and the traditions. Written by the former head of the tribal arts department at Sotheby's, the book is an excellent introduction to African art created before 1920.
 
 A History of Art in Africa A History of Art in Africa
Monica Blackmun Visona
A groundbreaking work, this is the first book to cover the arts of the entire continent of Africa, including Egypt, and to survey the art history, rather than the cultural traditions, of African peoples.
 
 The Royal Arts of Africa: The Majesty of Form The Royal Arts of Africa: The Majesty of Form
Suzanne Preston Blier, Susanne P. Blier
Many traditional African cultures, especially in west and central Africa, were ruled by complex hierarchical kingdoms. This book documents those royal systems where art is used by rulers to send visual messages imbedded in their regalia and palace to their peoples.
 
 Art and Oracle African Art and Rituals of Divination Art and Oracle African Art and Rituals of Divination
Alisa Lagamma, Alisa La Gamma
In many of sub-Saharan Africa's cultures, divination rituals play an important part in life and affect the future. This book enables the reader to explore the complex relationship between artistic imagination and ritual power.
 
 African Forms: Art and Rituals African Forms: Art and Rituals
Laure Meyer
This book illuminates an aspect of African art that has largely been neglected by other books. African sculptures and art are difficult to decipher because they are more than tokens of "art for art's sake." African art is based on religious and philosophical values.
 
 Africa: Arts and Culture Africa: Arts and Culture
John Mack
Using selected objects from the British Museum, which holds the world's largest collection of African art, this volume offers an introduction to both traditional and contemporary works.
 
 African Forms: The Traditional Design and Function of Objects African Forms: The Traditional Design and Function of Objects
Marc Ginzberg, Jack Lenor Larsen
Wonderful photographs accompany explanatory text highlighting the use of objects in rituals and celebrations .
 
 Africa: The Art of a Continent Africa: The Art of a Continent
Tom Phillips
A general work on African art documenting art forms in different tribes, regions, countries and styles.
 
 The Power of Form The Power of Form
Eric Bassani, Ezio Bassani
The collection formed over the course of thirty years offers a view of the variety of solutions adopted by African artists over the centuries. The collection includes nearly 120 extraordinary sculptures, masks and objects from Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Gabon, Congo, Angola, Zambia, South and Eastern Africa including Kenya and Sudan.
 
 Art from Africa: Long Steps Never Broke a Back Art from Africa: Long Steps Never Broke a Back
Pamela McClusky, Robert Farris Thompson
This beautifully illustrated book draws on the personal memories, interviews, and oral narratives to present twelve "case histories" in the Seattle Art Museum's renowned collection of African art.
 
 African Art: An Introduction African Art: An Introduction
Frank Willett
A round up of arts across the continent.
 
 African Zion - the sacred art of Ethiopia African Zion - the sacred art of Ethiopia

A Yale University catalogue of some of the finest Ethiopian art documenting the existance of Christian beliefe in Africa in ancient times.
 
 History & anthropology
 West Africa before the Colonial Era: A History to 1850 West Africa before the Colonial Era: A History to 1850
Basil Davidson
The spectacular history of the great cultures of West Africa before the establishment of colonial rule.
 
 African Civilization Revisited: From Antiquity to Modern Times African Civilization Revisited: From Antiquity to Modern Times
Basil Davidson
Africa's story from the beginnings of history to modern time as told in the chroniclaes and records of chiefs, kings, travellers, poets and more. The extracts bring alive Africa's glorious history giving it the perspective of the people alive at the time.
 
 Africa in History Africa in History
Basil Davidson
For centuries it was thought that Africa's history started when the Europeans arrived. This book tells the true story of the civilisations that were around when the Sahara desert was still greeen, of Africa's great iron age, and about the ancient and powerful kingdoms that had existed and declined before the Europeans arrived. This book was a landmark in the restoration of African history.
 
 Lost Cities of Africa Lost Cities of Africa
Basil Davidson
Combining archeological evidence and scholarly research this book traces the exciting development of the rich kingdoms of the lost cities of Africa, fifteen hundred years before European ships first came to African shores.
 
 African Slave Trade: Revised and Expanded African Slave Trade: Revised and Expanded
Basil Davidson
A detailed look at how the slave trade developed and took hold of the continent.
 
 The African genius : an introduction to African cultural and social history The African genius : an introduction to African cultural and social history
Basil Davidson
Documenting the indigenous skills of Africa that reveal the very old and very sophisticated cultures that have existed in Africa since prehistory.
 
 The Black Man's Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State The Black Man's Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State
Basil Davidson
Although independence was supposed to mean liberation, in fact the newly created African countries became entrapped in nation states that had little or no meaning to the people. This meaningless nation states are a the root of much of today's suffering and poverty across the continent.
 
 Black Ivory - a history of British slavery Black Ivory - a history of British slavery
James Walvin
In three centuries more than 11 million Africans were transported as slaves to the Americas with untol millions dying in the process. Their work in the plantations of the Americas changed the Western world forever with its crops of tobacco, coffee, rum and sugar. It also left a scar across the face of Africa - this book documents Britain's role in the autrocities.
 
 White Nile White Nile
Alan Moorehead
The story for the search of the source of the White Nile by European explorers. Their dogged perserverence kept them going through many horrific encounters.
 
 Blue Nile Blue Nile
Alan Moorehead
The sister story to the White Nile telling how the source of the Blue Nile in the highlands of Ethiopia was found for the first time by European explorers.
 
 Scramble for Africa Scramble for Africa
Thomas Pakenham
A detailed narrative history of the European scramble for control of Africa that took place in the late 1800s. Vivid, colorful, and breathtaking it is the first full-scale history of the conquest of the continent.
 
 General Africa
 Africa: A Biography of the Continent Africa: A Biography of the Continent
John Reader
A panoramic overview of the continent from the dawns of prehistory to the present day. He documents how the continent has been shaped both by its cultures and environment which is like nowhere else on earth.
 
 Africa Africa
John Reader
Returning to his theme that we all belong to Africa John Reader divides the continent into geographical regions (savanna, deserts, mountains, etc) and documents how mankind originated.
 
 
 The Africans The Africans
David Lamb
A social, cultural and historical view of the issues facing Africa - the most diverse continent on earth. David Lamb, bureau chief for the LA Times travelled the continent meeting all kinds from the most powerful to the poorest.
 
 Africa in Chaos Africa in Chaos
George Ayittey
Ghanaian-born economics professor George B.N. Ayittey takes a hard, unsentimental look at the continuing economic, cultural, and political downfall of African countries.
 
 Biography & Travel
 Olaudah Equiano: The Interesting Narrative Olaudah Equiano: The Interesting Narrative
Olaudah Equiano
The word ¹narrative¹ is a bit of an understatement for what is a horrific catalogue of abuse starting with being abducted with his sister as a young child, suffering the horrors of being transported, being freed, being recaptured and other untold miseries. The bland way the Olaudah documents his abuses with no hint of bitterness makes their telling even more powerful.
 
 A Long Walk to Freedom A Long Walk to Freedom
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela documents his life fighting apartheid in the same quiet voice as Olaudah Equiano. His lack of resentment towards his oppressors and his caring attitude towards individuals - no matter who they are - is what makes him the special person he is.
 
 In Ethiopia with a Mule In Ethiopia with a Mule
Dervla Murphy
Inspired by ancient tales of Prester John and the Queen of Sheba Dervla Murphy set out to cross the Ethiopian highlands on a mule. Despite robbery, hardship and setbacks she reaches Addis Ababa having found a deep affection for the people of Ethiopia.
 
 Music and Dance
 Africa O-Ye! Africa O-Ye!
Graeme Ewens
Celebrating music from all over Africa including °The Rumba Region° (Congo), Highlife, the music of the Sahel and more. A comprehensive round up of African music and its history.
 
 title The Music of Africa
by J. H. Kwabena
 
 title The Garland Handbook of African Music
Ruth M. Stone
 
 title African Dance: An Artistic, Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
Kariamu Welsh-Asante
 
 
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