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Religion and TradeCross-Cultural Exchanges in World History, 1000-1900$
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Francesca Trivellato, Leor Halevi, and Catia Antunes

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199379187

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199379187.001.0001

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African Meanings and European-African Discourse

African Meanings and European-African Discourse

Iconography and Semantics in Seventeenth-Century Salt Cellars from Serra Leoa

Chapter:
(p.236) 10 African Meanings and European-African Discourse
Source:
Religion and Trade
Author(s):

Peter Mark

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199379187.003.0010

Ivory vessels or “salt cellars” carved in West Africa during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries reflect communication and commerce between Europeans and Africans. Religious symbolism figures prominently, depicting concepts associated with both Christianity and local Guinea Coast religion. Furthermore, these ivories, produced for export, are also thematically focused on commerce, often in a self-referential manner. In addition to offering a contextualized iconographic interpretation of the ivories from “Serra Leoa,” this chapter articulates a semantic—or at least a syntactical—structure that connects the entire range of visual images and metaphors.

Keywords:   salt cellars, ivory, commerce, Serra Leoa, West Africa, sixteenth century, seventeenth century

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