Cover image for The Continuum encyclopedia of native art : worldview, symbolism, and culture in Africa, Oceania, and Native North America
The Continuum encyclopedia of native art : worldview, symbolism, and culture in Africa, Oceania, and Native North America
Werness, Hope B.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York ; London : Continuum, 2003.

Physical Description:
ix, 360 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published: 2000.
Added Title:
Encyclopedia of native art.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E98.A7 W48 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This major reference work provides pertinent information on the art of Africa, Oceania, and native North America. Many reference works treat symbolism and iconography in Western art and culture yet, until now, little attention has been paid to these rich artistic traditions in native art. Entries on each geographical area discuss the art of the region and, through cross-references, lead the reader to additional geographical subdivisions and individual cultures. The major art forms for each culture - including worldview, religion, and society - are treated in detail.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Werness's important work examines the meaning and significance of symbolism in the art of indigenous cultures of Africa, Oceania, and North America. Native art images are imbued with universal meaning within each culture's context--tightly woven into the psychological fibers of the culture itself. Examining this meaning is the essential purpose of Werness's work. Although attempting to cover three continents is overly ambitious in such a modest volume, it takes an important step toward using contemporary insight to understand native imagery. A proper topical index would have served readers better than the so-called index, which is simply a thesaurus structured around eight broad subject categories. The author intended to provide a "thematic way of approaching the text," but most readers will not use it. More useful are numerous cross-references that point to related terminology and entries. Packed with cultural content and context, the 874 entries are complemented by 550 detailed line drawings, which are essential to the nature of the text. Recommended for academic reference collections supporting anthropology and art history. L. F. Lister; Colorado College