By Stephanie Wynne-Jones

A fabric Culture makes a speciality of gadgets in Swahili society in the course of the elaboration of an strategy that sees either humans and issues as stuck up in webs of mutual interplay. It hence offers either a brand new theoretical intervention in the various key topics in fabric tradition experiences, together with the company of gadgets and the methods they have been associated with social identities, in the course of the improvement of the idea of a biography of perform.

These theoretical discussions are explored in the course of the archaeology of the Swahili, at the Indian Ocean coast of jap Africa. This coast was once domestic to a chain of "stonetowns" (containing coral structure) from the 9th century advert onwards, of which Kilwa Kisiwani is the main well-known, thought of right here in nearby context. those stonetowns have been deeply enthusiastic about maritime exchange, conducted between a various, Islamic population.

This ebook means that the Swahili are a highly-significant case examine for exploration of the connection among items and folks long ago, because the society was once constituted and outlined via a selected fabric environment. extra, it is strongly recommended that this courting was once subtly various than in different parts, and especially from western versions that dominate winning research. The case is made for an alternate type of materiality, possibly universal to the broader Indian Ocean global, with an emphasis on redistribution and stream instead of at the accumulation of wealth. The reader will accordingly achieve familiarity with a little-known and engaging tradition, in addition to appreciating the ways in which non-western examples can upload to our theoretical models.

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Extra info for A material culture : consumption and materiality on the coast of precolonial east Africa

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1. Broad chronological outline Approx. time period Site type Artefact associations ad 600–950 Wattle-and-daub architecture ad 1000–1300 Coral and lime architecture for mosques and tombs. Some domestic structures of mud and coral ad 1300–1500 Large-scale construction in coral and lime, for domestic architecture also. Many new sites founded. ETT ceramics, iron slag, shell beads and bead grinders, glazed ceramics from Persian Gulf including Sirafi storage jars Regionalized Tana Tradition ceramics, terracotta spindle whorls, growth in imports including glass beads and sgraffiato glazed wares Regionalized Tana Tradition ceramics, glazed ceramics including black-on-yellow, Islamic monochrome, and Chinese celadon high densities of trade goods, but also of debris from the production of iron, shell beads, and products of ivory.

1) define and ­embody both contemporary Swahili society and the ways that the archaeology of that region is known. The series of large-scale projects that have explored their architecture and changing material culture provide the means through which the past is conceived, even though these stone towns were themselves a particular material expression of a broader eastern African society, linked through networks of trade and interaction from earliest times. Urban centres provided the setting for the practices and lifestyles that came to be construed as Swahili, and twenty-first-century stone towns such as Lamu, Mombasa, and Zanzibar are still the quintessential expression of coastal culture.

By the fourteenth OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 04/20/2016, SPi 16 A Material Culture century, the more monumental urban settings were extended full scale to include domestic architecture, and sites such as Gede, Kilwa, Shanga, Mtwapa, and Songo Mnara reflect a heavy investment in stone building for occupation as well as for mosques and tombs. This coincides with the golden age of Swahili trade, and with the import of trade goods from the Islamic world, and particularly the Red Sea region, supplemented by large quantities of imports from China and India.

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