Tropes, Materiality, and Ritual Embodiment of African Iron Smelting Furnaces as Human Figures

  title={Tropes, Materiality, and Ritual Embodiment of African Iron Smelting Furnaces as Human Figures},
  author={Peter R. Schmidt},
  journal={Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory},
  • P. Schmidt
  • Published 2009
  • Art
  • Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
The largest baked clay figure in Africa is an iron smelting furnace. Clay breasts, vaginal openings, testicle-like bellows, and penis-like blow pipes are part of a culturally constructed reproductive system using the female body and parts of the male anatomy. Ritual embodiments using potent tropes, body gestures, and sounds transform furnaces into human bodies. Anthropological representations have long examined only female fecundity and misrepresented reproductive processes such as menses… Expand
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