The Masons of Djenne

The Masons of Djenne

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The town of Djenne on the Bani River in Mali has been a thriving settlement for more than two millennia. Renowned for its mud-brick architecture, monumental mosque, and merchant-traders' houses, Djenne remains one of Africa's most distinctive cities. Trevor Marchand signs on as a builder's apprentice and takes readers on his journey from raw labourer to skilled craftsman. He explores the professional associations of masons, their social networks, training regimes, and changing fortunes. With his fellow builders, he produces mud bricks and plasters, constructs walls and ceilings, and sculpts rooftop crenellations using specialized tools. Marchand describes the raising of a mud-brick house and explores the technical, social, and magical processes involved in making buildings and renewing the unique urban environment of more

Product details

  • Hardback | 376 pages
  • 160.02 x 241.3 x 25.4mm | 748.42g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 60 b&w photos, 13 figures, 2 maps
  • 0253313686
  • 9780253313683

Review quote

"Offers a compelling narrative which leads the reader - following the author's experiences - through all stages of construction, and it provides rich and comprehensive portraits of the masons who execute the building process and who are the producers and keepers of Djenne's unique architectural style." Geert Mommersteeg, University of Utrecht "An elegantly written and important anthropological study of indigenous knowledge, building practices, and social relationships among contemporary Djenne masons in Mali." Mary Jo Arnoldi, Smithsonian Institutionshow more

About Trevor Marchand

Trevor H. J. Marchand is Professor of Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is author of Minaret Building and Apprenticeship in more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments; A Note on LanguageIntroduction: The Field and the WorkPart 1. Elementary Lessons in the Art of Building1. Back to Work; 2. Staking a Claim; 3. Magic and Mortar; 4. Conflict and ResolutionPart 2. Portraits of Life and Work in Djenne5. Master and Apprentice; 6. The Michelangelo of Djenne; 7. Vulnerable Craftsmen; 8. Cat Heads and Mud Miters; 9. Yappi's Confession; 10. Finishing OffEpilogue: Continuity and ChangeGlossary; Notes; Bibliography; Indexshow more

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