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Des pierres pour travailler le fer : les outils lithiques des forgerons bassar du Nord-Togo. II. La recherche des pierres : techniques, rites et représentations symboliques

  • Dugast, Stéphan
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
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Although Bassar smiths live in the heart of a region renowned for the high volume of its iron production-amongst the most important ones in the continent-before colonial times, and can thus abundantly use from this material, they opted for an equipment mostly made of stone. The acquisition process of these tools, taken from nature and hardly transformed, notably questions how their transfer from the bush's wild space to the humanized one of the workshop takes place. Closely following the smiths in their enterprise and sharing their considerations, the author enables the discovering of a part of the bush's world and of its living entities. Given that, according to the ethics of the smiths, the workshop constitutes a strongly humanized place, it is consequently exclusively dedicated to technical gestures. These ones are considered as incompatible with the supernatural forces which prevail in the world of the bush. The article highlights the sophistication of the ritual processes required to accomplish this transfer from one space to another.

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