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Of Life and Health: The Language of Art and Religion in an African Medical System

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Of Life and Health

The Language of Art and Religion in an African Medical System

Alexis Bekyane Tengan

252 pages, 18 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-101-7 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Not Yet Published (December 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78920-102-4 eBook Not Yet Published

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“A wonderful book that will prove to be highly significant.” • Roland Littlewood, University College London


An anthropological study of the health system of the Dagara people of northern Ghana and southern Burkina Faso, Of Life and Health develops a cultural and epistemological lexicon of Dagara life by examining its religious, ritual, and artistic expressions. Consisting of ethnographic descriptions and analysis of six Dagara cultic institutions, each of which deals with different aspects of sustaining and transmitting life, the volume gives a holistic account of the Dagara knowledge system.

Alexis Bekyane Tengan is an independent scholar in social and cultural anthropology resident in Belgium. He has taught for many years both in Belgium and in his native Ghana, and he now curates a private museum of sacred art and objects with studios in both countries. His publications include the Mythical Narratives in Ritual: Dagara Black Bagr (2006) and The Art of Mythical Composition and Narration: Dagara White Bagr (2012).

Subject: General Anthropology Religion
Area: Africa



Chapter 1. Scientific Language, Knowledge Frames and Ways of Reasoning
Chapter 2. Life Animation and Transmission: The Language of the Ancestors
Chapter 3. Life Resources, Sustenance, and Growth: The Language of the Spirit and Life Force of Nature (kͻntͻnmε)
Chapter 4. Health Delivery and Healing Processes: The White Bagr Healing Cult and the Food Domain
Chpater 5. Health Delivery and Healing Processes: The Black Bagr Healing Cult and the Domain of the Inedible and Undomesticated
Chapter 6. Language and Cultural Ideation on Healing: The Healer and the Healing Cult (Tibr)
Chapter 7. The Healer, The Healing Cult and The Patient Observed

Conclusion: Nature and the Cosmic Life in Elements: (Animated Beings, Objects and Things)


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