Internationally, very little is known about the context of jewelry-making in South Africa and the history on which the practice of jewelry artists in South Africa is predicated. Since so much of South Africa’s gold was exported, there is relevance for the rest of the world. The archeology department of Pretoria University, in South Africa, published a book called “Mapungubwe Remembered” in 2011. This article is drawn from that publication, which came about to honor a fine-gold precolonial (900–1300 AD) rhinoceros sculpture that was found in 1932 in South Africa at a place called Mapungubwe. The piece had been kept hidden on the Pretoria University campus until the end of apartheid, in 1994. The rhinoceros had been fabricated by indigenous goldsmiths centuries prior to white settlement in South Africa. This information would have conflicted with the racist politics in South Africa at the time, and also with the supposed colonial origins of gold mining, assumed to be a skill brought to South Africa from Europe.
Mapungubwe Re-Mined: Creations of Contemporary Jewellery Design
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Title: Mapungubwe Re-Mined: Creations of Contemporary Jewellery Design
Author(s): Beverley Price
Topic: art history, goldsmithing
Publication Year: 2009
Institution: Pretoria University
Discipline: anthropology, archaeology, goldsmithing
Relevant Country(s): South Africa