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Conquest and Construction: Palace Architecture in Northern by Mark Delancey

By Mark Delancey

In Conquest and Construction Mark Dike DeLancey investigates the palace structure of northern Cameroon, a sector that was once conquered within the early 19th century via essentially semi-nomadic, pastoralist, Muslim, Ful e forces and included because the biggest emirate of the Sokoto Caliphate. Palace structure is taken into account at the beginning as political in nature, and for this reason as responding not just to the wishes and expectancies of the conquerors, but additionally to these of the mostly sedentary, agricultural, non-Muslim conquered peoples who constituted the bulk inhabitants. within the means of reconciling the cultures of those quite a few elements, new architectural varieties and native identities have been constructed."

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14 This assertion is problematic on several accounts. First, as noted above, most West African cultures seem to have indeed distinguished very clearly between the human and the natural environments prior to any contact with Islam, although this is difficult to clearly establish considering the long-term presence of this religion. Second, Prussin’s assertion is problematic because Islam requires no intermediary between the individual and God, here taken as the representation of the natural environment.

Architectural Form 31 constructed such thatched roofs contradicted me, stating that it is actually the less aesthetically pleasing roof which is most effective in resisting the rain. Thus, functionality seems to play no part in the choice of the “aesthetically” pleasing roof. The choice seems rather to be a function of what pleases the eye, and the prestige which accrues from conspicuous consumption necessary to achieve such aesthetics. Different regions produce different types of grass, the type of grass being but one factor in the roof’s aesthetic.

This method has the disadvantage of being less durable, as the head is thinner and tends to break easily, thus creating holes 29 Architectural Form Figure 7 Internal supporting framework for the roof of the palace entrance. Ngangha, Cameroon PHOTO 2000 Figure 8 Thatching a roof by the cut ends of the grass. Idool, Cameroon PHOTO 2000 30 chapter 1 Figure 9 Jawleeru Njakmuukon thatched by the tufted ends of the grass. Ngaoundéré, Cameroon PHOTO 1999 in one’s roof through which the rain may enter.

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