a booklist  of recommendations, starting with my book:

Transformations! The Story Behind the Painted Faces

© 2006  Christopher Agostino; Published by Kryolan GmbH, Berlin

Over 570 color photographs, plus original illustrations, index and bibliography

Redefining face painting as the modern expression of a profound and ancient art.

Please go to to learn about my book and see sample pages and photographs


Book List

Divided by categories: Anthropology – Bodyarts and Masks;    Anthropology – General;     Contemporary Face and Body Painting;     Folktales and Storytelling

BOLD titles indicates those I find most valuable.


Anthropology – Bodyarts and Masks

Beckwith, Carol and Angela Fisher. African Ceremonies: The Concise Edition. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002.

Beckwith, Carol and Angela Fisher. Faces of Africa: Thirty Years of Photography. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2004.

Cordy, Donald Bush. Mexican Masks. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980.

Delio, Michelle. Tattoo: The Exotic Art of Skin Decoration. New York: St. Martin Press, 1993.

Faris, James C. Nuba Personal Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972.

Gröning, Karl. Body Decoration: A World Survey of Body Art. New York: Vendome Press, 1998.

Gudnason, Jessica Tan. Chinese Opera. New York: Abbeville Press, 2001.

Gurney, George and Therese Thau Heyman, eds. George Catlin and His Indian Gallery. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2002.

Kirk, Malcolm with essay by Andrew Strathern. Man As Art: New Guinea. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1993.

Lechuga, Ruth D. and Chloë Sayer. Mask Arts of Mexico. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1994.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. The Way of the Masks. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1982.

Macnair, Peter L., Robert Joseph and Bruce Grenville. Down From the Shimmering Sky. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998.

Malin, Edward. A World of Faces: Masks of the Northwest Coast Indians. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 1978.

Morita, Toshiro. Kumadori. Tokyo: JICC Co., 1985.

Nicholas, Anne. The Art of the New Zealand Tattoo. New York: Citadel Press, 1994.

Nunley, John W. and Cara McCarty. Masks: Faces of Culture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999.

Riefenstahl, Leni. The People of Kau. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1977.

Robley, H.G. Maori Tattooing. New York: Dover Publications, 2003. (originally published in 1896, Chapman and Hall).

Shankar, Ravi. Kerala. New Delhi: Roli Books, 2001.

Thévoz, Michel. The Painted Body. Geneva: Editions d’Art Albert Skira, 1984.

Wang-Ngai, Siu with Peter Lovrick. Chinese Opera: Images and Stories. Vancover: UBC Press, 1997.

Willet, Frank. African Art: An Introduction, revised edition. New York: Thames & Hudson, 1993.

Wolfe, Art. Tribes. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1997.


Anthropology – General

Boas, Franz. Primitive Art. New York: Dover Publications, 1955. (originally published in 1927, H. Aschelong and Co.).

Bodmer, Karl and Maximilian Prinz zu Wied. The American Indian. Cologne: Taschen, 2005. (reprinted from journals of 1839-1841).

Burenhult, Göran, ed. Traditional People Today: The Illustrated History of Humanity, vol. 5. McMahons Point, Australia: Weldon Owen Pty., 1994.

Leiter, Samuel, ed. Japanese Theater in the World. New York: The Japan Society, 1997.

Lewis-Williams, David. The Mind in the Cave. London: Thames & Hudson, 2002.

Lommel, Andreas. Prehistoric and Primitive Man. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966.

Spivey, Nigel. How Art Made the World: A Journey to the Origins of Human Creativity. New York: Basic Books, 2005.

Wiseman, Boris and Judy Groves. Introducing Lévi-Strauss. New York: Totem Books, 1998.


Folktales & Storytelling

Chang, Isabelle C. Chinese Fairy Tales. New York: Schocken Books, 1968.

Chuang-Tsu, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English. Inner Chapters. New York: Vintage Books, 1974.

Erdoes, Richard and Alfonso Ortiz, eds. American Indian Myths and Legends. New York: Pantheon Books, 1984.

Galeano, Eduardo. Memory of Fire. New York: Pantheon Books, 1985.

Tyler, Royall, ed. Japanese Tales. New York: Pantheon Books, 1987.


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