African art - Ceremonial sculpture, masks, and crafts produced by African tribal cultures, as well as by the African cultures of colonial and post-colonial periods. Generally African art means sub-Saharan art, with the cultures of Africa's northern parts typically referred to as Egyptian and North African.

Making generalizations about the visual culture of any group of people is a crude endeavor, especially with a culture as diverse as Africa's. With this thought in mind, know that this survey, as any must be, is tremendously limited in its breadth and depth.

 


Examples of African art:

 

see thumbnail to leftIfe (Yoruba), Nigeria, Shrine Head, 12th century - 14th century, terra cotta, 12 x 5 3/4 x 7 inches, Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightMali, Bougouni or Dioila area, Bamana peoples, Mother and Child, 15th-20th century, wood, height 48 5/8 inches (123.5 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftNigeria, Edo peoples, Court of Benin, Pendant Mask: Iyoba, 16th century, ivory, iron, copper, height 9 3/8 inches (23.8 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See mask and pendant.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightNigeria, Edo peoples, Court of Benin, Head of an Oba, c. 1575-1650, bronze, 9 3/4 x 7 1/2 x 7 3/4 inches, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftMali, Dogon peoples, Seated Couple, 16th-19th century, wood, metal, height 28 3/4 inches (73 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

Zaïre, Kuba, Bushoong, Mask with Head Cloth, Ngady Mwaash, 19th century CE, wood, fiber, cowrie shells, cloth, beads, skin, pigment, 17 3/8 x 11 1/2 x 7 inches (44 x 29 x 18 cm), Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory U, Atlanta, GA. See mask.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightCameroon, Eastern Grassfields, Kingdom of Bamum, Helmet Mask, 19th century, wood, copper, glass beads, fiber, cowrie shells, height 26 inches (66 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftBuli Master (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luba, active c. 1850-1900), Caryatid Stool, 19th century, wood, metal studs, height 24 inches (61 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See caryatid.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightAngola, Chokwe peoples, Seated Chief, 19th century, wood, fiber, glass, beads, height 16 3/4 inches (42.5 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftGhana, Blanket, 19th century, cotton, wool, 51 inches x 10 feet (129.5 x 304.8 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See textile.

 

 

Sierra Leone, Mende, Sowo Mask, late 19th - early 20th centuries CE, wood, raffia, copper alloy, 25 x 7 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches (63.5 x 19 x 22 cm), Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory U, Atlanta, GA.

 

 

Nigeria, Yoruba, Ohori, Efe/Gelede Headdress, Apasa, late 19th - early 20th centuries CE, wood, pigment. 16 1/2 x 10 1/4 x 13 inches (42 x 26 x 33 cm), Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory U, Atlanta, GA.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightNigeria, Benin people, Ruler's Ancestor Altar, c. 1914. See altar.

 

 

Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Baule peoples, Diviner's Figure, 19th-20th century, wood, pigment, beads, iron, height 21 13/16 inches (55.4 cm) and 20 2/3 inches (52.5 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftCôte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Senufo peoples, Mask, 19th-20th century, wood, horn, fiber, cotton, feather, metal, sacrificial material, height of mask 14 1/8 inches (35.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See mask.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightDemocratic Republic of the Congo, Kongo peoples, Commemorative Male Figure, 19th-early 20th century, wood, glass, metal, kaolin, height 11 1/2 inches (29.2 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftGabon, Fang peoples, Reliquary Head (Nlo Bieri), 19th-20th century, wood, metal, oil, height 18 5/16 inches (46.5 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See reliquary.

 

 

Nigeria/Cameroon, Mambila, Painting, late 19th - early 20th centuries, pigment on raffia palm wood, 32 x 45 inches (81.3 x 114. 3 cm), Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory U, Atlanta, GA.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftNigeria, Lower Cross River, Ejagham peoples, Headdress, 19th-20th century, wood, leather, metal, bone, fiber, paint, height 10 31/32 inches (27.8 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See mask.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightDemocratic Republic of the Congo, Songye peoples, Power Figure, 19th-20th century, wood, copper, brass, iron, fiber, snakeskin, leather, fur, feathers, earth, resin, height 39 inches (99.1 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftBurkina Faso, Yatenga region, Mossi peoples, Mask with Female Figure (Karan-wemba), 19th-20th century, wood, metal, height 29 1/2 inches (74.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See mask.

 

 

Cameroon, Grassfields, Kom, Laikom, Beaded Bowl Figure, c. 1900, wood, beads, 28 x 14 x 12 inches (70.6 x 35.3 x 30.5 cm), Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory U, Atlanta, GA.

 

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightMali, Bamana, Male and Female Antelope Headdresses (Tji Wara), 20th century, wood, twine, and metal: male figure's height 33 1/4 inches (84.5 cm.); female figure's height 26 7/8 inches (68.3 cm.), North Carolina Art Museum, Raleigh.

 

 

Nigeria, Ibibio, Annang, Shrine Figure, "Mami Wata", 20th century, wood, kaolin, pigment, paint, 34 1/4 x 24 x 10 inches (87 x 61 x 25 cm), Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory U, Atlanta, GA.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftOlowe of Ise (Nigeria, Ekiti region, Yoruba, c. 1873-1938), Caryatid Post: Equestrian, before 1938, wood, pigment, height 71 inches (180.3 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See caryatid.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightIvory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire), Senufo People, Ceremonial Drum (Pinge), 1930-50, wood, hide, pigment, 48 3/8 x 19 3/8 inches (122.9 x 49.2 cm), Art Institute of Chicago.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftOgbomoso, Nigeria, Yoruba, Egungun Costume, c. 1930-60, cloth, wood, and buttons, height c. 60 inches (152.4 cm), North Carolina Art Museum, Raleigh. A view of the back.  See costume.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightZlan (Côte d'Ivoire, Dan peoples, -1960), Female Figure, before 1960, wood, fiber, pigment, cloth, metal, height 23 inches (58.4 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftSkunder (Alexander) Boghossian (Ethiopian, 1937-), Night Flight of Dread and Delight, 1964, oil on canvas with collage, 56 5/8 x 62 5/8 inches (143.8 x 159.1 cm), North Carolina Art Museum, Raleigh.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightWangechi Mutu (Kenyan, 1972-), Yo Mama, 2003, a diptych of cut-and-pasted printed paper, cut-and-pasted pressure-sensitive synthetic polymer sheet, synthetic polymer paint, and pencil with glitter on two sheets of painted paper, 59 1/8 x 85 inches (150.2 x 215.9 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.

 

 


Related Links:

 

 

 

Also see Afrocentrism, Egyptian art, ethnic, and mask.

 

 

 

 

ArtLex Art Dictionary

http://www.artlex.com
Copyright © 1996-current year