A Study Into The History Of African Art

Africa is a land rich is culture and traditions which are depicted in their art work. Their strong religious beliefs and cultural ideas are represented by their choice of art work. These art works have been used in both religious and traditional ceremonies since time immemorial.

Some of the oldest art forms of the African culture are the terracotta statuettes which were found in Central Nigeria among the Nok at around 500 B.C. Most of these African art works were crafted from 14th to 17th century.

They are sculptures in the shapes of human figures and heads and are made out of clay. There are rock carvings and painting in Namibia which are as old as 27,000 years.

These art works were used as a form of dialogue, personal therapy and as a way of communicating with the gods and ancestors. There are some very old artifacts in Egyptian monuments and tombs.

They symbolize the Egyptians culture that is known to give life to mythical gods and goddesses. African art have always illustrated the vibrant African civilizations and customs. Most of these art works were made with wood which was then decorated with bird feathers, metal, beads, ivory, shells and clay.

Most of these ancient African arts can be found in museums in several parts of the world. They were used to depict both positive and negative aspects of human behavior.  Western and Central Africa are considered to have the richest indigenous arts in the whole of Africa.

On the other hand Guinea coast and Sudan are popular for wood carvings. Cameroon is on its part popular for expressive woodcarvings. All other African countries have particular art works identified with them.

Most African cultures decorate their art works with textiles, tools and jewelry. The ancient African art has a great influence on most western artists. They have been a source of inspiration to these artists. They have also grown to appreciate the aesthetic intrinsic value of African art.


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