African Art Sept. 11-20


This unit covers the art of the vast continent and diverse cultures of Africa, from Egyp in the north, to Nigeria in the central regions and Zimbabwe in the south.

Click here for the PDF of the handout Common Characteristics of African Art

PowerPoint (PPT) presentations from class:

  1. African Art: South, East and North September 11

  2. African Art: West September 13

  3. African Art: Central September 18

  4. The Kingdom of Benin September 20

  5. Masked Performances September 20

  6. Ms. Rindsberg's Notes for Masked Performances

Click here to print out the slides from the presentations. Each is a PDF file formatted with six slides per page.

  1. PDF for African Art South, East and North PPT

  2. PDF for African Art West PPT

  3. PDF for African Art Central PPT

  4. PDF for The Kingdom of Benin PPT

  5. PDF for African Mask and Masquerades PPT

Required Readings:

  1. African Rock Art: Game Pass Homework! Read for September 11. San tribal trance rituals helped explain the ancient rock paintings in South Africa, some of the oldest paintings on earth.

  2. Great Zimbabwe Homework! Read for September 11. The Zimbabwe Kingdom on the east coast of Africa was a center for trade with India. The great stone walls of the city are a monument to their strength and power.

  3. Nok Terracottas Homework! Read for September 13. While not much is known of the Nok culture, their sculptures are powerful images of royalty.

  4. Art of the Asante Kingdon Homework! Read for September 13. The Akan Kindgom was part of the Gold Coast and is now the country of Ghana. From the 18th to the 19th century, their artists created stunning works of art for the court.

  5. Kingdoms of the Savanna: The Luba and Lunda Empires Homework! Read for September 18. The history and art of the Luba culture illustrates the importance of international influence on artists and artistic expressions.

  6. Benin Chronology Homework! Read for September 20. The essay and three artworks illustrate the development and evolution of the royal portraits of the Benin Empire.

  7. Idia: The First Queen Mother of Benin Homework! Read for September 20. Queen Idia helped her son conquer invaders and her wisdom and knowledge became the standard for future queens.

Additional Resources:

  1. African Christianity in Ethiopia From it's founding in the 4th century until the twentieth century, the Ethiopian Christian community has created beautiful works of devotional art. Check out the illustrations from the Four Gospels.

  2. Art and the Fulani/Fulbe People The nomadic Fulani were master weavers and there are three beautiful examples here.

  3. Divination and Senufo Sculpture in West Africa Satisfy your curiosity about diviners and the divination ceremony by reading this essay and studying the six artworks.

  4. Exchange of Art and Ideas: The Benin, Owo, and Ijebu Motifs on pendants, bracelets and ritual objects were shared across these three kingdoms to emphasize the power of their kings.

  5. Kingdoms of Madagascar: Malagasy Textile Arts At a crossroad of eastern African trade between Indians, Europeans and Africans, the Malagasy created intricate textiles of silk and cotton.

  6. Kingdoms of the Savanna: The Kuba Kingdom Status items marked the ascent of talented men through the ranks of court officials in the Kuba Kingdom.

Here are a few books that you might enjoy:

  1. "The History of the World in Six Glasses" by Tom Standage, published by Walker and Company, 2005 ISBN 0-8027-1552-4 From the publisher: "This book presents an original, well-documented vision of world history, telling the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the twenty-first century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. For Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrated the intricate interplay of different civilizations."

  2. "Art from Africa: Long Steps Never Broke A Back" by Pamela McClusky, published by the Seattle Art Museum and Princeton University Press, 2002 ISBN: 0-691-09275-3 This is the catalog from a great exhibit that traveled around the nation, including the Cincinnati Art Museum.

  3. "A History of Art in Africa" by Blackmon, M., Pyonor, R., Cole, H. and Harris, M., Pearson/Prentice Hall, Inc. 2001 ISBN: 0-13-191831-1 A selection of excellent essays with numerous black and white illustrations and drawings and color photos.


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