ART 266 Africa Gardners
Running Horned Woman.
from Tassili n'Ajjer, Algeria
This early rock painting is thousands of years older than the first African sculptures. It represents a running woman with body paint, raffia skirt, and horned headgear, apparently in a ritual context.
from Rafin Kura, Nigeria
The earliest African sculptures in the round come from Nigeria. The Nok culture produced expressive terracotta heads with large eyes, mouths, and ears. Piercing equalized the heat during the firing process.
from Ita Yemoo (Ife), Nigeria
Unlike most African sculptures, this royal figure has a natural- istically modeled torso and facial features that approach portraiture. The head, however, the locus of wisdom, is disproportionately large.
from Djenne, Mali
Djenne terracottas present a striking contrast to the statues from Ile-Ife. This archer is thin with tubular limbs and an elongated head featuring a prominent chin, bulging eyes, and large nose.
The Great Mosque at Djenne resembles Middle Eastern mosques in plan (large courtyard next to a roofed prayer hall), but the construction materials—adobe and wood—are distinctly African.
Beta Giorghis (Church of Saint George)
During the 13th century, the Christian kingdom of Lalibela cut many churches out of the Ethiopian bedrock. This one emulates Byzantine models and has a Greek-cross plan and interior frescoes.
Walls and tower, Great Enclosure.
Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
The Great Zimbabwe empire in southern Africa had a trade network that extended to the Near East and China. The royal residence was surrounded by 30-foot-high stone walls and conical towers.
Monolith with bird and crocodile.
This soapstone monolith stood in the ancestral shrine of a Great Zimbabwe ruler's wife. The bird and crocodile may symbolize previous rulers who act as messengers between the living and dead.
| BENIN KINGDOM|
Waist pendant of a Queen Mother
This ivory head probably portrays Idia, mother of Oba Esigie, who wore it on his waist. Above Idia's head are Portuguese heads and mudfish, symbols, respectively, of trade and of Olokun, god of the sea.
| BENIN KINGDOM|
Altar of the Hand and Arm (ikegobo)
One of the Benin king's praise names is "great head," and on this cast-bronze royal shrine, he is represented larger than all other figures and his proportions are distorted to emphasize his head.
| BENIN KINGDOM|
Royal ancestral altar of Benin King Eweka II.
In the palace in Benin City, Nigeria
This shrine to the heads of royal ancestors is an assemblage of varied materials, objects, and symbols. By sacrificing animals at this site, the Benin king annually invokes the collective strength of his ancestors.
Master of the Symbolic Execution.
The Sapi saltcellars made for export combine African and Portuguese traits. This one represents an execution scene with an African-featured man, who wears European pants, seated among severed heads.
Reliquary guardian figure (bieri)
Fang bieri guard cylindrical bark boxes of ancestor bones (reliquaries). The figures have the bodies of infants and the muscularity of adults, a combination of traits sug- gesting the cycle of life.
Reliquary guardian figure (mbulu ngulu)
Kota guardian fig- ures have bodies in the form of an open lozenge and large heads. Polished copper and brass sheets cover the wood forms. The Kota believe that gleaming surfaces repel evil.