Ancient Africa Powerpoint Shayna Christina Tom

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Ancient Africa Powerpoint Shayna Christina Tom

  1. 1. ART OF ANCIENT AFRICA Shayna Benjamin, Tom Mattessich, Christina Cahill Head of an Oba 1550, Nigeria Brass (Ife)
  2. 2. Africa
  3. 3. Major Time or Stylistic Periods <ul><li>8000-500 BCE  Sahara Rock Art </li></ul><ul><li>500-200 BCE  Nok </li></ul><ul><li>200 BCE-Present  Djenne </li></ul><ul><li>600-1100 BCE  Ghana Empire </li></ul><ul><li>Mid-Seventeenth Century  Islam Introduced </li></ul><ul><li>800 CE-Present  Ife </li></ul><ul><li>9 th -10 th Century  Igbo Ukwu </li></ul><ul><li>1000-1500 CE  Great Zimbabwe </li></ul><ul><li>1170 CE-Present  Benin </li></ul><ul><li>1250-1450 CE  Mali Empire </li></ul><ul><li>1465-1591 CE  Songhay Kingdom </li></ul>
  4. 4. Important Historical Events <ul><li>2300 BCE  Egyptian envoy, Harkhuf, lands in Nubia (Egyptian relations with the rest of the African continent continued through the Hellenistic era and beyond). </li></ul><ul><li>1000-300 BCE  Phoenicians and Greeks founded dozens of settlements along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa to extend trade routes across the Sahara to the peoples of Lake Chad and the bend of the Niger River (when the Romans took control of North Africa, they continued this lucrative trans-Saharan trade). </li></ul><ul><li>600-700 CE  Expanding empire of Islam swept across North Africa, and thereafter Islamic merchants were regular visitors to sub-Saharan Africa. Islamic scholars chronicled the great West African empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay. West African gold financed the flowering of Islamic culture. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>East Africa had been drawn into the maritime trade that ringed the Indian Ocean, and extended to Indonesia and the South China Sea. Arab, Indian, and Persian ships plied the coastline. Swahili evolved from centuries of contact between Arabic-speaking merchants and Bantu-speaking Africans. Great port cities such as Kilwa, Mombasa, and Mogadishu arose. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1400 CE  Europeans ventured by ship into the Atlantic Ocean and down the coast of Africa. They rediscovered the continent firsthand. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Saharan Rock Art
  6. 6. <ul><li>The mountains of the central Sahara (primarily in the Tassili-n-Ajjer range of southern present-day Algeria) contain images that span a period of thousands of years. They record not only the artistic and cultural development of the peoples who lived in the region, but also the transformation of the Sahara from a fertile grassland to the vast desert we know today. </li></ul><ul><li>The earliest images of Saharan rock art are thought to date from at least 8000 BCE, during the transition into a geological period known as the Makalian Wet Phase. At that time, the Sahara was a grassy plain, vivid images of hippopotamus, elephant, giraffe, antelope, and other animals incised on rock surfaces attest to the abundant wildlife that roamed the region. </li></ul>Saharan Rock Art Cattle Being Tended Rock Wall Painting Algeria (5000-2000 BCE)
  7. 7. <ul><li>By 4000 BCE, the climate had become more arid, and hunting had given way to herding as the primary life-sustaining activity of the Sahara’s inhabitants. Among the most beautiful and complex examples of Saharan rock art created in this period are scenes of sheep, goats, cattle, and of the daily lives of the people who tended them. </li></ul><ul><li>By 2500-2000 BCE the Sahara was drying and the great game had disappeared, but other animals were introduced that appear in rock art. The horse was brought from Egypt by about 1500 BCE and is seen regularly in rock art over the ensuing millennia. </li></ul><ul><li>Around 600 BCE the camel was introduced into the region from the east, and images of camels were painted on and incised into the rock. The drying of the Sahara coincided with the rise of Egyptian civilization along the Nile Valley to the east. Similarities can be noted between Egyptian and Saharan motifs, among them images of rams with disks between their horns. These similarities have been interpreted as evidence of Egyptian influence on the less-developed regions of the Sahara. It is just as plausible, however, that the influence flowed the other way, carried by people who had migrated into the Nile Valley when the grasslands of the Sahara disappeared. </li></ul>Saharan Rock Art
  8. 8. Nok Head (Nok) Terra-cotta Nigeria (500 BCE-200 CE)
  9. 9. Nok <ul><li>Some of the earliest evidence of iron technology in sub-Saharan Africa comes from the Nok culture, which arose in the western Sudan (present-day Nigeria) as early as 500 BCE. </li></ul><ul><li>Nok people were farmers who grew grain and oil-bearing seeds, but they were also smelters with the technology for refining ore. Slag and the remains of furnaces have been discovered, along with clay nozzles from the bellows used to fan the fires. </li></ul><ul><li>The Nok people created the earliest known sculpture of sub-Saharan Africa, producing accomplished terra-cotta figures of human and animal subjects between 500 BCE-200 CE. </li></ul><ul><li>Nok sculpture was discovered in modern times by tin miners digging in alluvial deposits on the Jos plateau north of the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers. Presumably, floods from centuries past had removed the sculptures from their original contexts, dragged and rolled them along, and then deposited them, scratched and broken, often leaving only the heads from what must have been complete human figures. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Characteristics of Nok Sculpture <ul><li>The triangular or D-shaped eyes (also appear on sculpture of animals). </li></ul><ul><li>Holes in the pupils, nostrils, and mouth allowed air to pass freely as the figure was fired. </li></ul><ul><li>Each of the large buns of its elaborate hairstyle is pierced with a hole that may have held ornamental feathers. </li></ul><ul><li>Other Nok figures were created displaying beaded necklaces, armlets, bracelets, anklets, and other prestige ornaments. </li></ul><ul><li>Nok sculpture may represent ordinary people dressed for special occasions, or it may portray people of high status, thus reflecting social stratification in this early farming culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Nok is evidence of considerable technical accomplishment, which as led scholars to speculate that Nok culture was built on the achievements of an earlier culture still to be discovered. </li></ul>Human/Animal Figure Terra-cotta Nigeria (500 BCE-200 CE)
  11. 11. Igbo-Ukwu Reconstruction of a Burial Chamber Painting by Caroline Sassoon
  12. 12. Igbo-Ukwu <ul><li>The earliest known evidence for copper alloy or bronze casting in sub-Saharan Africa is found at Igbo-Ukwu in eastern Nigeria. This evidence dates to the 9 th and 10 th century CE. </li></ul><ul><li>Igbo-Ukwu is also the earliest known site containing an elite burial and shrine complex yet found in sub-Saharan Africa. Three distinct archaeological sites have been excavated at Igbo-Ukwu—one containing a burial chamber, another resembling a shrine or storehouse containing ceremonial objects, and the third an ancient pit containing ceremonial and prestige objects. </li></ul><ul><li>The burial chamber contained an individual dressed in elaborate regalia, placed in a seated position, and surrounded by emblems of his power and authority. These included three ivory tusks, thousands of imported beads that originally formed part of an elaborate necklace, other adornments, and a cast bronze representation of a leopard skull. Elephants and leopards are still symbols of temporal and spiritual leadership in Africa today. </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnographic research suggests that the burial site is that of an important Nri king or ritual leader called an eze. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Characteristics of Igbo-Ukwu <ul><li>The second excavation uncovered a shrine or storehouse complex containing ceremonial and prestige objects. These copper alloy castings were made by the lost-wax technique in the form of elaborately decorated small bowls, fly-whisk handles, altar stands, staff finials, and ornaments. </li></ul><ul><li>Igbo-Ukwu’s unique style consists of the representation in bronze of natural objects such as gourd bowls and snail shells whose entire outer surface is covered with elaborate raised and banded decorations. These decorations include linear, spiral, circular, and granular designs, sometimes with the addition of small animals or insects such as snakes, frogs, crickets, or flies applied to the decorated surface. Some castings have brightly colored beads. </li></ul>Roped Pot on a Stand Leaded bronze Igbo-Ukwu (9 th & 10 th century CE) Cast in several parts, assembled using sophisticated metalworking techniques
  14. 14. Ife Bronze (Leaded  brass) bust of Ife ruler 900-500 (1100-1500 A.D)  Mustache and beard or beaded veil may have been attached to the holes around the mouth, chin and jaw.
  15. 15. Ife <ul><li>The naturalistic works of sculpture created by the artists of the city of Ife, which arose in the southwestern forested part of Nigeria about 800 CE, are among the most remarkable in art history. </li></ul><ul><li>Ife was, and remains, the sacred city of the Yoruba people. A tradition of naturalistic sculpture began there about 1050 CE and flourished for some four centuries. Although the ancestral line of the current Ife king, or oni, continues unbroken, the knowledge of how these works were used has been lost. </li></ul><ul><li>When archaeologists showed the ancient sculpture to members of the contemporary oni’s court, however, they recognized symbols of kinship that been worn within living memory, indicating that the figures represent rulers. </li></ul><ul><li>Modeling of the flesh is remarkably sensitive, especially around the nose and mouth. </li></ul><ul><li>Lips are full and delicate, eyes are similar in shape to those of modern Yoruba. </li></ul><ul><li>Face is covered with thin, parallel scarification patterns. </li></ul><ul><li>Head cast of zinc brass using lost-wax method. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Characteristics of Ife <ul><li>Holes along the scalp apparently permitted a crown or perhaps a beaded veil to be attached. Large holes around the base of the neck may have allowed the head itself to be attached to a wooden mannequin for display during memorial services for a deceased oni. </li></ul><ul><li>The artists of ancient Ife also produced heads in terra-cotta. They were probably placed in shrines devoted to the memory of each dead king. </li></ul><ul><li>Scholars continue to debate whether the Ife heads are true portraits. Their realism gives an impression that they could be. The heads, however, all seem to represent men of the same age and embody a similar concept of physical perfection, suggesting that they are idealized images. </li></ul>Child of Obatala (creation divinity).  The sculpture probably depicts a ritual specialist indicated by the bead on his forehead and the skull pendant. 
  17. 17. Benin Memorial Head of an Oba Benin, Early Period 16 th Century CE Brass
  18. 18. Benin <ul><li>Ife was probably the artistic parent of the great city-state of Benin, which arose some 150 miles to the southeast. According to oral histories, the earliest kings of Benin belonged to the Ogiso, or Skyking, dynasty. After a long period of misrule, however, the people of Benin asked the oni of Ife for a new ruler. The oni sent Prince Oranmiyan, who founded a new dynasty in 1170 CE. Some two centuries later, the fourth king of Benin decided to start a tradition of memorial sculpture like that of Ife, and he sent to Ife for a master metal caster named Iguegha. </li></ul><ul><li>Benin came into contact with Portugal in the late 15th century CE. The two kingdoms developed cordial relations in 1485, and carried on an active trade, at first in ivory and forest products, but eventually in slaves. Benin flourished until 1897, when, in reprisal for the massacre of a party of trade negotiators, British troops sacked and burned the royal palace, sending the oba into an exile from which he did not return until 1914. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Benin <ul><li>The British invaders discovered shrines to deceased obas covered with brass heads, bells, and figures. They also found wooden rattles and enormous ivory tusks carved with images of kings, court attendants, and 16 th century Portuguese soldiers. </li></ul><ul><li>The British appropriated the treasure as war booty making no effort to note which head came from which shrine, thus destroying evidence that would have helped establish the relative age of the heads and determine a chronology for the evolution of Benin style. </li></ul><ul><li>The Benin heads, together with other objects, were originally placed on a semicircular platform and surmounted by large elephant tusks, another symbol of power. All of the heads include representations of coral-bead necklaces and headdresses, which still form part of the royal costume. Benin brass heads range from small, thinly cast, and naturalistic to large, thickly cast, and highly stylized. Many scholars have concluded that the smallest, most naturalistic heads with only a few stands of beads around the neck were created during an ‘Early Period’ (1400-1550 CE), when Benin artists were still heavily influenced by Ife. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Benin <ul><li>Heads grew heavier, increasingly stylized, and the strands of beads increased in number until they concealed the chin during the ‘Middle Period’ (1550-1700 CE). </li></ul><ul><li>Heads from the ensuing ‘Late Period’ (1700-1897) are very large and heavy, with angular, stylized features and an elaborate beaded crown. During the ‘Late Period’, the necklaces form a tall, cylindrical mass. In addition, broad, horizontal flanges, or projecting edges, bearing small images cast in low relief ring the base of the Late Period heads. The increase in size and weight of Benin memorial heads over time may reflect the growing power and wealth flowing in the oba from Benin’s expanding trade with Europe. </li></ul><ul><li>At Benin, the head is the symbolic center of a person’s intelligence, wisdom, and ability to succeed in this world or to communicate with spiritual forces in the ancestral world. All of the memorial heads include representations of coral-beaded caps and royal costume. </li></ul><ul><li>The art of Benin is a royal art, for only the oba could commission works in brass. Artisans who served the court were organized into guilds and lived in a separate quarter of the city. Obas also commissioned important works in Ivory. </li></ul>Hip Mask Representing iyoba (Queen Mother) Ivory, Iron, Copper 1550 CE
  21. 21. Examples of Benin Art Early Period Middle Period Late Period
  22. 22. Plaque: Warrior Chief Flanked by Warriors and Attendants
  23. 23. Major Analysis <ul><li>Benin, Nigeria </li></ul><ul><li>Middle Period (1550-1650 CE) </li></ul><ul><li>Brass, 14 ¼” x 15 ½“ </li></ul><ul><li>Hundreds of brass plaques once decorated the walls and pillars of the royal palace of the kingdom of Benin. Around 900 of these plaques were found located in a storehouse by the British during the 1897 Punitive Expedition. </li></ul><ul><li>They illustrate a variety of subjects including ceremonial scenes at court, showing the oba, other court functionaries, and Portuguese soldiers. </li></ul><ul><li>Modeled in relief, the plaques depict one or more figures, with precise details of costume and regalia. Some figures are modeled in such high relief that they appear almost freestanding as they emerge from a textured surface background that often includes foliate patterning representing the leaves employed in certain healing rituals. </li></ul><ul><li>This particular plaque features a warrior chief in ceremonial attire. His rank is indicated by a necklace of leopard’s teeth, and coral-decorated cap and collar. He also wears an elaborately decorated skirt with a leopard mask on his hip. The chief is depicted holding a spear in one hand and an eben sword held above his head in the other hand. </li></ul><ul><li>The warrior chief is flanked by two warriors holding shields and spears, and two smaller figures representing court attendants. One attendant is depicted playing a side-blown horn that announces the warrior chief’s presence, while the other attendant carries a ceremonial box for conveying gifts. The scene recounts a ceremony of obeisance to the oba. The warrior chief’s gesture of raising the eben sword is still performed at annual ceremonies in which chiefs declare their allegiance and loyalty to the oba by raising their sword and spinning it in the air. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Influential Artworks: Textiles <ul><li>Characteristics: </li></ul><ul><li>Made from cotton, animal and grass fibers. </li></ul><ul><li>Woven cloth made on narrow and horizontal looms. </li></ul><ul><li>Motifs and patterns of cloth produced by a variety of techniques, such as resist dyeing, tie dyeing, weaving, and direct painting on the fabric. </li></ul><ul><li>Cloth indicates status, personal and group identity. </li></ul><ul><li>Often done to beautify, complement, and enhance the body. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Bokolanfini <ul><li>Cotton cloth dyed yellow and hand painted with mud by women. </li></ul><ul><li>Found in Mali. </li></ul><ul><li>Resist dye technique. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Adire <ul><li>White cotton. </li></ul><ul><li>Cotton is painted with cassava starch and dropped in indigo dye. </li></ul><ul><li>The areas covered with cassava remain white and uncovered areas are dark blue. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Fon Flag <ul><li>Images of animals, objects and people created from bright colored fabrics. </li></ul><ul><li>Figures then sewn on black cotton. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Kente Cloth <ul><li>Woven by men on a narrow loom. </li></ul><ul><li>Found among the Asante in Ghana and associated with royalty. </li></ul><ul><li>Both silk and cotton are used. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Berber Cloth <ul><li>Woven from sheep wool. </li></ul><ul><li>Made on horizontal looms by women. </li></ul><ul><li>Motifs are similar to geometric designs women tattoo on their faces and hands. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Influential Artworks: Personal Adornment <ul><li>Characteristics: </li></ul><ul><li>The body can be transformed in both temporary and permanent ways: painted, tattooed, scarified and marked in a variety of ways. </li></ul><ul><li>The adornment of the body indicates status, personal and group identity. </li></ul><ul><li>Often done to beautify, complement, and enhance the body, sometimes for spiritual empowerment. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Nuba Body Painting <ul><li>Nuba peoples are found in southern Sudan and are hunters. </li></ul><ul><li>Painting primarily done with yellow and red ochre but white and black are also used. </li></ul><ul><li>Practiced by men and colors and designs reflect membership in particular age grades and family. </li></ul><ul><li>Designs inspired by nature and contain characteristics of local plants and animals. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Fulani Women, West Africa <ul><li>Elaborate gold earrings worn by women are an indication of wealth and status. </li></ul><ul><li>They reflect the importance of gold in the trans-Saharan trade </li></ul>
  33. 33. Kuba King <ul><li>Found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. </li></ul><ul><li>Regalia made from cowrie shells and different colored beads, feathers, raffia, leather, and iron bells. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Hausa Royalty <ul><li>Found in northern Nigeria. </li></ul><ul><li>Elaborately embroidered cape. </li></ul><ul><li>White turban and clothing style demonstrate influence of Islamic designs from North Africa. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Yoruba Ruler (Oba) <ul><li>Wears a beaded crown with beaded veil. </li></ul><ul><li>Veil protects viewers from the power of the ruler. </li></ul><ul><li>He holds a beaded staff of office. </li></ul><ul><li>Birds on crown represent the mystical powers of women and the ruler's authority. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Influential Artworks: Architecture <ul><li>Purposes: </li></ul><ul><li>To explore how the built environment (architecture) shapes and expresses/reflects the ecology, culture, and history of various African peoples. </li></ul><ul><li>To demonstrate the variety of architecture that exists on the African continent. </li></ul><ul><li>To identify the diversity of material used in the creation of African architecture. </li></ul>
  37. 37. Great Zimbabwe <ul><ul><li>Constructed of granite slabs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oldest monumental stone structure south of the Sahara 1000-520 B.P (1000-1480AD). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consists of a series of walls and towers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Massive stone masonry, without mortar. </li></ul></ul>Herring Bone Designed Wall Conical Tower Aerial View
  38. 38. Mande <ul><ul><li>Mud architecture with buttresses and parapets called toron </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Found throughout the Mande world, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Date from 1700-100 B.P (1300-1900 A.D). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structures include tombs of religious leaders as well as mosques. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structures have minarets that tower above their roofs. </li></ul></ul>Mosque at Timbuktu Mosque at Jenne Tomb of Askia Mohammed Sankore
  39. 39. Oualata <ul><ul><li>Found in Mauritania. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Architecture made from stone and covered with adobe. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Houses have two stories, flat roofs and interior courtyards. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exterior walls painted with red ochre and doors and windows decorated with curvilinear patterns. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interior of rooms painted white with red motifs.  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Motifs inspired by the Arabic script and referred to as arabesques. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Painted by Soninke women. </li></ul></ul>Interior room. Interior courtyard of house. View of central courtyard.
  40. 40. Cameroon <ul><li>Made by the Bamileke peoples in Cameroon grasslands. </li></ul><ul><li>Houses constructed from palm reeds, bamboo, leaves and wood. </li></ul><ul><li>Wood used to create wooden sculptures that adorn the exterior of the building. </li></ul><ul><li>Mats woven from vegetable fibers used to create moveable partitions inside of house. </li></ul><ul><li>Thatched roofs, no windows, low doors, raised threshold. </li></ul>Bamileke architecture detail with sculptures
  41. 41. Sources <ul><li>Stokstad, Marylin, Art History, 2008, Pearson/Prentice Hall </li></ul><ul><li>http://witcombe.sbc.edu/ARTHLinks.html </li></ul>

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