Chapter 15 Africa Before 1800 Kim Dinh Riley Gamboa Core Beliefs African people share many core beliefs and practices, these include: honoring ancestors, worshipping nature deities, consulting diviners or fortune tellers, and elevating rulers to sacred status. To express these core beliefs, Africans express themselves through art traditions, such as: rocking engraving, painting, body decoration, masquerades, figural sculptures, lavish festivals, and sacred/secular architecture. Core Beliefs- Nok Head 15-3 N: Head Nok D: c. 500 BCE-200 CE P/S: Sub-Saharan, Africa. A: Unknown, people of Nok culture. M/T: Terra Cotta Sculpture F: To depict a figure of Nok style. Triangle D-shape eyes, also appears on Nok sculptures of animals. Pierced in pupils, nostrils, and mouth for when figure was fired. Buns pierced to held decorations/ feathers. Reflects farming culture. C: Alluvial deposits on Jos plateau north of Niger and Benue rivers. Remains in Lagos, Nigeria. DT: Neutral stone, larger than normal proportion, probably formed part of a complete figure. D-shaped characteristics. Ideas: Portrays large quantities, usually decorated with ornaments, may represent ordinary people, who were dressed up. Example of core beliefs; figural sculpture. Full Round Sculptures The earliest African sculptures in the round have been found at several sites in central Nigeria, that archeologists collectively called the Nok-Culture. Every full round sculpture crafted, resembled either human or animal figures. A main resource used to create full round sculptures was terra cotta. They included pierced eyes, mouth, and ear holes to help equalize the heating of the hollow clay-head during the firing process. Little is known of the original functions for these pieces, but theories include ancestor portrayal, grave markers, and charms to prevent crop failure, infertility, and illness. They also used them for ceremonial purposes. Full Round Sculptures N: Lydenburg head D: ca. 500 CE P/S: Nok culture A: Unknown M/T: Terracotta- Sculpting (additive) eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hairline, by applying thin clay fillets onto the head F: helmet mask, ceremonial function C: Animals appear on those Lydenburg heads large enough to have served as helmet masks. The head, therefore, probably has a ceremonial function. DT: In the full round, sculpted, incised surface. Ideas: Faces on helmet could be used to scare people. Animal on top could represent something in ceremonial purposes. Trade Network Of the Great Zimbabwe The Great Zimbabwe empire had a wide trade network. The Great Zimbabwe was prosperous trade center well before Europeans began their costal voyaging in the late 15th century. With their finds of beads, pottery, copper and gold objects from the near East and China. Impressive stone walls and towers enclosed the royal palace complex. Walls meeting 30 feet, crafted from stones. The Great Enclosure houses many stone structures, and sculptures. Great Zimbabwe 15-11 N: Bird, Great Zimbabwe D: c. 1200-1400 CE P/S: ? Great Zimbabwe , monolithic A: unknown M/T: Soapstone sculpture, carving from single block F: symbolizes previous rulers who serve as messengers between the living and dead, sky and earth. C: Found at the shrine of ruler’s first wife of Great Zimbabwe. Remains in Zimbabwe. DT: Single block carving in full round. Neutral stone. Stands seven feet tall. Ideas: Bird represents wife’s ancestors. Crocodile represents male ancestors. Bird is bird of prey. Portuguese and Sapi Culture People on the Atlantic coast of Africa and present day Sierra Leone whom the Portuguese called the Sapi, created art for themselves and also, for Portuguese explorers and traders who took the objects back to Europe. The Sapi export ivories the earliest examples of African tourist art, are A fascinating hybrid art form. The use of Sapi ivory and mix of European and African Components are seen in Master of the Symbolic Execution. (Figure to the right) The European components of the saltcellar are the overall design of a spherical container, and some of the geometrical Patterning, as well as elements of dress, such as shirts and hats. Distinctly African are the style of the human heads, and their proportions.