• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The traditional art of Africa consists basically of masks and figures of magico-religious significance, decorative objects used for personal decoration, and symbol of rank or importance.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The traditional art of Africa consists basically of masks and figures of magico-religious significance, decorative objects used for personal decoration, and symbol of rank or importance. Most of these objects are in some way associated to ceremonial and other structured activities (such as singing, dancing, drumming, and storytelling), without which the visual arts could not work in traditional African culture. The forms and functions of traditional African art are very mixed. Sculpture is usually considered Africa's greatest triumph in art, although sculpture is found in many parts of Africa, this means of expression occurs with the highest amount in western and central Africa. Most of the sculptures are made of wood, but objects are also made of metal, stone, terra-cotta, mud, beadwork, ivory, and other materials. In southern and eastern Africa there are ancient rock paintings dedicated to the SAN (Bushman) people. The only other main rock art tradition in Africa is that of Algeria, Libya, and Chad, the work of the prehistoric people of the Sahara. Islamic influence is seen all over the west African grassland and the east African coast. ...read more.

Middle

masks and figures representing legendary ancestors dance or receive sacrifices. Forms in the western Sudan tend to be somewhat fancy, plain, and angular. Central Sudanic Region Centered in northern Nigeria, the central Sudan is dominated by the Muslim HAUSA and FULANI peoples, who have developed numerous city-states. Central Sudanic art is mostly nonrepresentational and includes mud architecture, sometimes with molded, low-relief decoration; embroidered textiles; elaborate coiffure; metal and beadwork jewelry; and leatherwork decorated with geometric applique. Some peoples in the central Sudanic carve masks or figures; these objects show a remarkable similarity to the art of the western Sudanic peoples. This suggests ancient connections across the savanna belt. West Guinea Coast Region This region consists of Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the densely forested coastal portion of Guinea and southwestern Ivory Coast. Tribes make characteristic masks and figures from the area. Forms in the west Guinea Coast are generally softer, shinier, and more rounded than in the close western Sudanic region. Carved wood masks are the important art form in the region, where they perform a massive variety of jobs. ...read more.

Conclusion

Perhaps the prime generators of art in these groups are the initiation rites that mark the passage of boys from adolescence to manhood. Masks, figures, costumes, and wonderful theatrical effects are part of these initiations, functioning often as academic devices to instruct the boys in their culture and in proper manly behavior. The Kuba of central Zaire, in addition to complicated initiation rites, have complex courtly art forms, including royal portrait statues, elegant cups, drums, containers, dolls, and numerous regalia for persons of high rank. Eastern Sudanic Region The artistic production of most of the peoples in this area is restricted to decorative art, but a few groups in the southern Republic of the Sudan and southwest Ethiopia, including the carve wood figures to celebrate ancestors. This tradition probably relates more to the ancient pagan art still discernible in a broad arc across southern Asia than to the majority of African styles. East and Southern African Region and Madagascar Apart from Bushman paintings and engravings, eastern and southern Africa have only a few distinctive pattern styles. The dominant arts in this region are architecture and architectural decorations. Madagascar, the only large island lying off Africa's coast. Certain raffia textiles made by the ikat process find their closest parallels in Indonesia. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Art & Design section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Art & Design essays

  1. The Butcher Boys.

    amongst others. These are the kind of paintings one would expect to find in old art galleries in England. The paintings are of old, obviously important, English nobles, gazing down in distaste at the vile subjects invading their room. It gives the impression that The Butcher Boys are being condemned

  2. Graffiti art is an art form.

    A chief reason is the prospect of fame and recognition of one's artistic talent. Graffiti is also a form of self expression. The art as "writing" is a creative method of communicating with other writers and the general public. What it communicates is the artist's identity, expression, and ideas.

  1. Does Religious Art have any Relevance in Today's Society?

    Take for example a young singer-songwriter by the name of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germonatta (Lady Gaga to you and me) who has expressed her deep passion and connection to religion in not only her song lyrics and at several gay rights rally's, but most strongly in her music video for

  2. Line " the essence of art, the language of free expression.

    Despite the intertwining of certain flowers in the sketch, it does convey a feeling of chaos yet tamed. Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898), his works mainly consisted of illustrations done in inks. Art Nouveau (1890 -1910) is merely decorative arts, where the styles were asymmetrical, highly ornamental, intertwining plants, liberal and yet delicate.

  1. Wifredo Lam. In perhaps his most famous work of art, entitled The Jungle, Lam ...

    He would offer these works as a criticism of the social standing of blacks in Cuba. "The Jungle," (see Figure 1) created in 1943 by Lam was considered by many his masterpiece; a demonstration of his mastery of his specific style of surrealism with an underlying social agenda.

  2. What was new about Michelangelo's treatment of religious themes in sculpture?

    Despite Michelangelo's early stage of artistic development, the piece was completed between the ages of fourteen to seventeen;4 the piece is remarkable for the emotion and expression of the Virgin. The subject matter of Virgin and child is commonplace, having been explored by countless earlier works.

  1. Self, Body and Portrait

    Although the idea that an artist would choose to explore their state of mind through self - portraiture, is a fairly modern one and such interpretations are often read back on to self - portraits in the past. This view of self - portraiture is illustrated by the responses to, and interpretations, of Van Gogh's self - portraits.

  2. The Female Form in Art. Contextual study Unit 3

    During his life time he became an apprentice and in 1470 he went on to get his own workshop to create his work which at this early stage was produced with a conception of the figure as if seen in low relief, drawn with clear contours and reducing strong contrasts

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work