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  • Dogon - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    emigrated west to northern Burkina Faso where local histories describe them as kibsi Around 1490 they fled a region now known as the northern Mossi kingdom of Yatenga when it was invaded by Mossi calvary They ended up in the Bandiagara cliffs region safe from the approaching horsemen Carbon 14 dating techniques used on excavated remains found in the cliffs suggest that there were inhabitants in the region before the arrival in the Dogon dating back to the 10th century Those Dogon who did not flee were incorporated into Mossi society and were known as the nyonyose or descendants of the first inhabitants Economy The Dogon grow onions which are exported throughout the Sudan region They also grow millet and sorghum which is consumed locally Like so many agricultural people of Africa the land and its bounty plays an important part in the religious views of the Dogon The Lebe cult is primarily concerned with agricultural renewal and altars devoted to it have bits of earth incorporated into them to encourage the continued fertility of the land The most important agricultural rite is the bulu which immediately precedes the first rains and planting Political Systems Social stratification among the Dogon involves a complex ordering of individuals based on their position within various social groups defined either by descent or locality Groupings include clan village patrilineage and for men an age set or grade Each of these groups is hierarchically ordered based on age and the rules of descent and all of the group levels interact with one another so that one who is generally well respected within the family will most likely hold an important position within society Religion Dogon religion is defined primarily through the worshiping of the ancestors and the spirits whom they encountered as they moved across

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Dogon (2016-02-13)
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  • Eket - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    described in that context The Ibibio have lived in the Cross River area of modern day Nigeria for several hundreds of years and though written information about them only exists in colonial records from the late 1800s on oral traditions have them in the region much earlier than this The Ibibio were very resistant to colonial invasions and it was not until after the end of World War I that the British were able to gain a strong foothold in the region Even at this time however the British found it necessary to incorporate Ibibio Ekpo traditions in order to impose indirect rule in the region Economy The main economic staple in the region is the oil palm the oil of which is extracted and sold to external markets Among the Ibibio those of the highest rank in the Ekpo society Amama often control the majority of the community wealth The Amama often appropriate hundreds of acres of palm trees for their own use and with the profits they earn ensure that their sons achieve comparable rank effectively limiting access to economic gain for most members of the community The Ekpo society requires that its initiates sponsor feasts for the town which foster the appearance of the redistribution of wealth by providing the poor with food and drink In effect this allows the disparity in wealth to be perpetuated in Ibibio society Political Systems Individual villages are ruled by Ekpo Ndem Isong a group of village elders and the heads of extended families Their decisions are enforced by members of the Ekpo society who act as messengers of the ikan ancestors Ekpo members are always masked when performing their policing duties and although their identities are almost always known fear of retribution from the ancestors prevents most people from accusing

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Eket+ (2016-02-13)
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  • Esie - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    Mumuye Ngbaka Nkanu Nok Nuna Oron Owo Pende Pokot Punu San Sapi Senufo Shambaa Shona Songo Songye South Sotho Suku Swahili Tabwa Tuareg Urhobo We Winiama Wodaabe Wolof Woyo Wum Yaka Yombe Yoruba Zaramo Zulu Esie See All View all images in the media gallery Types of Art n a History Although not much is known about the Esie site in south central Nigeria objects collected from this area have

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Esie (2016-02-13)
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  • Fang - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    History The Fang migrated into their current area from the northeast in recent centuries as small groups or families of nomadic agriculturalists Their militant nature allowed them to sieze land from their weaker neighbors as they moved in Economy The rain forests surrounding the Fang must be subjected to slash and burn techniques combined with crop rotation to yield agricultural products By moving crops from year to year erosion and soil depletion is avoided The main crops grown are plantains and manioc Large knives are used to clear the forests and most of the cultivation is done with a hoe Political Systems The peoples throughout this region of Gabon share similar political systems Each village has a leader who has inherited his position based on his relationship to the founding family of that village As a political leader he often serves as an arbitrator and is equally recognized as a ritual specialist This enables him to justify his position of power based on his relationship with the ancestors of the village Each village consists of bark houses arranged in a pattern along a straight street and the size of the village is often determined by the resources available Religion The traditional religion of Fang centered around ancestors who are believed to wield power in the afterlife as they did as living leaders of the community The skulls and long bones of these men were believed to retain power and to have control over the well being of the family Usually the relics were kept hidden away from the uninitiated and women Wooden sculptures known as reliquary guardian figures were attached to the boxes containing the bones Some believe that the figures are an abstract portrait of the deceased individual while others argue that they serve to protect the spirit of

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Fang (2016-02-13)
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  • Fante - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    region It was not until the end of the 17th century however that the grand Asante Kingdom emerged in the central forest region of Ghana when several small states united under the Chief of Kumasi in a move to achieve political freedom from the Denkyira The Asante confederacy was dissolved by the British in 1900 and colonized in 1901 Although there is no longer a centralized Akan confederacy Akan peoples maintain a powerful political and economic presence Economy Early Akan economics revolved primarily around the trade of gold and enslaved peoples to Mande and Hausa traders within Africa and later to Europeans along the coast This trade was dominated by the Asante who received firearms in return for their role as middlemen in the slave trade These were used to increase their already dominant power Various luxury goods were were also received and incorporated into Asante symbols of status and political office Local agriculture includes cocoa cultivation for export while yams and taro serve as the main staples Fante who live along the coast rely heavily on fishing both for local consumption and for trade with inland peoples The depleted forests provide little opportunity for hunting Extensive markets are run primarily by women who maintain considerable economic power while men engage in fishing hunting and clearing land Both sexes participate in agricultural endeavors Political Systems Each Fante family is responsible for maintaining political and social order within its confines In the past there was a hierarchy of leadership that extended beyond the family first to the village headman then to a territorial chief then to the paramount chief of each division within the Asante confederacy The highest level of power is reserved for the Asanthene who inherits his position along matrilineal lines During the height of the Asante empire extensive

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Fante (2016-02-13)
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  • Fon - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    colorful art form has gone through a metamorphosis since the 1960s and most are now produced for the tourist market History The Fon kingdom of Dahomey which was ruled by the kings of the Alladahonu dynasty for over 200 hundred years reached its political and economic peak between the early 18th and the mid 19th centuries After conquering numerous small coastal states the Fon monopolized the region s slave trade resulting in phenomenal economic gains The income helped to support the wealth of the King whose power was absolute The Fon king was defeated by the French in 1892 and in 1894 the area now known as Bénin became a colony of France under the name of Dahomey Economy The primary cash crops in this region are yams cotton and taro but the Fon also grow sorghum sesame millet palms maize and okra among other crops for local consumption Although cattle are kept as a signifier of wealth they are never milked Markets are held every fourth day throughout the region for the local distribution of agricultural products and local crafts Some hunting is done by the men although much of the meat is sold rather than consumed by the hunter s family Political Systems The King ruled from his elaborate court in Abomey through an extensive administrative hierarchy that was responsible for collecting taxes Although the Queen Mother technically outranked the King excluding one hand picked son who was to be heir no other family members were allowed to hold political office to help protect against palace intrigue Instead various political offices were assigned to ministers who represented the King throughout the state and in international matters involving Europeans Religion Fon religion centers around the ancestors whose protection and benevolence is sought through yearly offerings During the height of

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Fon (2016-02-13)
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  • Frafra - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    to wooden stools are created to honor the spirits History Frafra peoples belong to a larger subset of peoples in the area of southern Burkina Faso and northern Ghana collectively known as Gurunsi peoples This term is applied to these peoples who share common histories languages and political structures but it may also carry pejorative overtones in local usage Most of Gurunsi live in modern day Burkina Faso and the degree to which Frafra history differs from their northerly neighbors such as the Nuna Bwa and Winiama is linked to their living in modern day Ghana These differences arose during colonial times which began in the early part of the 20th century as French and British colonial systems differed in their administrative practices Economy Frafra are primarily sedentary farmers growing millet sorghum and yams Maize rice peanuts and beans are grown in addition to these staples Farmers throughout the region practice slash and burn farming using fields for approximately seven or eight years before they are allowed to lie fallow for at least a decade In the family fields close to the villages women grow cash crops including sesame and tobacco which are sold in local markets Men participate in hunting during the long dry season This is important for ritual reasons since it is during this time that men may interact with the spirits that inhabit the bush During the dry season when food supplies are running low some fishing is practiced in local swamps Political Systems Frafra societies are comprised mainly of farmers without social or political stratification They are not divided among occupational castes or groups since most of them simply till the land and engage in occasional hunting They had no internal system of chiefs and all important decisions were made by a council of elders

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Frafra (2016-02-13)
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  • Fulani - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    They were also responsible for introducing and spreading Islam throughout much of western Africa The height of the Fulani empire was between the early 1800s and early 1900s This power was consolidated under Usman dan Fodio and was centered in northern Nigeria Dan Fodio was a devout Muslim who used religious fervor to ignite his troops to undertake a series of holy wars Following the early success of Islamic warriors non Islamic Fulani joined ranks with their fellows to form an extensive and powerful empire Economy Fulani are mainly nomadic herders and traders The routes they established in western Africa provided extensive links throughout the region that fostered economic and political ties between otherwise isolated ethnic groups Dairy products produced from Fulani cattle were traded to sedentary farmers for agricultural products and luxury items Fulani traders then traded these luxury items between various groups along their nomadic routes Members of individual Fulani clans often settled down among their sedentary neighbors intermarrying and establishing trading contacts for future business transactions Political Systems The two most significant factors in Fulani political systems are clientage and competition In order to gain political office a Fulani man would have to compete among his fellows for the right to rule He could show his political favor by demonstrating that he had a large following in the form of individuals and families By agreeing to become the client of a powerful man or family a subject would offer tribute in the form of gifts and political support in exchange for the security of knowing that a person with political power would be looking out for the interests of the subject Religion Fulani religion is largely if not wholly Islamic Although there are varying degrees of orthodoxy exhibited throughout Fulani society most adhere to at least some

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Fulani+ (2016-02-13)
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