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  • Nok, Page 1 - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    State University formerly University of Iowa Nigeria Nok peoples Head Clay H 26 cm 10 1 4 National Museum Lagos Nigeria 63 J 236 Photo by Dirk Bakker Some of the earliest examples of sophisticated sculpture in sub Saharan Africa come from the Nok culture We do not know what the people called themselves so the culture was named after the town of Nok where the first object was found The fired clay or terracotta sculptures range in size from small pendants to life size figures They have been found in Nigeria primarily to the north of the Niger Benue River confluence and below the Jos escarpment Nok sculpture was previously routinely dated as 500 B C E or before the Common Era BC to 200 C E A D but recent archaeological excavations have now dated the majority of terracottas to 900 300 B C E B C Rupp et al 2005 Bruenig 2012 This head has been dated by thermoluminescence to the latter part of the 4th century B C E B C A broken off hand is raised to the top of the head a fairly commonly seen gesture of unknown significance in Nok culture and the

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/chapters/ancient-africa/nok/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Human, Page 1 - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    figure with child Wood beads pigment H 45 1 cm 17 ¾ The University of Iowa Museum of Art The Stanley Collection X1986 380 The African environment is often hostile and unpredictable Endemic health problems that are little known outside Africa including sleeping sickness malaria liver flukes and diseases such as measles that are not health threatening elsewhere are devastating in Africa In Africa the ability to provide new life by bearing numerous children is all important An African woman s traditional roles are as life bearer nurturer and source of generations The very existence of the family and the clan depends on women s ability to bear children It is they who can provide security for their parents in old age and who will continue to nourish the spirits of the ancestors through offerings and prayers As a result much African art is directed toward encouraging the fertility of women as well as the soil plant and animal life Many shrines are devoted to spirits that provide the blessing of fertility and they frequently contain sculpture and other art forms devoted to the concept of fertility 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/chapters/abundance/human/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Thresholds, Page 1 - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    naturally to emerge in the effort to establish a balanced dialogue between humans and nature man and woman living people and the spirit world The spaces that humans inhabit become physical metaphors of sacredness when a place and time for worship is required Throughout the world the cross represents the intersection of worlds It should not be surprising then to learn that in many parts of Africa the crossroads are

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/chapters/sacred-spaces/thresholds/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Divination Techniques, Page 1 - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    likely to encounter Islamic members of the Mouride brotherhood practicing street corner divination using Koranic boards like this one Information about the client is placed in the nine boxes on the lower half of the board are interpreted using complex Cabalistic methods involving algebra and geometry The center square represents the client who is then figuratively surrounded by verses from the Koran which when interpreted identify the proper course for

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/chapters/divination/divination-techniques/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Separation, Page 1 - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    Exchange Separation By Allen F Roberts University of California Los Angeles formerly University of Iowa Initiates into the priesthood of Shango Ipari Nla northwestern Ijebu area Nigeria 1986 Photo by H J Drewal and M T Drewal Ritual possesses a three part structure a symbolic death separating the person from earlier life a liminal period marking the difference between who one has been and who one will become and a rebirth as a person of new status and abilities Through ritual people deliberately create a hiatus from all that is comfortably ordinary or profane Time and space are interrupted as sacred experience is sought We all know as we enter a mosque shrine or other holy place even if of a religion we ourselves do not profess that the dissonance of everyday life is suspended Inside a special ambiance reigns close to divinity African ritual is constructed by a similar architecture sometimes through actual buildings but always through sacred dramas that may include special dress and body arts as seen in this photograph of Yoruba people preparing for ritual In such a theater of change education is of the essence but as we shall see ritual initiation not only leads

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/chapters/education-initiation/separation/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Spirit Embodiments, Page 1 - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    figure Wood iron H 102 8 cm 40 1 2 Indiana University Art Museum 77 29 One of the most common ways of making spirits accessible to humans is to capture entice or combine spirit forces in containers When activated these medicine containers are endowed with supernatural powers that can be used in healing processes Composed of medicinally charged and metaphoric materials such as mirrors horns teeth claws leathers clay

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/chapters/arts-of-healing/spirit-embodiments/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Separation, Page 1 - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    terms with the loss of the individual The second phase is a period of liminality in which a new understanding of life without the deceased is forged In the third phase the community has begun to resume regular life patterns of avoidance of the mourning period are lifted and the deceased s inheritance as well as social and work related responsibilities are redistributed Many Africans understand that the ancestors journey

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/chapters/death/separation/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Statement Art, Page 1 - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    Benin Kingdom peoples Head of an Oba Bronze H 29 2 cm 11 1 2 Indiana University Art Museum 75 98 When art forms are made to affirm the status quo and to glorify the ruling body we refer to them as statement arts Roberts 1985 Such art forms serve either to commemorate particular heroes rulers or events or to enhance and reinforce status position wealth and power Statement art

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/chapters/governance/statement-art/ (2016-02-13)
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