(1100 - 1980 C.E.)

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CONTENT: What do you see?

FORM: The details (what you see more exactly). How the artist delivers the content.

CONTEXT: Everything NOT observable.

FUNCTION: The intended purpose of the work.





African Unit Sheet:

APAH 250 Images:

African Unit Sheet:

From earlier Prehistoric Unit:

1.  Apollo 11 stones

4. Running horned woman

Objects used in public rituals:

175. Bundu mask
          -contextual photo

173. Female (Pwo) mask

178. Aka elephant mask
         -contextual photo

174. Portrait mask (Mblo)
          -contextual photo

Objects of Power and Authority:

169. Wall plaque from Oba's palace
           -contextual photo of Oba of Benin

171. Ndop (portrait of King Mishe miShyaang


180. Veranda post of enthroned king and

         senior wife
170. Sika dwa kofi (Golden stool)
           -contextual photo

Object of Memory:

177. Lukasa (memory board)
         -contextual photo

Objects connecting religious belief:

172. Power figure (Nkisi n'kondi)

179. Reliquary figure (byeri)

176. Ikenga (shrine figure)

Architecture of power and authority:

167. Conical tower and circular wall of      

        Great Zimbabwe

Major Civilizations

  • Nok (500 BCE-200 CE)         Nigeria

  • Great Zimbabwe (11th- 15th c.)    Zimbabwe

  • Ife Culture (11th-12th c.)       Nigeria

  • Aksum (1200-1527)               Ethiopia

  • Benin (13th-19th c.)               Nigeria

  • Mende (19th-20th c.)             Sierra Leone

  • Kongo (19th-20th c.)             Congo

Key Ideas

  • Centered around spirituality, the spirit world, and the role of ancestors is huge to incorporate into artworks

  • Fertility of man and of the land is key

  • Most common materials are wood, ivory, and metal

  • Mostly utilitarian, usually for ceremonies

  • Architecture is predominately mud brick

  • Stone used in Zimbabwe and Ethiopian churches


A very special thank you to Dr. Robert Coad for his infinite wisdom, amazing workshops, gift of materials and time, and years of support.

Another special thank you to Ms. Marsha Russell for her devotion to teaching and generosity in sharing her materials and knowledge with all of us.

Thank you to Valerie Park for her inspirational AP Art History web site that guided the creation of this site.

And finally, if you choose to use any of the images or information from this site, I ask that you kindly give me credit.  Thank you for visiting!