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ARTH304: African Art

Unit 4: The Sudan   Islamic movements into Nubia resulted in the emergence of the modern country of Sudan, a name derived from the Arabic bilad as-sudan, “land of the Blacks.” As Arabs moved westward, “Sudan” referred to a large swath of territory extending nearly to the western and southern Atlantic coasts, crossing boundaries of several modern countries and populated with diverse ethnic groups. Today the area is heavily Muslim, though many communities integrate Islam with indigenous spiritual traditions.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 15 hours to complete:

☐    Subunit 4.1: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3: 8.5 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - analyze the visual elements of Africa’s earliest surviving sculpture; - demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of cultures in central and northern Nigeria and borders; - demonstrate an understanding of the major traditional art forms of Mali’s larger indigenous groups; and - identify and describe the major architectural techniques throughout the Sudan region.

4.1 The Nok   - Reading: Memoire d’Afrique: “Nok” Link: Memoire d’Afrique: “Nok” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read the subsections under “Nok” to explore this
civilization.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: “Nok Terracottas (500 BC–200 AD)” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: “Nok Terracottas (500 BC–200 AD)” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this entry on the earliest surviving art, dried and baked clay (terracotta) figures, in Africa south of the Sahara, created by the Nok in a town in modern-day Nigeria.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: University of California at Los Angeles' Newsroom: Stacey Ravel Abarnanel’s “Fowler Museum to Debut ‘Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley’” Link: University of California at Los Angeles' Newsroom: Stacey Ravel Abarnanel’s “Fowler Museum to Debut ‘Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley’” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this announcement, which introduces the many diverse groups along the Benue River in the vicinity of historical Nok culture. Be sure to explore the accompanying images.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Milwaukee Public Museum: “Overview of the Mambila Collection” Link: Milwaukee Public Museum: “Overview of the Mambila Collection” (HTML)

    Instructions: Explore the eight objects on this page, noting the unique aesthetic elements associated with Mambila objects.

    Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The Annenberg Foundation's Art Through Time: A Global View: “Shrine Vessel” Link: The Annenberg Foundation's Art Through Time: A Global View: “Shrine Vessel” (HTML)

    Instructions: Explore these images, which represent the art of a few small groups in the central Sudan, in present day Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: Remnants of Ritual: “Chamba Helmet Mask” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

    Submit Materials

  • Reading: African Art Museum: “Chamba” Link: African Art Museum: “Chamba” (HTML)

    Instructions: Explore these images, which represent the art of a few small groups in the central Sudan, in present day Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: Designboom: “Musgum Earth Architecture”

    Link: Designboom: “Musgum Earth Architecture” (HTML)

    Instructions: Explore these images, which represent the art of a few small groups in the central Sudan, in present day Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: The New York Times: Alan Riding’s “Chirac Exalts African Art, Legal and (Maybe) Illegal” Link: The New York Times: Alan Riding’s “Chirac Exalts African Art, Legal and (Maybe) Illegal” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article for an introduction to the ongoing discussion over the repatriation of African artwork.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above

  • Reading: Time Magazine: Simon Robinson Kawa and Aisha Labi’s “Endangered Art” Link: Time Magazine: Simon Robinson Kawa and Aisha Labi’s “Endangered Art” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article on African art. Nok art has been at the center of growing international concern over the repatriation of artworks removed from their places of origin, and this discussion has surrounded African art in many Western museums.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2 The Hausa and Fulani   - Reading: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: “Hausa” Link: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: “Hausa” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this entry on the Hausa, who mainly inhabit
northern Nigeria and who are known for their unique mud architecture
and textiles.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Archnet Digital Library: “Friday Mosque at Zaria” Link: Archnet Digital Library: “Friday Mosque at Zaria” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read about this 19th Century mosque, focusing on the description of the floor plan, materials, and structural elements. Note that the Hausa have often been intertwined with the Fulani, a traditionally nomadic group now dispersed throughout the Sudan and beyond. Be sure to view the images in the upper right-hand corner, paying particular attention to basic architectural terminology. 

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Cicipu.org: “The Acipu People” Link: Cicipu.org: “The Acipu People” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read the introduction to this small Hausa group in northern Nigeria, and then scroll down to the “Buildings” section and click on the embedded link, “rectangular huts.” View these images for a good presentation of another mud-based building technique (in this case, mud brick).

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The British Museum: “Gown” Link: The British Museum: “Gown” (HTML)

    Instructions: This is an example of a typical Hausa-style male tunic. Note the form, design, and technique.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: The British Museum: “African Gowns” Link: The British Museum: “African Gowns” (HTML)

    Instructions: Look through several of these examples of African gowns, noting the differences in design and the variety of styles across regions.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: Jamtan Fulani: “The Fulani People” Link: Jamtan Fulani: “The Fulani People” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this introduction to the Fulani people, and then read each section under the “Art & Culture” section on the left-hand sidebar.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: “Art and the Fulani/Pulbe People” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History“Art and the Fulani/Pulbe People” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this webpage, which discusses the art of the Fulani people. Be sure click on each of the accompanying images and read their descriptions.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Interior Hanging (Arkilla Kereka)” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Interior Hanging (Arkilla Kereka)” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this entry about traditional Fulani weavings.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: “Wodaabe” Link: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: “Wodaabe” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this entry on the Wodaabe, a nomadic people who primarily reside in Northern Nigeria. The Wodaabe are known for their dyed cloth and the Gerewol festival.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: YouTube: National Geographic’s “Tribal Beauty Pageant – for Men” Link: YouTube: National Geographic’s “Tribal Beauty Pageant – for Men” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Watch this video about the Gerewol ceremony. Take special note of the definitions of masculine beauty.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: “Streaming Video of Ghana and Burkina Faso” Link: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: “Streaming Video of Ghana and Burkina Faso” (QuickTime)

    Instructions: Scroll down to “The Fulani in Burkina and Niger” section. From there, select and watch the “Geerewal Festival of the Wodaabe at Abdu Nazen” and “Niger and Wodaabe Men in Geerewal Festival” videos.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.3 Modern Mali and the Surrounding Area   - Reading: National Museum of African Art: “Bamana Peoples” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

[Submit Materials](/contribute/)
  • Reading: The National Museum of African Art: “Mali Empire and Djenne Figures” Link: The National Museum of African Art: “Mali Empire and Djenne Figures” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article for an introduction to the ancient empire from which the modern country of Mali takes its name.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The National Museum of African Art: “Works of Art” Link: The National Museum of African Art: “Works of Art” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article. How would you describe these figures’ forms and stylistic attributes?

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Sacred Sites: “Djenne, Mali” Link: Sacred Sites: “Djenne, Mali” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article about the Great Mosque at Djenne, a UNESCO World Heritage site, paying attention to the building method used.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: YouTube: hooBariiska’s “Great Mosque of Djenne” Link: YouTube: hooBariiska’s “Great Mosque of Djenne” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Watch this video, which features interviews with builders who work on the periodic ritual repairs of the Great Mosque of Djenne.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: YouTube: IcarusFilmsNY’s “Future of Mudd” Link: YouTube: IcarusFilmsNY’s “Future of Mudd” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Watch this video, which features interviews with builders who work on the periodic ritual repairs of the Great Mosque of Djenne.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: “Bamana Peoples of West Africa” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: “Bamana Peoples of West Africa” (HTML)

    Instructions: Click on each of the works of art on the site and read about their design and purpose for the Bamana peoples. Also review the “Thematic Essays,” which supplement these pieces.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The Textile Museum’s Textile of the Month: “Young Woman’s Wrapper, Bogolanfini (Mud Cloth)” Link: The Textile Museum’s Textile of the Month: “Young Woman’s Wrapper, Bogolanfini (Mud Cloth)” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this webpage about the bogolanfini, a mud-dyed cloth tradition of Bamana women. Note that arts administered by female societies related to female rites of passage are associated with traditions of “female circumcision” in some African groups, which are the cause of great controversy. Acknowledgement of this and other complex issues are integral to an in-depth study of this visual and material culture.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: British Museum’s “Mud Cloth (Bogolanfini)” Link: British Museum’s “Mud Cloth (Bogolanfini)” (HTML)

    Instructions: Explore more about the bogolanfini at the wepage above.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Archaeological Institute of America’s Archaeology Archive: “Bandiagara Escarpment” Link: Archaeological Institute of America’s Archaeology Archive: “Bandiagara Escarpment” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this introduction to the region long inhabited by the Dogon.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Sacred Sites: “Dogon, Mali” Link: Sacred Sites: “Dogon, Mali” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article about Dogon cosmology and take a look at the forms of shrines presented.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Senufo Arts and Poro Initiation in Northern Cote d’Ivoire” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Senufo Arts and Poro Initiation in Northern Cote d’Ivoire” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article and note the role masquerading and other objects play in the Poro initiation process. Click on each of the images and note their unique appearance and purpose in relation to the Poro society.

    Terms of Use: Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the websites above.

  • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Dogon” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Dogon” (HTML)

    Instructions: The link above will direct you to a selection of Dogon objects in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Please explore these entries and view several for an introduction to Dogon art forms and functions. Be sure to examine “Pair of Balafon Players.” Note the characteristic canon of the figures’ proportions, the integration of abstraction, and the repetition of motifs, as well as comments on carving and other techniques.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Bamana and Dogon Votive Structures Essay” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Bamana and Dogon Votive Structures Essay” (PDF)

    Instructions: Follow the instructions on this webpage to draft an essay.

    Completing this assignment should take approximately 1 hours and 15 minutes.

  • Web Media: YouTube: Documentary Educational Resources’ “African Carving: A Dogon Kanaga Mask” Link: YouTube: Documentary Educational Resources’ “African Carving: A Dogon Kanaga Mask” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Watch this video, which discusses the construction of Kanaga masks, which are used in masquerades.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: YouTube: Eli Newberger’s “A Dogon Masquerade” Link: YouTube: Eli Newberger’s “A Dogon Masquerade” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please watch this video, which discusses Dogon masquerades.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: National Museum of African Art: “Senufo Peoples” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

    Submit Materials

  • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: “Maternity Figure” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History“Maternity Figure” (HTML)

    Instructions: Examine this entry on a Senufo maternity figure. Maternity as a subject is common in African art.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The British Museum: “Wooden Equestrian Figure” Link: The British Museum: “Wooden Equestrian Figure” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article to explore another example of equestrian statuary that also reflects a figurative canon frequent in Senufo sculpture.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: YouTube: Diby Kouame’s “The Boloi: Senufo Dance, Ivory Coast” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

    Submit Materials

  • Reading: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: “Bwa” Link: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: “Bwa” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this introduction to the Bwa people.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: “Masks of Burkina Faso” Link: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: “Masks of Burkina Faso” (HTML)

    Instructions: This link features 50 images of Bwa masquerades of several varieties. Explore the additional images of masquerades of the Bwa and neighboring groups on this page.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: Christopher D. Roy’s “Do in Leaves and Wood among the Bobo and Bwa” Link: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: Christopher D. Roy’s “Do in Leaves and Wood among the Bobo and Bwa” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and read this article.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: Christopher D. Roy’s “Signs and Symbols in African Art” Link: University of Iowa, School of Art History’s Art and Life in Africa Project: Christopher D. Roy’s “Signs and Symbols in African Art” (HTML)

    Instructions: Click on the link above and read this article to familiarize yourself with the meaning behind the forms represented on masks and other objects produced by the groups in Burkina Faso.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assignment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Geography of Africa” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Geography of Africa” (PDF)

    Instructions: Congratulations! You have reached the midpoint of this course. Please complete this assignment to test your understanding of African geography.

    Completing this assignment should take approximately 30 minutes.

  • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Art Analysis Based on Personal Viewing” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Art Analysis Based on Personal Viewing” (PDF)

    Instructions: Complete this activity over the remainder of the time you spend on this course. You should finish it by the end of the last unit.