Traditional African Art

Be Bewitched As You Learn About The Traditional African Art

Traditional African art if studied will be taking you into a world of trance and will also be enchanting you. North African artistic styles were very much influenced by the Islamic art and thus were taken to be a part of the Middle Eastern tradition. At the southern part of Sahara, you will find that the artistic forms are now being appreciated by the Westerners.

Traditional African art is diverse; it reveals clear abstract qualities (in an attempt to depict their Gods and other spiritual beings), a disregard for classical canons of beauty and a kind of barbaric power.

Wood and metal sculpture

The traditional African tribes indulged in the making of the sculptures. The wood and metal sculptures were prevalent among the African cultural and religious ceremonies. The sculptures were often designed to be worn on a New Year ceremony or a harvest festival as an integral part of the costume. The sculptures got good response in North America and Europe. The bronze and terracotta sculptures of the two very old cities in Nigeria, Ife and Benin,
are the most popular of the traditional African art sculptures.


The masks are very common as far as traditional African art is concerned. The masks in Africa were made of bronze, wood, feathers and other collected items. The masks from Africa were of a large size, consisting of large eyes and other overstated facial features.

Crafts or Cottage industries

All African cultures are familiar with the crafts and cottage industries, where you will find specialists making objects that are needed by the other members of the society. For textiles, the specialists include weavers, spinners, tailors, dyers of cloth, and seamstresses. Other specialists work with clay, leather, wood or metal.

Court art

Traditional African art in the form of court art consists of objects that are made at the courts of the kingdoms that had dominated different parts of Africa prior to the colonial rule. The artists were full-time professionals at the court, where they were engaged in making wood, metal and clay sculptures, honoring the royalty and the various professionals. The artists were also efficient in the production of naturalistic art, which required them to capture the expression of a person.

If African art has to be described in just two words, it would be “bold” and “simple”. The traditional African art can be found in the music collections, which is a great treat for our eyes.