The Arts of Central Africa

Reliquary figure, Fang culture, Mid 19th c. Wood. Private Collection Hello Class! The focus of our fourth discussion is the arts of central Africa and Kongo, including the Fang, Kota, Kuba.  I would like to focus this discussion on the ancestor reliquaries and power images created by the above mentioned cultures.  Ancestor reliquaries and power images served distinct functions including assisting in crop production, channeling the protective power of the ancestors, divination, healing and the recording of information.   Please select an an example of an ancestor reliquary or power figure from the readings and answer the following questions: 1) Identify the location, date and materials used in the creation of the work of art you select. 2) Identify the subject matter and style of the work of art.   What is represented- is the image of a man, woman, or a combination of figures?  Is the representation realistic, abstract or a combination of styles? 3) Discuss the function of the work of art.  For example, the Nkisi power sculptures from Kongo may have been used for a variety of purposes depending on how the sculpture was “activated” by a priest.  Please make sure to complete the readings on Central African art before completing this discussion. Also, make sure to view the video in the Module on Nkisi for additional information on the subject.  Thank you!

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