Ancient African artists created some of the world’s first artwork. Ancient African artists first drew and engraved pictures on rocks more than 20,000 years ago.
Other ancient African artists used wood, ivory, bronze, and ceramics as time passed on. Ancient African artists created sculptures, masks, paintings, engravings, jewelry, and pottery.
They also preferred to create three dimensional pieces of artwork like sculptures and masks and did not create much two dimensional artwork such as paintings.
The first ancient African artists worked were hunter-gathers that roamed the vast continent for food and water.
They created their ancient artwork on rocks. The first ancient African artists crafted pictographs on rocks using red ochre, charcoal and ash. The drawings depict animals and humans like shepherds.
After the domestication of cattle in ancient African the pictographs displayed herds of animals. Shamans also created pictographs with drawings of animal/human figures specific to their beliefs.
Ancient African artists began to use different materials to spread their ideas of artwork. For instance, Sao African artists used bronze as earlier as 600 B.C. E. to make pottery, ornaments and masks.
Nok African artists thrived in the area of present day Nigeria and crafted sculptures of animals, heads, and figures beginning around 500 B.C. E. These ancient African artists used bronze but primarily terracotta.
Many of the materials used by ancient African artists like wood have decayed over the years due to the harsh climate that ranges from desert to mountains to rain forest.
The themes that are prominently used by ancient African artists was considered abstract art and not naturalistic art.
The artists concentrated more on three dimensional objects and not painting which is considered two dimensional. They focused on the human body in the artwork.
Ancient African artists did not create art to hang on the wall but for ceremonies or performances.
Ancient African artists and artwork influenced several well-known artists of the 20th century like Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Matisse.
Ancient African artists used a variety of materials in their works. Wood was a preferred material for masks and sculptures. Unfortunately wood rots and is easily consumed by the billions of termites on the continent.
Terracotta and bronze offer the best preserved pieces of ancient African artwork. Intricate sculptures made of bronze were perfected during by the Igbo-Ukwu kingdom in Nigeria.
Ancient African artists used a variety of materials to make adornments on masks, sculptures, pottery, and jewelry.
Artwork was adorned with gold, ivory, gem stones, and several pigments or dye such as red ochre, charcoal, and ash.
Three dimensional pieces
Termites and the Africa’s climate
Rock paintings also known as pictographs
Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Matisse