Art, Art History, and the Study of Africa

Patrick McNaughton and Diane Pelrine

in African Studies

ISBN: 9780199846733
Published online October 2012 | | DOI:
Art, Art History, and the Study of Africa

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  • African History
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African cultures have created sumptuous and subtle art in numerous materials for many millennia. Change has been constant, as we know from the ancient arts of Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Mali. Recognition of the continent’s artistic complexity and sophistication came slowly in the West, and the study of African art is little more than a century old. This bibliography introduces the sub-Saharan art literature, providing a historiographic overview, and presents recent resources. The field is vast, so other bibliographies will cover modern and contemporary African art and the arts of regions, nations, and ethnic groups, as well as African ceramics, textiles, basketry, jewelry, and other metal creations, architecture, and body arts and embellishments. North Africa and the Sahara are also left to a future bibliography; they have many touch points with sub-Saharan Africa but are simultaneously quite distinct. The small number of entries pertaining to eastern and southern Africa reflects the much smaller art literature for those areas. Sections in this bibliography include early (pre-1970) works, methodology and state of the discipline, overviews and surveys, reference works and visual resources, bibliographies and databases, journals, archaeology, and several important topics: aesthetics; style and ethnicity; artists and authorship; leadership; spirituality; materials and techniques; performance; exhibiting African art; and buying, selling, and repatriation. We thank Jessica Hurd for suggestions.

Article.  12881 words. 

Subjects: African History ; African Languages ; African Music ; African Philosophy ; African Studies

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