African Art History
African art history has played a significant role in shaping the culture and history of the world. The belief that Africa is the cradle of the history of mankind is virtually unshakeable. The origins of African art history lie long before recorded history, preserved in the obscurity of time. Rock Art is centuries old, while shell beads fashioned for a necklace have been recovered in a cave in the furthest reach of the southern peninsula of South Africa that are 75 000 years old.
Rock painting, Herdsmen, African art history, Algeria A study of African art history indicates the earliest sculpture forms found come from Nigeria and are dated around 500BC. The basic subject is the human figure and strong formal qualities were exhibited with strong design features creating balance and harmony. These formal design qualities combined with a powerful spirituality and expressive vigour attracted early twentieth century artists to explore new dynamics in visual art and became the birthstone for modern day abstraction.
Round headed figure, 3000 BC, Niger Giraffe engraving, Niger Rock art is the earliest art form in Africa. We know from human evolutionary science that modern Homo Sapiens began in Africa. It stands to reason therefore that Africa would contain both the oldest and greatest amount of rock art on this planet. The oldest images scientifically dated are in Namibia (the Apollo 11 caves) from about 24-27,000 yrs ago, yet most experts agree that Africa's rock art may date to more than 50,000 years ago. The earliest known rock art preserved in the Saharan sands in Niger dates as far back as 6500 BC. They are carvings known as petroglyphs (drawing or carving on a rock) and depict animals like giraffes that no longer exist in that area. From these images we learn how ancient tribes and cultures viewed their universe around them....
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