Andrew World Part 1
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African traditional art

The new year has passed, and winter does not end. Are you tired? Then let’s get to the hottest continent – to Africa, and plunge a little into its history.

Traditional art has a very important place in African culture. Most holidays and rituals, along with dancing, singing and stories, can not do without vivid visual images. Art objects can be weapons or insignia, prestige, and also have religious significance. The art of the peoples of Africa is diverse: these are sculptures, paintings, “fetishes”, masks, figures and jewelry.

The central place still belongs to sculpture, which is undoubtedly the greatest achievement of the African people. The vast majority of sculptures are made of wood, but there are works of metal, stone, terracotta, ivory, as well as very exotic creations from beads and beads, and even stuck from plain earth! Archaeologists have discovered ancient sculptures throughout the African continent, but their largest cluster is in its central and western parts.

Rock painting, by contrast, is most common in the south and east. It is believed that the authorship of most of these drawings belongs to the Bushmen (“people of the steppe”). Drawings of the Bushmen were created by shamans and served as part of religious rituals.

Colorful masks and fetishes are objects designed to scare away evil spirits, witches and ghosts. They were also used as talismans, bringing good luck and protecting from misfortunes.

Main features
The art of Africa has very characteristic features, by which it can always be distinguished from the art of other continents. Firstly, in the center of the image is almost always a human figure. Secondly, African masters rarely strive for realism, more often they resort to simplification of forms and abstraction. Thirdly, distorted, hypertrophied proportions are often used to emphasize movement and dynamics.

Themes of African Art
All the art of the peoples of Africa can be divided into three broad themes. The first of them is a kind of symbiosis of Forest and Settlement. Tribal members wear special masks and outfits, paying tribute to this duality: for example, the masculine principle is presented in the form of an elephant, the strongest animal, and the feminine – on the contrary, in a well-groomed, farthest from the “natural” image, representing civilization and contrasting with the wild, unbridled masculine .

The second topic is the relationship between the sexes. Art in Africa was often used (and is used) as a kind of “therapy” that allows family problems to resolve and evaporate.

The third big topic is the problem of control over natural and supernatural forces in order to achieve the desired.

Each region of the continent has its own style in art. In the western region, it is customary to pay tribute to great ancestors and offer symbolic sacrifices, which very noticeably affects the overall picture of local art objects. In Central Africa, art is more applied, and original earth architecture, embroidery, jewelry and leather products, and intricate hairstyles are common here. But no matter what African craftsmen create, their work is always bright and cheerful, because it is designed to sing life!

Nowadays, African motifs are very popular all over the world. Many souvenir shops can offer products in the “African” style, which people are happy to buy in their homes and decorate their interiors. Do you have something African at home?

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