Enjoy the lost beauty of African art

By: thomas.white

Whenever we are looking for ways in which to decorate our house or workplace and we want it to be something really special we should really consider the real alternative we have to everyday art with African design.

Most people have only vaguely heard of African art and the image that they associate it most of the time is that of highly stylized masks. It does seem like those masks have become quite popular but we shouldnít make the mistake of thinking that is what itís all about. The art of Africa is basically very varied and diverse in nature and it may just be the case that we have seen different sculptures in various places and never even realized that it was African in origin. If we wish to get the gest of African design then we should know that there are two ways of doing this: informed or purely for pleasure. We should always try to find out the symbols behind the pieces of art we are interested in as the stories it has can be quite charming and rich.

Many people have taken an interest in African art and for good reasons. While the tools used to give life to these interesting artistic designs were primitive the result was quite astonishing. The complexity of form and the many different materials used make this type of art quite a piece of jewelry. The sculptures made from wood, ceramic or carved out of stone like the famous Shona sculptures can make wonderful decorating items anywhere in our home. It seems that African design has become popular all over the world with the continuing studies made by anthropologists and historians in the field, owning a specific piece of art however is another thing. It can prove to be quite difficult to find something very specific but that is why resources concerning African art have become more readily available. There are books available in many languages as well as dedicate websites in which we can find accurate information.

Probably one of the most popular forms of art of African design is the jewelry. This was due to the fact that it was used in order to indicate a personís rank or affiliation with a certain group. Some of it was also used for purely aesthetic reasons as well and that is probably one of the reasons for which the materials used are so diverse. They range from Tiger's eye stone, haematite, sisal, coconut shell, beads to ebony wood and the combination used made for quite an exquisite work of art. We can enjoy the beauty of African art in various art galleries and museums but nothing compares to having a unique piece of sculpture or jewelry in our very home. Mysterious, out of the ordinary and unique, African works of art can become a fruitful hobby, providing us with many thing we didnít know about a rich and interesting culture.

When it comes to traditional African art the wooden masks that could represent humans, animals or mythical creatures are the most common forms of art throughout western Africa. These masks were used for celebrations, initiation or war preparation and were commonly worn by an initiated dancer. Most of these masks usually represent a certain spirit which was believed to possess those that wore them. Without all the mythical overlay these masks could be viewed as nothing more than primitive sculptures but theirs spiritual significance is what makes them truly special. Whether we are looking to decorate a room in our house, a wall in our office or want to start a serious art collection we should certainly look into African design and art.

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Enjoy the beautiful wonders of Africa with African art. Try out new ideas for decorating your home or workplace with African design.

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