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				 African Art
         The traditional art of Africa plays a major part in the
 African society. Most ceremonies and activities (such as singing,
 dancing, storytelling, ect.) can not function without visual art. It
 can also be used as an implement and insignia of rank or prestige, or
 have a religious significance.African art consists mainly of
 sculptures, paintings, fetishes, masks, figures, and decorative
         Sculptures are considered to be the greatest achievement for
 African art. A majority of the sculptures are done in wood but are
 also made of metal, stone, terra-cotta, mud, beadwork, ivory, and
 other materials. It is found in many parts of Africa but mainly in
 western and central Africa. Many ancient rock paintings have been
 found in Southern and Eastern Africa. These paintings are believed to
 be attributed to the SAN (Bushman) people. Masks and fetishes are
 often used to scare off bad things such as evil spirits, witches or
 ghosts. They are also used to bring about a desired end-break a bad
 habit, improve ones love life, or kill a natural or supernatural
         There are three basic themes of African art. The first is the
 dualism between bush and village. African tribes wear masks and
 headresses: the male is represented by the elephant, the most powerful
 of bush creatures and the female is delicately coiffed to express
 refinement and civilization. The second theme of African art is the
 problematic relationships between the sexes.African tribes use art as
 a therapeutic device to deal with the problems and issues dealing with
 the relations between the sexes. The third theme is the struggle to
 control natural or supernatural forces to achieve a desired end.
 African tribes often use masks in ceremonies (called Gelede) to
 please and honor the forces.
         For each region in Africa,there is a different style of
 art. The western Sudanic Region have masks and figures representing
 legendary ancestors and religious sacrifices. The central Sudanic
 Region art includes mud architecture, embroidered textiles, elaborate
 coiffure, metal and beadwork jewelry,and leatherwork. This style
 usually doesnÕt represent anything special. The west Guinea Coast
 Region use masks and figures to police ceremonies,punish people for
 doing something wrong, settle land-owning problems and start or end
 wars. The Central Guinea Coast Region art employs aristocratic
 materials. Specialized artists creature works of art for the leaders
 that include: stools, drums, cloth, pottery, terra-cotta, figures,
 miniature masks, combs, mirrors, pipes, and carved musical
         African art is traditionally essential and optimistic. Without
 art, there would be no African culture.
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