The "Nok" sculpture of ancient Nigeria
Nigeria, which is known to be the most populous of modern African states, and potentially the strongest, also possesses richer evidence of its artistic past than any other section of the continent south of the Sahara.
Ever heard of the Nok terracotta sculptures from the ham village of jos in kaduna, Nigeria?
In 1944 a terracotta (fired clay) head representing a human being, but a little less than Life size, was discovered by a tin miner at a farm in Jemaa some 140 kilometres south of Jos.
The head was initially used at the farm as a scarecrow to keep away thieves; however after several years, it came to the notice of Bernard Fagg, an archaeologist at the Jos Museum, who immediately noticed that the head was similar in fashion to a previously excarvated terracotta sculpture, "the head of a monkey" which had been discovered during tin-mining operations but had been put away in a box.
A careful lookout for more material of similar style was started and soon enough, materials and evidence were gathered to point out the existence of a previously undiscovered culture.
Fagg travelled through Jos Plateau and
Over time, he was able to gather a significant trove of terracotta, this included some excavations done in the area by his own men. The discoveries were ananalysed, with most of them dating about 2,500 years back.
The renowned terracotta figurines were made from native clay with coarse temper.
Though only a few of the sculptures were found intact, it's clear that they were nearly life-size.
Most were renowned from broken fragments, representing human heads and different body elements which comprised of a cornucopia of beads, anklets, and bracelets.
The Nok terracotta represents the earliest sculptural art in west africa.
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