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Forum LockedAfrican Civilization - Nok Culture

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dieheart View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dieheart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: African Civilization - Nok Culture
    Posted: 04-Apr-2009 at 21:01
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVT--v-fAKw&feature=channel_page

Please watch the video.


Very little is known about these people, but looking at the pictures and sculptures in the video, they clearly where very intellegent people. Who they were influenced by, and who they influenced we dont know. But I want more of a discussion on these people. If you look at those sculptures, It amazes me how they did this back then. I want these historians, and Egyptophiles, to start focusing on other African "negriod" cultures in Africa.




Edited by dieheart - 04-Apr-2009 at 21:11
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2009 at 22:03
I's interesting that you find this 'amazing' or even surprising. The power of African art, of which the Nok culture is an example) has been recognised since the late 19th century, especially influenciing, e.g. the Fauves, Picasso and Brancusi, as well of course as African-descent Western artists like Barbara Chase.
 
Which isn't to say it has been given full acknowledgement in art history. Janson's otherwise encyclopedic History of Art for instance doesn't provide a full section on it. The situation has mproved in the last decade or so: Amazon I note has a couple of books for instance on Nok art.
 
I could have done without the pseudo-imposing (and Western) music though: in fact I switched the soundtrack off after a few minutes. Why not use some African music?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dieheart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2009 at 22:13
Yea I didn't like the music either. But I really hope more about this culture is found out. Theres art of them riding on horses etc, which adds a bit of light into what they could have possibly been doing etc, but their religions, beliefs etc are still blank.

As far as those books, as soon as I get the chance I'll be picking a few of them up.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Apr-2009 at 01:24
Very interesting. I like the Ancient archaeology of Nigeria that seems to be the most promising research area of West Africa.
 
With respect to religious beliefs, music and other cultural patterns, I wonder if they are related to the Yoruba religion (Orishas) and rythmic music that also influenced places like Cuba and Brazil in the Americas. Also I wonder if the Nok spoke Yoruba or a  similar language at theirs Golden Age.
 
If we compare the arts of Nok with Ife, for instance, we see that this first culture has a more abstract culture. It is very likely that this was the origin of the style that impressed Picasso so much when he started "modern" art, at the beginning of the 20th century.
 
The discovery of iron is interesting, although I wonder if it wasn't discovered before in the same area. The reason for that question is that it is still undecided if iron was discovered first in Eurasia or in Africa. It could be that the origin of it is in West Africa. The only way to answer that question is with further research.
 
 
 
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Apr-2009 at 03:57
Originally posted by dieheart

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVT--v-fAKw&feature=channel_page

Please watch the video.


Very little is known about these people, but looking at the pictures and sculptures in the video, they clearly where very intellegent people. Who they were influenced by, and who they influenced we dont know. But I want more of a discussion on these people. If you look at those sculptures, It amazes me how they did this back then. I want these historians, and Egyptophiles, to start focusing on other African "negriod" cultures in Africa.


Egyptologists aren't likely to focus on these groups any time soon. They were not in any sort of regular contact; if they knew of each other, it was as a very distant, perhaps semi-mythical, land - the same as the Romans knew of India, but you wouldn't look to a Roman scholar to tell you about ancient India. 

The basic problem with alot of these African civilizations is that it is very, very difficult for archaeologists to do their work in these countries. With non-literary cultures, the history starts with the archaeological work and if there is no funding and the sites are not secure, very little of that work is going to get done. If the archaeologists can't do their work, there is very little material to draw from for historians and thus you will have very few specialists in these fields. That's the situation we have today, and it is very unfortunate, but it cannot be expected that the Egyptologists can solve it! What's needed is more funding and better conditions for archaeological work in Africa. When that's achieved, the work will give rise to specialists in these cultures who can establish them as interesting in their own right (and not via tenuous connections with better-known cultures like Egypt). 

Think, for a moment, about all the interest in the Celtic phase of Iron Age Europe. There's been alot of archaeological work, there are many specialists, the art and many facets of the culture are widely known in the general public, and the Celts are regarded as interesting in their own right (and not because of some connection to a foreign culture). Like the Nok, they were skilled in art and ironwork; but they built few great monuments (Newgrange and Stonehenge belong to earlier peoples), no great cities, they did not have a written language, did not document their way of life in stone carvings or the like, etc. Archaeologically speaking they are a very similar case. What I'm saying is that cultures don't need to build pyramids or conquer vast empires or have great cities to generate scholarly and public interest. Amazing art, rich culture, and skilled craftsmanship are sufficient, and the Nok have it all in spades; but they don't have the funding or the conditions for good archaeological work to establish more for historians to discuss and publish.



Edited by edgewaters - 06-Apr-2009 at 04:06
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Apr-2009 at 10:31
That was educational, even if the clip had a tendency to spell out what's obvious.

I wonder if there are any theories why they chose to use such big. drooping heads for the statues. Look at that rider f.ex., where both the horse and man have huge heads and small bodies. Clearly the makers did not intend these statues to be naturalistic, which begs the question of what was the idea behind it.
Hwæt! wē Gār-Dena in geār-dagum,
þeod-cyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Apr-2009 at 04:04
This style is not naturalistic but abstract. In fact, modern abstract art was based in West African ancient arts, and Picasso himself say so when founding cubism. However, the Ife culture -other culture of the region- had a style which was absolutelly realistic. If you ask me, I personally preffer the arts of Ife. Pictures:
 
 
 
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Apr-2009 at 10:51
This is not abstract art at all, and Picasso as far as I know (and I've spent a lot of time looking) never painted an abstract painting in his life.
 
'Abstract' does not mean 'not naturalistic'. Otherwise you'd have to classify El Greco as an abstract artist. Abstract art does not represent anything whereas Nok sculpture certainly represents people or animals, possibly gods or other supernatural beings, no matter in how distorted a fashion.
 
This is a Picasso painting sometimes referred to as 'abstract' but it quite clearly represents a girl:
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dieheart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Apr-2009 at 12:49
I was going to do a seperate thread on this culture as well. But yea , when I first found out about the Ife , I was floored. I rarely hear about anything of these great interesting African cultures.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote AksumVanguard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Apr-2009 at 18:31
There has been a lot of early stone structured  settlements dating back  from 2000 BCE to 1000BCE.The  ancient cities of Jenna -Jene and Tachitta Walata are examples of the sttlements of Mande peoples in the Sahealian. It is claimed to be the one of earliest developemnts of cilvilzation  in the Sub-Saharan Africa.The Wagadou and the Nok Culture are thought to be closely related

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Ghana_Empire

Some archaeologists think that the Mandé are among the first people on the continent, outside the Nile region and Ethiopia, to produce stone settlement civilizations. These were built on the rocky promontories of the Tichitt-Walata and Tagant cliffs of Mauritania where hundreds of stone masonry settlements, with clear street layouts, have been found. Dating from as early as 1600 BC, these towns had a unique four-tier hierarchy and tribute collection system. This civilization began to decline around 300 BC with the intrusion of Berber armies from the Sahara, but with later reorganization and new trade opportunities, the Wagadou/Ghana Kingdom arose. This polity seems to have inherited the social and economic organization of the Tichitt-Walata complex.

http://louisville.edu/a-s/history/herlin/textsup.htm

-500 to -200                 Iron use spreads rapidly throughout West Africa, stimulating population growth, trade, and urbanization.  Iron-age peoples of Nok (modern Nigeria) produce magnificent terra cotta sculptures stylistically ancestral to later Yoruba and Benin art.  Indirect trade continues across increasingly well-marked Saharan trails, still traversed by horse or ox-drawn vehicles.

http://www.viamigo.com/img/l/p_o_s_t/54/mauritania-ancient-cities.jpg
http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/giraffe/tuareg/agadez2.jpg


Edited by AksumVanguard - 15-Apr-2009 at 02:26
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