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African Art

African Art

For centuries art as been used to indicate social status in Africa. Different art forms represent the various roles of men and women in the African societies. There are many examples of African artworks that reflect the strong cultural and traditional values of African civilizations. Art is everywhere in the African life, from the pots and baskets used for cooking and the storing of food to all the hand woven clothes and jewelry worn by the people in traditional cities. African homes are usually decorated with their various art forms. Africans use their sculptures and masks in their religious ceremonies as well. In African societies masquerades often act as an element of social control.
In southeast Africa the brides wear aprons on their wedding day. Although it could simply be clothing, the apron in fact represents much more. It’s not only the mother in law’s artwork, but it also represents the cattle that the bridegroom’s family paid for the bride. This is determined by the fringe on the apron. Southeast Africa is not the only part of Africa that carries the tradition of women wearing their artwork and their artwork speaking volumes of their social status. Maasai women wear necklaces, bracelets, earrings and sometimes even hats made from strands of glass and plastic beads. “Beaded necklaces can be extremely heavy, but many strands are a sign of a woman’s high status. (Bingham, 33) This is also true for Fulani women in northwest Africa. Fulani women wear large circular earrings made from beaten gold. Sometimes these earrings are so heavy she must wear a string over her head to support the weight
of the earrings. The women wear these earrings because they represent how wealthy her husband is. As the husband’s wealth increases, the larger the earrings become. When a woman wears silver it is also a status symbol that displays wealth.
Women are not the only ones in Africa who wear their artwork; men also use their bodies as an artwork canvas. In many...

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