Sculpture tropical and South Africa – description

The sculpture of the peoples of Africa has long attracted lovers all over the world for its originality and dissimilarity to the usual work of traditional Western art. The undoubted advantage of works of African artists is their peculiar understanding of the reality of the image, as well as the sacred nature of all art.


Magic statues – the largest group of sculptures in tropical and southern Africa. For Africans, these sculptures are the embodiment of forces of nature, they can accumulate the energy of life and release them. Often are small figures of a man with big horns, between which is placed a mask (usually, this image of tribal chiefs, shamans, healers and other people with strong energy).


African masks are the bulk of the Museum’s collections of African culture in Europe and America. Mask – an indispensable attribute of the most magical rituals, festive processions and ritual dances. The most common masks are made of wood, rarely of ivory. Despite the fact that African masks are characterized by an extraordinary variety, each of them is made in accordance with the strict canons of the tribes.

Sculpture in traditional African culture is closely connected with the cult of ancestors. In the works of the masters read a special view of the world, the desire to Express the emotional world of man, a special aesthetics that defines the beauty, the closeness to nature, appropriateness and harmony.


Ideas about the aesthetics in Africa differ from the European. Often, from the point of view of Europeans, sculptors too close attention to the genitals of the depicted people. However, in the framework of the cult of fertility is the natural and inevitable acceptance. Abstract and schematic image of the body and facial features can also be explained with a special attention to inner peace and connection with the cult of ancestors. Every sculpture is closely linked with the world of the dead, which is very different from the world of the living and is a picture of the internal essence of things in the wizard view, expressed by a complex code language.

In addition to images of men and gods, many statues represent the image of totem animals and zoomorphic images. World museums full of these masterpieces of African sculpture of the peoples of the Congo, Mali, côte d’ivoire, etc.


Special plastic, lines, and emotion of the African sculptures in the late 19th century had a strong influence on the emergence of new trends in European painting. Such masters as Picasso, Braque, Matisse, inspired by abstract African sculptures, he created his best work.

Contemporary African sculptors working in the traditional manner but using modern materials, including plastic, but the main material is wood and ivory. According to the tradition of sculpture in ivory – the attributes of the Royal palaces, so they are done carefully and elegantly.

Svetik (6 Feb 2017 10:34)

Thank you very much for the information!)

Fedor (25 Jul 2019 13:52)

A very interesting collection.If You have the address of the master that he can
write about yourself . With respect Fedor