mémoire d'afrique

The first history of Africa was recorded in terracotta. And it is in terracotta that the oldest works of art are to be found. Some have existed for as many as 3,000 years owing to the naturally resistant properties of terracotta. By contrast, any metal artworks have been melted down and the metal reused. Wood artifacts became the nourishment of termites. Terracotta, however, has little raw material value and was not the object of early-day recyclers; in fact, it remains the oldest bearer of African heritage. Terracotta is also the foundation for this website, brought to you by a team of experts, art-lovers, collectors, enlightened amateurs, connoisseurs and neophytes from all over the world.

When art meets science, and logic meets emotion...

Nok terracotta art is a landmark in the history of Africa and its heritage, literally an ancient culture emerging from the earth. This lost civilization, miraculously rediscovered less than a century ago, today offers up brilliant masterpieces in the form of unique and rare sculptures.

The majority of the pieces exhibited here have been expertly authenticated, subjected to scientific dating using thermoluminescence, dated and certificated.

The Akan people consist of several different ethnic groups in Ghana (Ashanti, Fanti, Anyi, Akie). They have been working in terra cotta since the 16th century. These ethnic groups made terra cotta sculptures for their deceased until the 18th century, in the form of heads, chests, and seated or standing figures. Most of their production was in heads. Tradition dictated that these heads, representative of kings, queens, members of the royal court, and warlords, be brought together in a special commemorative location, distinct from the burial place.

Our website covering this Akan civilization is an homage to this custom and invites you to leaf through its pages as a form of modern ritual.

According to a legend which still exists today, the Sao were a people of powerful giants. They professed that their origins were to be found in Jerusalem, going back to a woman who left Zion bringing with her a pair of twins. This brother and sister were confined to each other and later married, giving these Sao giants an incestral origin.

We invite you to discover this society of giants and their touching history of lost civilization, by the archaeological traces which they left behind...

Contrary to Nok statuary, the terra cotta pieces discovered on Koma and Bulsa territory, also called Komaland, are not prehistoric or archaeological pieces. The statues that have been unearthed have been dated using thermoluminescence tests to the period between the 14th and 19th centuries. This makes them relatively young pieces in comparison to the history of humanity, but they are of undeniable artistic interest, and their spiritual qualities are quite universal.

Curiously, these pieces are not well known, so we invite you to better understand them...

Africa has seen brilliant civilizations born on its continent through the centuries. Sometimes, all that remains of them are incomparably beautiful and forceful artistic vestiges. Djenné are these. All the terra cotta pieces found in the very rich excavation sites around the town of Djenné-Djono, whose name means "Spirit of the waters" in Bozo, are attributed to this lost civilization.

Genius is hiding everywhere in these superb archaeological pieces that Theodore Monod first discovered in 1943...

Africa has seen brilliant civilizations born on its continent through the centuries. Sometimes, all that remains of them are incomparably beautiful and forceful artistic vestiges. Bura are these. Among these statues are the oldest equestrian terra cotta statuettes from the Niger basin. Not much literature, a few documents, scant information, and even smaller number of treasures and sculptures exist to be seen.

This is the challenge of our charge...

Accueil Nok Akan Sao Koma Djenné Bura asinda