nok culture: nok, nok, who’s there? yoruba! yoruba who?

A common stock of philosophical and metaphysical speculation and belief. An internal coherence , secret wisdom and apprehension of realities equal to what the white man conceives themselves to have attained…

Awareness of Africa by the ancient Egyptians appears as early as the tomb of Huy or Amenhotep, viceroy in Nubia during the reign of Tutankhamen ( 1361-1352 B.C.) In it, the Nubian princes are shown doing homage to Tutankhamen. In the Nile plain north of Khartoum the ruins still remain of Nubian cities indicating that the civilization was a rich and powerful one, treading as far afield as India and China and profoundly influencing the rest of Africa...Image:

If we look at the courtly arts of Ife and Benin within the African tradition; they are “eccentric” only to the point that the societies which produced them had developed highly centralized forms of divine kinship and a corresponding requirement from their artists. If completely African, then how and through what diversity of experience did these arts emerge? The Yoruba people who built the old empire of Oyo, whose “holy city” was Ife, are now believed to have entered their historic homeland at about the same time that the Normans began casting envious eyes on Anglo-Saxon England.

The numerous discoveries at Ife established its preeminence as the Greece of ancient Africa. This example from the 12th-14th century has a classical simplicity that rivals European efforts at a comparable time in terms of realism and sophistication. Image:

Were they all part of the lost tribes of  Israel scattering in clusters over the world?  After all, they were not the only ancestors of Yoruba civilization , any more than William of Normandy’s four thousand knights were the only ancestors of British civilization. They were a relatively small group of travelers, but hard-tried and well-armed, of unclear origins who conquered and settled and then were absorbed among those peoples.

---The Catalan Atlas, 1375, by Abraham Cresques – detail showing Northern and western Africa, It shows the King Mansa Musa of Mali (1312-1337) and Lord of Guinea, Mansa Musa, holding a large nugget of gold) trading with the nomad on the left. In the captions it states ‘Musa Mali, Lord of the Africans of Guinea. So abundant is the gold which is found in his country that he is the richest and most noble king in all the land’. Notice it only depicts his gold and resources. This map, tales of the splendor of his court and his riches fired up the imaginations of traders all over Europe and the middle east. ---Read More:

These what are termed “non-Yoruba ancestors” were the highly artistic and ingenious people of the Nok culture, so-called after the name of a village where some of their characteristic terra-cotta figures were first recovered. It has been surmised that Ife is the “fabled spot” where God created man and from whence they dispersed all over the earth. However that may be, the certain fact is that the Yoruba took over a tradition which they found among the populations with whom they settled; and this, evidently, was a Nok tradition.

---The African artist who made this brass plaque took care to make the man in the middle look bigger than the other people. Why? Because the man with the spiky head dress was an Oba, or king, of Benin in West Africa. The Oba's attendants hold shields to protect him, and shade him from the hot sun. His royal regalia is made from red coral - a rare imported material. This piece of art is called a 'Benin bronze', though it's actually made of brass (a mixture or alloy of copper and zinc), not bronze (copper and tin).---Read More:

But then the Yoruba also have another tradition, parallel but contradictory. They believe that they came from the East, from the lands of the Nile and beyond for which there is some partial confirmation in a number of their cultural traits; possibly from Meroe capital of the Kushite state that flourished on the middle Nile between the sixth century B.C. and about A.D. 320 when its last ruler was overthrown by the armies of Abyssinian Axum.

---Bronze Plaque (16th century) The Museum has a renowned collection of brass plaques, often called “Benin bronzes,” from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin (located in present day Nigeria). This plaque celebrates a general at the Isiokuo war festival. Two high-ranking soldiers flank him as he raises his eben to dance to the musicians’ gongs and tru

.---Read More:


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One Response to nok culture: nok, nok, who’s there? yoruba! yoruba who?

  1. James Adeola says:

    I am a Yoruba and proud!

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