An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.




"Man with a Bird on a Perch"
The bird may be a gray parrot, associated with magic and sacred divination
Detail of a Carved Ivory Tusk, "Spiral of History"
Congo: Loango Coast, mid to late 1800's
National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington
(Permission Pending) [Link updated 31 August 2005]
This very handsome site, "A Spiral of History," is sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of African Art.  In addition to a map and history of tusk-carving in the Congo in the mid to late 1800's, the site offers 16 closeups from a tusk purchased by the museum in 1996.  The lively detail is extraordinary, as the two samples on my webpages indicate (some scenes of slavery and animal sacrifice are also very haunting).  Brief interpretive data is provided for each image, but the primary focus is on the art. [Link updated 31 August 2005]
"Images of Power & Identity":  This is another handsome exhibit from the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art.  Be sure to read the Introduction.  The site offers "a presentation of some of the most familiar and visually compelling imagery from various cultural groups."  The images include masks, pottery, and jewelry.
This site is arranged by sub-Saharan geographical and cultural regions into 10 subdivisions, with one to seven images/site (click on an image for an enlargement); useful text provides a historical overview of each region.  The images come with physical data:  e.g., size, locale of origin, date, materials used, but, unfortunately, no interpretive data whatever.
[8/31/05: this link is now only available to Middlebury's students but I'm keeping my annotation.]
"Inspired by Dreams: African Art from the Derby Collection":  This is a 1996 site created by the museum staff at Middlebury College with the assistance of students from that year's art department.  The result is an attractive sub-Saharan site with images and text; some essays are very brief, others  more useful (my favorite was on the spiritual and mythic aspects in textiles).  The site is divided into 6 sections: Masking (with 12 masks to click on); Divination; Fertility; Sacred Power; Political Authority; and Textiles.   The site also offers a lengthy bibliography.

(From: Music of the Kalahari)
[8/31/05: this link is now dead but I'm keeping my annotation in case it resurfaces one day.]
This site includes an intriguing essay by Sue Hubbard of London about contemporary Nigerian artist, Sokari Douglas Camp.  She looks at the influence of African masks on western artists and discusses the West's obsession with African masks (which Camp likens to a fetish with the Queen's shoes to the exclusion of the rest of her regalia).  In Africa, masks are valued only in a communial and sacred context, which includes costume, music, and dance.  Sokari Douglas Camp's work attempts to return art to its sacred source.

More to come -- please be patient.




Sub-Sahara: General
Sub-Saharan Folklore
Sub-Saharan Sacred Arts

Sub-Saharan Countries and Peoples:

Niger I: The Country

Niger II: Famine 2005

Songhay People of Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger,  & Nigeria

Hausa People of Niger and Nigeria
& Fulani People of Mali and Niger

Forward toASIA

If you have comments or suggestions,
my email address will be found near the bottom of my home page.

Please note that I cannot help with homework questions -- you will find useful links with tips for doing your own web searches on my Search Engine page.  You will also find excellent resources on my General Reference page.  Good luck with your projects!
This page created with Netscape Gold 3.01
Technical assistance: William Weeks
Text and Design:
Copyright 1998 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
Updated 31 August 2005 in conjunction with launch of Niger page.