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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Nok, Katsina, Sokoto : Nok Terracotta Horned Head
Nok Terracotta Horned Head - PF.5734
Origin: Nigeria
Circa: 200 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 15" (38.1cm) high x 10.5" (26.7cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Terracotta

Additional Information: Thermoluminescence Tested by Daybreak Archaeometric Laboratory

Location: United States
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The artifacts of the ancient Nok people are among the oldest sculptures found in Africa outside of Egypt. Because their existence was not even know until archaeological expeditions in the 1940’s, almost nothing is known of their customs or culture. However, through recent finds, we can determine the expanse of their civilization and the unity of their artistic style. Although only a fragment, the emphasis of Nok statuary was always on the head, a stylistic tendency still prevalent in black African art. The figure wears a helmet with four horns, a leather type of which continues to be worn today by some tribes in Nigeria. This is a rare subject matter in Nok art. The modeling of his facial features attests to the remarkable artistry of the Nok sculptors. His huge almond-shaped eyes and wide, flat nose are both typical of the style. He has a small, pointed beard that projects from the tip of his chin. There is an overall slant to the posture of his head, further exaggerated by his broad forehead. Thermoluminescence tests conducted at the Daybreak Archaeometric Laboratory affirm the validity of the dating. This piece is a relic from an ancient civilization; a reminder of how rich and beautiful our common cultural heritage really is. - (PF.5734)


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