nature; where the verbal and visual components link through references and allusionsproviding a support system where knowledge of both is needed to gain insight.
Withineach example of art from Africa, individual minutiae can be researched to show that theytoo have their own narratives that independently add interest but as a whole create a literaland figurative puzzle for Art Historians to solve. Belief systems, iconography, imageryand composition all vary from region to region within the continent itself, only being evenmore complicated by a vast system of ornate spoken languages that number in thehundreds.The definition of power in Africa is one that is difficult to come by consideringhow unique each region is in terms of believe systems. Based on unique perspectives,power does not always come from beauty or importance, value or great wealth. Thedistinctive aspects of objects considered both artistic and religious and why they are sopowerful to African people is a complex issue; an amalgam of political, psychological,sociological, and religious and world views collectively. It is near impossible to define“wealth” as seen by all African eyes as there is no singular collective acceptance. To focuson one self described group would help outline how and why certain objects are seen asbeautiful, valued, sources of wealth and power concurrently.A good example of the complexity of the definition of wealth can be found byexamining the Yoruba peoples and their cultural object known as the
or “house of the head” that has proven itself to be almost ubiquitous in the life of Yoruba.
Yoruba arthas been documented throughout many art journals and by many Art Historians and
Abiodun, Akande. "Issues on Yoruba Aesthetic Terminologies."
Nigerian Art REFLECTIONS: A Journal of TheSociety of Nigerian Artists
3 (2003): 34.
Abiodun, Rowland. "Verbal and visual metaphors: mythical allusions in Yoruba ritualistic art of Ori."
WORD IMAGE: African Art and Literature
3, no. 3 (1987): 257.