The value of art : studies in the material character of the terracotta figurines of the Nok Culture of Central Nigeria

  • Since 2009 has the central Nigerian Nok Culture – until then primarily known for its highly artistic terracotta figurines and early evidence of iron working in the first millennium BCE – been the focus of a research project by the Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, Germany. The analysis of Nok sculptures has so far been almost entirely restricted to their stylistic features which show such great similarities that one hypothesis of the Frankfurt project has been the possible central production of these artfully crafted figurines. This volume, written within the scope of a dissertation project completed in 2015, challenges this hypothesis by using scientific materials analysis. Combining the results of the mineralogical and geochemical analyses as well as geographic and geological observations, an alternative model for the organisation and procedure of the manufacture of the famous Nok terracottas is suggested. They were – as the domestic pottery that is used for comparison and differentiation in this study – manufactured with locally available raw materials (clay and temper) but in different manufacturing sequences with regard to temper and clay composition. The terracottas’ clay was obviously reserved for their production only, demonstrating – aside from stylistic similarities – the value these figurines had during the Nok Culture.

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Author:Christina Beck
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Peter BreunigGND, Rüdiger KrauseORCiDGND
Advisor:Peter Breunig
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2016/12/15
Year of first Publication:2016
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2015/11/02
Release Date:2016/12/15
Tag:Nok Culture; Scientific Materials Analysis; Terracotta Figurines
Page Number:216
Institutes:Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaften / Kulturwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:7 Künste und Unterhaltung / 79 Sport, Spiele, Unterhaltung / 790 Freizeitgestaltung, darstellende Künste, Sport
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht