Seated Figure, Possibly Ife, Tada Nigeria, is unpacked inside The Block Museum.
- Exhibition preparation images - Images of The Block Museum exhibition preparations
- Select exhibition works - Images of artworks and fragments that will be featured in The Block exhibition
- Maps - Maps depict medieval trade routes that crossed the Sahara Desert, linking cities and towns that functioned as trade centers
- Excavations - Images of the sites where some of the fragments were found
- Scene-setting - Modern-day images of the places on the medieval trade routes
Exhibition preparation images
Pictured inside The Block Museum: Seated Figure, Possibly Ife, Tada, Nigeria, Late 13th-14th century, Copper with traces of arsenic, lead, and tin, H. 54 cm, Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments, 79.R18
Researcher inspects Dinar of al-Mustans ̇ir Billaˉh (r. 1036–1094 ce), issued AH 461, struck at Mis ̇r (Cairo). Gold, diameter 22 mm. Bank al-Maghrib, Rabat, Morocco, 521508
Talismanic Textile, Probably Senegal, late 19th or early 20th century, Four panels joined: cotton, plain weave; painted; amulets of animal hide and felt attached by knotted strips of leather,255.2 cm x 178.8 cm, Art Institute of Chicago 2000.326
Kneeling Figure, Natamatao, Mopti region Mali, Terracotta, 12th to 14th century, 46 cm x 22.3 cm x 21.5 cm, Musée national du Mali, Photograph by Seydou Camara,90-25-10
Seated Figure, Possibly Ife, Tada, Nigeria, Late 13th-14th century, Copper with traces of arsenic, lead, and tin, H. 54 cm, Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments, 79.R18, Image courtesy of National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Abuja, Nigeria.
Elephant head, Ife, Lafogido Nigeria, 12th-15th century, Terracotta, H: 15.5, Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments, 63/24a, Image courtesy of National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Abuja, Nigeria.
Virgin and Child, ca. 1275–1300, France, Ivory with paint, 14 1/2 × 6 1/2 × 5 in. (36.8 × 16.5 × 12.7 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917, 17.190.295
Tent poles, Tent poles, Wood, H 136.8 cm W 16.5 cm D 2.8 cm, ©The Field Museum, Image No. A115335d_004A, Cat. No. 279194.1-.2, Photographer John Weinstein
Ivory Casket, Casket. Italy (Sicily), 12th century. Ivory, brass, tempera, gold leaf, 9.5 × 15.9 × 9.7 cm. Art Institute of Chicago, Samuel P. Avery Endowment (1926.389) / Art Resource, NY
Gold Jewelry Ornaments, Tukulor artist, Mauritania, Late - early 20th century, Gold alloy, Gift of the Roy and Brigitta Mitchell Collection, Photograph by Franko Khoury, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution
Tuareg camel saddle (tarik or tamzak), Algerian Sahara. Leather, rawhide, wood, parchment or vellum, wool, silk, tin-plated metal, brass-plated metal, iron, copper alloy, cheetah skin,75 x 71 x 46 cm. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, gift of the Estate of Dr. Lloyd Cabot Briggs, 1975, 975-32-50/11927 © President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
Bowl, Egypt, 11th century, Fritware, lustre-painted, Diameter: 20cm., The Aga Khan Museum, AKM684
Bioconical bead, Egypt or Syria, 10th -11th century Gold; filigree, granulation, "rope" wire L. 7.2 cm, H. 2.9 cm, The Aga Khan Museum, AKM618.
Horseman and Four Figures, Region of Bankoni, Mali, Terracotta, 13th/16th century (based on Thermoluminescence testing), Art Institute of Chicago.
Dinar of al-Mustans ̇ir Billaˉh (r. 1036–1094 ce), issued AH 461, struck at Mis ̇r (Cairo). Gold, diameter 22 mm. Bank al-Maghrib, Rabat, Morocco, 521508. Photograph by Fouad Mahdaoui
Cap with striped inscribed silk, Egypt or Syria, Mamluk period, probably sultanate of al-Nasir al-Din Muhammad (reigned 1293–1341, with two interruptions), 14th century, Lampas fabric, silk and gold, Cleveland Museum of Art, purchase from the J.H. Wade Fund, 1985.5
Manuscript on the stars, the constellations, and the Gregorian calendar. Probably Nigeria, 20th century. Ink on paper, Melville J. Herskovits Library, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, Falke 1107. Photograph by Clare Britt
Ahmad Baˉbaˉ al-Tinbuktıˉ, as dictated to Yuˉsuf al-Isıˉ, The Uttermost Hope in the Preference of Sincere Intention over Action, Timbuktu, Mali, 1592. Ink on paper, 20 x 15.5 cm. Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, Northwestern University Library, Hunwick 541. Photograph by Clare Britt
Muhammad al-Kaˉbarıˉ, Garden of the Useful and Beneficent Mali, probably 19th century. Ink on paper, 17 Å~ 23 cm. Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, Paden 161. Photograph by Clare Britt
Page from the "Blue" Qur'an, 9th-10th century. Ink, gold, and silver (now oxidized) on blue-dyed parchment, 11 3/16 x 15 in. (28.4 x 38.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Beatrice Riese, 1995.51a-b (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1995.51a-b_back_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
Naddo Ceccarelli, The Crucifixion, Siena, Italy, 1350–59. Tempera and gold on wood panel, 76 × 31.6 × 2.5 cm. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, bequest of Henry Walters, 37.737
Ring excavated at Sijilmasa, Morocco, 9th/10th century. Gold, diameter 1.9 cm. Fondation nationale des musées du Royaume du Maroc, Rabat, 2006-1. Photograph by Abdallah Fili and Hafsa El Hassani
Gold jewelry from tumulus 7, Durbi Takusheyi, Nigeria, 13th - 15th century. National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Abuja, Nigeria. Photograph by René Müller
During the medieval period, major trade routes crossing the Sahara Desert linked cities and towns that functioned as trade centers.
Southward the routes connected with the Niger River, a major byway to Africa’s forest region. Northward they connected to the vast trade networks of the Mediterranean Sea, traveling inland across Europe, while eastward they met the Levantine routes and ultimately the Silk Roads of Central and East Asia.
A selection of excavated finds from Essouk-Tadmekka, including fragments of glazed ceramics (among which is an oil lamp), stone beads and semi-precious stones, a cowrie shell, a fragment of silk textile, a carved stone torso, and vessel glass fragments. Institut des sciences humaines, Mali. Photograph by Clare Britt
Excavations within the Sijilmasa mosque, with exposed walls from the “Filalian” period. Photograph by MAPS, 1996
Looking down into excavation unit in Tadmekka from the surface; the image shows digging at depth of approximately 5 meters at the depth of the earliest walls recorded. Photograph by Sam Nixon, 2005
Dromedary camels, loaded with slabs of salt, on caravan route, Timbuktu, Mali, 1971, Photograph by Eliot Elisofon. Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, EEPA EECL 14130
Atlas of Maritime Charts (The Catalan Atlas) [detail of Mansa Musa], Abraham Cresque (1325–1387), 1375, Mallorca. Parchment mounted on six wood panels, illuminated. Bibliothèque nationale de France.
On view in exhibition as reproduction
Gate of the Wind or Bab Fez (Gate to Fez) stands at the northern limit of Sijilmasa. Ancient arcades over a portal were restored in a more recent era. Photograph by Kathleen Bickford Berzock, 2017
The great mosque of Jenne and the Monday great market, August 2013. Photograph by Hamdia Traore
Erg Chebbi dunes. Photograph by Cynthia Becker, 2010
Erg Chebbi dunes. Photograph by Cynthia Becker, 2010
A man rides his camel to market in the Agadez region of central Niger. Photograph by Cynthia Becker, 2009