The following works will be among 250 artworks and fragments on display Jan. 26 to June 21, 2019 at The Block.
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
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 or Syria, 1293/1341, Brass inlaid with silver, The Aga Khan Museum, AKM610.
Biconical 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.