Terracotta to Glaze: Ceramic Art in Africa from Antiquity to the Islamic Period

African art transcends many objects, materials, regions, and interpretations. From early antiquity, civilizations and societies on the continent were creating objects using ground fragments by mixing and shaping them. These objects became the most indestructible to time, and survive as artistic, cultural, and ideological legacies of these regions. Disrupting the view of the Sahara as an arid barrier between African regions, this seminar will introduce students to a high-level survey of African art through the manipulation of clay at specific regional sites starting with the earliest pottery producing cultures in both Northeast and West Africa that utilized silt and terracotta, to the colorful glazed stonepaste vessels of the Islamic period (c. 4000 BCE-1400 CE). Global connection and communication that impact the cultural transformations of these societies will be investigated. Students will engage with objects from across Africa and from relevant comparative geographical regions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.