Unveiling Arts and Crafts of Africa

By Kudrat Sekhon

Share on

A country’s arts and crafts narrate tons about its history. The rich cultural tapestry embodies centuries of traditions, artistic innovation and even symbolism. African arts and crafts are very well known for their exquisite designs and textures.
Not only is it important to know about African arts and crafts, but it is also very important to learn how to do these. One can take inspiration from these arts and crafts to incorporate them into Indian artforms and make exquisite objects.

Go on and give it a read to learn more African artforms and crafts.

Basket Making: Artisans skillfully use natural and organic materials such as grasses, reeds and fiber to create intricate baskets. Some of the most intricate baskets are made in the Kitui region of Nigeria. The craftsmen use sisal and dye them to make striking colours. Ghana is also known for baskets made out of “river grass” or “elephant grass”. These exquisite objects have leather hands made of goat skin. The patterns on these baskets are either geometric or symbolic in design and are available in beautiful colours.


Mask Making: Masks have been a staple wear in the history of Africa. From diverse materials like animal hide to the very exquisite ivory, masks have been one of the most talked about accessories. Wooden masks are made with a small axe-like tool that creates nice curves according to the features of the face. Further details are added using a knife.


Pottery: Ounjougou pottery is the oldest serving style of pottery. Hand built by African women in their domestic compounds, this style of pottery served as a way of artistic expression. These pots not only served practical purposes in households, but also worked as ornamental pieces.
Jewels and More: Ostrich egg shells have been often used by Africans as ornaments. Various other organic materials like porcupine quills, bones, animal teeth, and carved stones were used to embellish oneself. African beadwork requires skill and is one of the best in the world. Men as well as women both wear jewels made with beads. From extravagant headgears to massive necklaces and bangles, jewels are an essential part of the attire.
African Beads

Textile Art: African countries are well known for their textile. Whether it is designing or manufacturing, textiles like Bogolan, Ankara, adinkara or Kente are famous all over the world for their textures and designs. Conventional weaving, dyeing, and printing methods are used to create fabrics that further cultural narratives. The fabric from Africa is commonly known as brocade or basin fabric. Artisans employ various tools such as mud and calabash gourds to stamp, paint, and press designs onto the fabric.

From intricate beadwork to skilful basketry, African arts and crafts speak tons about the country’s history. Learning about these crafts not only add to one’s knowledge but also inspire one to try something on their own. These arts and crafts preserve identities, rituals of communities and give us a glimpse into the working of a society.