Nok terras

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The Nok terras

Consisting of human and animal figures and believed to have been made between 500 BC and 200 AD are reputed to be the oldest sculptures in Africa, South of the Sahara. Like most other African traditional art forms, the Nok terra cottas were of religious and social signifi cance. Although considerable archaeological work remains to be done in order to establish the extent of Nok influence in other West African sculptures, it has been fairly established that the culture that pro duced the terra-cottas had a substantial influence in later sculptures that developed in West Africa and Nigeria in particular, the art of lfe, Benin and Owo have been cited as clear examples. The discovery of Nok art is important in the history of African art because it brought about a change in previously held view that the oldest African traditional sculp tures were only a few hundred years old. Identified by Bernard Fagg in 1943, the culture which produced this art has shed new light on the achieve ment of the people who are believed to have known how to work in iron, using indigenous technology, as revealed by large quantities of iron aitefacts. A study of the terra-cottas and associated artefacts indicates that the Nok culture is in many ways similar to that of the present inhabitants of the same area. [1]