Ancient African Art and architecture
Ancient African Art and architecture mostly reflects the time, needs and place in which it was established. Though the works of art are situated in different geographical regions there seems to be several similarities.
Djenne Mosque Mall
Mali is in the Black Africa part of the African continent. It is in here the Great Djenne Mosque is situated. The native black Africa has, and still suffered many years of poverty and political instability despite having gained independence (Creswell and Allan, 56). Though black Africa seems to be the same, it is further divided into two, with West Africa and East Africa on the other side. The West Africa is composed of the Songai culture while East Africa is predominantly Swahili culture.
Black Africa has the culture of earth. This is different from the culture of wood and stone predominant in other parts of the continent. In most cases, people here preferred sun-dried bricks. This reason could perhaps be attributed to earth being readily available and cheap. Earth is also considered warmer as compared to other building material. Thus, the economical status of that time made earth the preferred material in many buildings (Creswell and Allan, 86). The town of Djenne in Mali has elements of the past earthen structures still in place. Since the town was a trade centre, there was contact with the outside world.
The great Mosque in Djenne is the most famous in Mali. Most of the buildings one was rebuilt in modern times though they have still retained their ancient architecture. The Great Mosque is a clear representation of Mali’s earthen culture.
The great Mosque of Kairouan.
This mosque is established in Tunisia. This mosque was situated in Kairouan ideally for communal prayers on Friday. Just like the other mosques, it is adorned with Islamic religious art and motifs. The prayer hall is supported by several columns and like other mosques, it has an open courtyard.
The mosque was established as an intellectual centre. This mosque is famous in Timbuktu as a learning centre. It has four Madrassas and it is also here that the University of Timbuktu is located. The single tower of the mosque epitomizes the Malian antique culture. It is also claimed that the mosque’s building materials included burnt bricks and other crude stones.
This is the symbol of Kairouan daily activity, success and prestige. It was constructed at the visible part of the city. This is also where Maliki school of Sunni Islam sciences.
Dingerey Mosque, Timbuktu, Mali
Timbuktu has also been known as “The City of Gold”. Timbuktu was also a trading centre just like Djenna. However, in Tumbuktu trade was mainly salt and gold ( Ettinghausen et al. 345). What is more surprising is that school, which in Muslim university was adjoined to the mosque. This shows the connection of religion and education. Further, it can be noted that most mosques were established at the centre of growth and prestige.
There seems to be a big semblance in the ancient architecture of the mosque discussed. Worth noting is the role their establishment as religious centers as well as renowned educational centers. Schools and universities were established to show the strong interconnection between religion and education. Further I the defiled plans, it can be seen that there were libraries established solely for educational and religious purposes. All in all it can be concluded that ancient African Art accommodated architectural designs based on their contact as well as their places where they are situated.
Creswell, Kisiel and James Allan, A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture (Cairo:
The American University of Cairo Press, 1989). Print
Richard Ettinghausen, Oleg Grabar, Marilyn Jenkins-Madina, Islamic Art and Architecture,
650-1250 (New York: Yale University Press, 2001). Print