Image: Shoulder’s Cloth (Kente), Ghana, Asante, early 20th century, silk (weft-face plain weave, supplementary weft, hand-sewn). Gift of Barb Rich. Photo by Katie Gardner.

This selection of African art is inspired by the San Diego Zoo’s new Africa Rocks exhibit! Continue your journey through Africa by exploring their new habitats, which spotlight the amazing biodiversity found on the African continent.

Highlights

Chiwara Headdress

20th Century Mali

In Mali, a chiwara is a mythological hero that is part human, part antelope.

Mask

20th Century Democratic Republic of Congo

This mask’s colors, and costume all have symbolic meaning…

Shoulder's Cloth (Kente)

c. 1900-1932 Ghana

From the Ashanti people of Ghana, kente is a royal and sacred cloth and worn only in times of great importance.

Panel

c. 1960 Benin

This appliquéd and sewn cotton banner is typical of the Fon people of Benin, whose textile tradition goes back some 300 years

Protective Figure

20th century Nigeria

For the Yoruba, birds allude to creation and the mystical powers of women.

Chief’s Stool

20th Century Cameroon

Stools in Africa carry social meaning signifying clan or rank or individual identification.

Butterfly (Yehoti) Mask

20th Century Burkina Faso

Can you guess the wingspan of this carved wooden butterfly mask?

Asafo Flag (frankaa)

1900-1950 Ghana

Graphic folk imagery and appliquéd designs illustrate Akan proverbs in which messages to opponents are displayed, customs are remembered and oral traditions are preserved.