African Architecture

Purposes:

Great Zimbabwe
Tower
Aerial View
Herring Bone Designed Wall
Characteristics:
    • Constructed of granite slabs.
    • Oldest monumental stone structure south of the Sahara 1000-520 B.P (1000-1480AD).
    • Consists of a series of walls and towers.
    • Massive stone masonry, without mortar.

Mande

Tomb of Askia Mohammed
Sankore Mosque at Timbuktu
Mosque at Jenne
Characteristics:
    • Mud architecture with buttresses and parapets called toron
    • Found throughout the Mande world, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast.
    • Date from 1700-100 B.P (1300-1900 A.D).
    • Structures include tombs of religious leaders as well as mosques.
    • Structures have minarets that tower above their roofs.

Oualata

Interior courtyard of house.
Interior room.
View of central courtyard.
Characteristics:
    • Found in Mauritania.
    • Architecture made from stone and covered with adobe.
    • Houses have two stories, flat roofs and interior courtyards.
    • Exterior walls painted with red ochre and doors and windows decorated with curvilinear patterns.
    • Interior of rooms painted white with red motifs. 
    • Motifs inspired by the Arabic script and referred to as arabesques.
    • Painted by Soninke women.

Cameroon

Bamileke architecture
detail with sculptures

 

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This website was last modified September 5th, 2009. It was created and modified by Cynthia Becker, Bolaji Campbell and Janine Sytsma with Professor Henry Drewal.
Additional services donated by the Chicago web design and Madison web design agency NewMedia!