Nigeria has an indication of the early human life that dates to 1500 BC. This is evident in its cultural arts discovery as well as archaeological findings. The Nok culture was one of the earliest societies of Western Africa. It existed in modern-day Nigeria from around 1500 BC and died under unknown circumstances in 500 AD.
Nok culture also referred to as Nok Civilization was practised in the northern part of Nigeria. The people of Nok were farmers and cattle rearers.
Cultural arts are transformational and are a collaboration of different art forms amongst a people. These arts also encompass their contemporary visual culture alongside other art forms; that is visual art, literature, music, theatre, film, dance, etc.
African Art Includes;
- ancient art
- the Islamic art of West Africa
- the Christian art of East Africa
- and the ritualistic art of these and other regions.
Characteristics of Nok culture
Not much is known of the Nok culture other than its ironworks and terracotta sculptures. This is because of natural erosion and deposition. Nok terracottas scattered at various depths throughout the Sahel grasslands; causing difficulty in the dating and classification of the mysterious artefacts. Luckily, two archaeological sites, Samun Dukiya and Taruga both in present-day Northern Nigeria; were found containing Nok art that had remained unmoved.
Another important characteristic of the Nok culture is their use of iron technology. They were significant for being one of the few civilizations in the world. It transitioned from stone tools straight to iron tools without first learning how to make copper or bronze tools.
The Unique Features Of Nok Sculptures Comprise of:
- conformed treatment of the mouth and eyes
- corresponding proportions of the head
- body and feet
- deformation of the human facial features
- and use of animal forms.
Places Where NOK Can Be Seen
Many of the distinct features of Nok art may be seen in later developments of Nigerian art developed in areas such as Ife, Benin City, Igbo Ukwu, and Esie.
The first Nok terracotta discovered in 1928 by Colonel Dent Young. He was also a co-owner of a mining partnership in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria.
Since the 1970s, Nok terracotta figures have heavily looted. In February 2013, the Federal Ministry of Information Nigeria repossessed five Nok statuettes looted by a French thief. The pieces also seized by French customs agents and repatriated following a Nigerian Government directive.