The Art of Africa

Discover the diverse arts of Africa from select cultures and time periods on the world’s second largest continent.


Diptych with Mary and Her Son Flanked by Archangels, Apostles and a Saint, Ethiopia, 15th century, tempera on wood, left panel: 8 7/8 x 7 13/16 x 5/8 inches (The Walters Art Museum)
The earliest known Ethiopian icons have been dated to the fifteenth century and typically portray the Virgin and Child, the Apostles, and Saint George.

An Ethiopian icon






Detail of Oba, Benin plaque, MFA, Boston
How to impress your courtiers: a lesson from the Kingdom of Benin

Benin Plaques







This cloth—first woven by a wise spider—sends social messages through a system of specific patterns.

Kente cloth



Christian Ethiopian art
Ethiopia’s Christian heritage predates much of Europe’s, and includes churches hewn from living rock.

Christian Ethiopian art