By Pamela Rydzewski, Robert Robinson, E. F. Candlin and D. F. Bratchell (Auth.)
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Library of Congress Catalog Card quantity: 53-11064
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Theories that artistic influences filtered down from the latter sources are not supported by any conclusive evidence. There is a strong likelihood that they were influenced by the earlier Nok tradition (Fig. 3). We do not know the length of the period over which the sculptures were created, though most scholars seem to agree on the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries as the probable date when the tradition was AFRICAN TRIBAL SCULPTURE 37 at its height. What little we know of the people of the ancient kingdom of Ife (see Fig.
The power and wealth of the king or chief varies according to the size of the tribe, which can range from thousands to several millions, and also his own military strength and success. For most tribes, farming supplemented by fishing and hunting is the principal means of existence; trading in some cases produces a few luxuries. In the longer period of tribal existence, before the gradual 29 30 ART AND HUMAN EXPERIENCE introduction of European technology, Africans lived very close to nature and were very much at the mercy of natural forces.
Priests, who normally serve specific gods, use magic in ritual for the community in general ways, but the witch doctors, often abused by Europeans, have very special tasks. They are trained to detect the greatly feared witches and sorcerers so that these may be destroyed or cast out of the community, and to cure people who have been bewitched by the art of black magic. There are also diviners, who specialise in the diagnosis of ailments and the solution of problems by inspiration, and herbalists who know the magical properties and curative powers of herbs.