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Triangular eyes and perforated pupils, noses, mouths, and ears combine to depict men and women with bold, abstracted features. Nok artifacts are clay figurines of animals and stylized human beings, usually heads; perforated eyes of an elliptical or triangular shape are typical of the style. It is interesting to note that a similar emphasis on the head in later African art traditions often signifies respect for intelligence.

Culture and Traditions

Nok people are famed for their terracotta sculptures. The Nok culture, named after the settlement of the same name, flourished in southern West Africa (modern Nigeria) during the Iron Age from the 5th century BCE to the 2nd century CE. Nok was the first known culture in West Africa to produce such art and perhaps the first sub-Saharan culture.

Donation Details

Michael Wasserman donated in the year 2002.


The Appraised Amount is $8,000.00.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

J. B . Coleman Library


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