[Virgin and Child, ca. 1275-1300, France, Ivory with paint, Metropolitan
Museum of Art, 1917. Seated Figure, Possibly Ife, Tada Nigeria, Late
13th-14th century, Copper with traces of arsenic, lead, and tin,
Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments.]
An ambitious new exhibition will showcase the splendor and power of
the lost kingdoms and commercial centers of Africa, using centuries-old
artifacts from sites around the Sahara Desert and artwork from West and
North Africa, Europe and the Middle East that reveal the reach of
Saharan networks, in a first-of-its-kind show that will open in January
at the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University.
“Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa”
is the first major exhibition to highlight West Africa’s global reach
in the medieval period of the 8th to 16th centuries by looking directly
at its material remains through loans from Mali, Morocco and Nigeria.
exploring the global impact of Saharan trade routes on a medieval
economy fueled by gold, the exhibition upends historical misconceptions
and demonstrates Africa’s influence on medieval Europe, North Africa,
the Middle East and beyond.
“Caravans of Gold” will debut at The
Block Jan. 26 through July 21, 2019, before traveling to the Aga Khan
Museum in Toronto in September 2019 and the Smithsonian’s National
Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., in April 2020.