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The Indigenous Arts of Nigerian Tribes

Ivory Mask


The Indigenous Arts of Nigerian Tribes

With approximately 182 million people, Nigeria is the populous African nation. It is made up of about 371 ethnic groups which all vary in language and culture. Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba are recognized as the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria. They constitute 70% of the Nigerian population. These groups are often identified by their indigenous dressing, dance style, language, food and art.

‘Nigerian art’ forms part of our history and has served specific purposes in the era of its creation. A purpose that may have been for either traditional or religious activities which defines the culture of such a tribe (Art of Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba and Ibo).

Back in the stone-age, The Igbos made bronze ceremonial vessels a part of their cultural heritage. This vessel can be seen at weddings and traditional ordinations, etc.

The Yorubas have been known for their poetic and artistic history. They specialized in making sculptures which often represented a deity of some sort. They also specialized in bead work, metal work, weaving and mask making. These works are often found today at local art galleries.

The Hausa-Fulani art is somewhat associated with their daily way of living; such routines as farming and animal rearing. It is however mostly influenced by their religious beliefs and spirituality. 

Article by Sema Bassie

Photo Credits: Wikimedia, ArtandArchitecture, Gulabmahal, Vanguard

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