Ancestors of Congo Square

African Art in the New Orleans Museum of Art

William A. Fagaly (ed.)

    ISBN: 978 1 85759 698 4

    Size: 305 x 229 mm / 9 x 12 in.

    Binding: hardcover

    Pages: 376

    In association with:

    Date published: June, 2011

    UK £50 /US $75


  • The most complete book in print on this prestigious collection, considered one of the best African Art holdings in the United States
  • Features new scholarship by fifty of the most prominent African art scholars from around the world, all universally recognised as the tops in each of their specialised fields of work
  • Published as part of the year-long centennial celebration of the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2011


Featuring exquisite examples of tribal arts, the New Orleans Museum of Art’s collection of sub-Saharan African art is considered one of the best of its kind in the United States. West and Central Africa are two major areas of traditional tribal art production that are well represented, particularly the Igbo, Yoruba, Benin, Ijo and Ibibio peoples in Nigeria, and the Chokwe peoples in Angola. Among the Yoruba objects are three rare sculptures by the renowned master carver Olowe of Ise and two by Areogun of Osi-Ilorin. The book also features an 18th-century shrine figure of Onile, one of seven extant large copper alloys from the Osugbo Society. Other major strengths include artworks from the Djenne, Bamana, Dogon, Baule, Fang, Tabwa, Luba and Bembe peoples. Exquisitely carved architectural elements from the Yoruba, Dogon, Bamana, Benin and the Babanki kingdoms are also highlighted. Among the many fascinating objects illustrated are masks, figures, textiles, furniture, costumes and marionettes, as well as rare examples of jewellery and musical instruments. Providing rich information on the history and function of each piece within its societal context, as well as full documentation of provenance, this historic volume will be essential to all those interested in African art and culture.

Author information

William A. Fagaly has served as The Francoise Billion Richardson Curator of African Art at the New Orleans Museum of Art for over forty years.