Presented by geographic region, this book provides a comprehensive introduction to the important traditions of African art within the artistic and historical context of each region. Visual Arts of Africa emphasizes gender, power, and life cycle rituals related to African artistic traditions and provides a focus on the social, religious, and political contexts in which much of the art functions. The book presents the diversity of African art by covering a wide range of art forms, from wooden and metal sculpture to textiles, dress, ceramics, architecture, and architectural decoration. It presents the historical and cultural artistic traditions of each geographic region through a range of art forms, from the earliest known documented art works to contemporary works by late twentieth century artists. Also includes recent published field research. A valuable reference book for any reader who wishes a greater understanding of the historical and cultural traditions of African art.