The Rock Art Depicting Five Red Figures and The Old Mosque Restored – Comparing and Contrasting Artworks

One of the major wonders of Africa and very unique artwork is the painting of unique religious buildings. In Mali, there is a mosque known as Great Mosque of Djenne. This was the work of Sudano-Sahelian. Apparently, it is one of the largest structure in the world that is built with mud.

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Djenne was founded between the year 800 and 1250 C.E. (Baker, 2004). Apparently, it was flourishing as a great center for learning, commerce, as well as Islam. Islam in the region was being practiced from the beginning of the 13th Century. The structure as drawn by Dubois, was very compact. The drawings clearly indicate the difference in the sizes of the two mosques. There have different iterations of the mosque. The mosque’s most present and also the third iteration were completed by the year 1907 (Kostof, 1995). Apparently, the construction of the mosques was presumably conducted in the year 1892. It is during this year that the French were in occupation of the city. The artistic work that is present in the mosques is quite exemplary. Apparently, the great mosque as seen in the present day is the 3rd reconstruction. It was completed in the year 1907.

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The traditions followed by the Dubois was quite unique. To this effect, the building of the mosque was made using mud. The local community even after the encouragement of the French tourists could not change the status of the mosque from temporary to permanent (Bourgeois, 1987). They refused to do so even after being offered help. They based their reasons on several factors. They believed that the yearly repair work that was conducted at the mosque is what unified the community. Apparently, being one of the largest built mud structures in the world, the formation of the walls and other structural aspects of the mosque are quite exemplary and great art works.

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On the other hand, there are more than fifteen thousand rock engravings and paintings. These paintings date back to almost 12,000 years back. The Tassil became very famous in this region during that time. This art depicted elephant and giraffes and other human activities like dancing and hunting. In this area, there were plenty of round head paintings that were done (Lajoux, 1963). The first was done and actually published by the famous Henri Lhote in the early 1950s. To date, some of these paintings are considered to be in of the largest in the whole world. Some measured up to 13 feet in height.

To the North African artists, the style used in the rock art varied from the rest. However, there are some common things between these paintings. Most of the images were figurative in nature (Vinnicombe, 1976). According to Vinnicombe, (1976), there were others that had animals painted on them. These arts had human figures that had accessories on them. Most of the paintings had weaponry. The reason for such inclusion like weapons was the period during which these paintings were drawn. It was in a period when there was a lot of war around. Mostly, the images were either painted or engrave. However, most paintings included both although engraving proved to more common than painting at the time (Willcox, 1984). Apparently, this enhanced their durability.

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The sites where the rock arts were situated varied depending on different factors. Geographical and topographical factors influenced the location of for example the Moroccan engravings. These were found on rocky outcrops that were open. Another example of the rock engravings is the Tunisia’s Djebibina arts. These are also located in rock shelters. It is hard to find rock art especially in the harsh and vast environment of the Saharan desert. Both the mud mosque and the rock arts are quite unique in the world of art. The mud mosque was and continue to be a community stronghold that enables them to remain together. The rock arts were the most permanent material for artwork at the time. Both these artworks are recordings and representations of the community and environment.

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