Since the discovery of African art by the Cubists, the primitive strength of its motifs has held a fascination for contemporary artists and designers and has exercised a considerable infl uence on the development of modern art. This book brings together an unusually varied selection of African designs which will find many uses in advertising and in the creation of book designs, bookplates, labels, and patterns for textiles and wallpaper; or may simply serve as inspiration for the creation of original designs. Rendered in stark black-and-white, they may be reproduced, enlarged, reduced or altered at will.
Symbolic and simple geometric motifs, repetitive designs and textural patterns, representations of human beings, animals and mythical figures, masks, abstract motifs, and artifacts and objects with figural components are reproduced from the work of the Ndebele, Ashanti, Zulu, Masai, Bushongo, Mangbetu, Bariba, Toma, Baule and many other tribes. There are designs from carved ivory pendants and bracelets, helmet masks, wooden combs, altar slabs and shields, and designs printed on cloth and painted on doors and walls. Each is identified by original use, and the source is listed for each.
Geoffrey Williams, himself a practicing designer, has reproduced most of these designs by means of linocut prints in order to capture the power of the originals. His sources have been artifacts in museums and private collections with a few designs gathered from the pages of important publications on the subject. A bibliography refers the reader not only to the sources of material used for this book, but to other major sources of information about African tribal art.