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Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time

Block Museum of Art, Evanston


Art, Culture and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa

In the Middle Ages, gold from West Africa was transported across the Sahara Desert in vast quantities, to be used across North Africa, the Middle East and Europe for luxury wares and religious objects, from jewellery to picture frames, and for minting currency. This exhibition places medieval Africa at the centre of a global trade network, and explores through some 250 objects how art and ideas, as well as gold, travelled across the Sahara. Find out more from the Block Museum’s website. 

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Seated Figure (late 13th–14th century), possibly Ife, Nigeria.

Seated Figure (late 13th–14th century), possibly Ife, Nigeria. Courtesy National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Abuja, Nigeria

Virgin and Child, France

Virgin and Child (c. 1275–1300), France. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

A selection of excavated finds from Essouk-Tadmekka, Mali, including fragments of glazes ceramics, stone beads and semi-precious stones. Photo: Sam Nixon

Event website