Public gallery

The Nok civilization began to exist in Neolithic Africa perharps as many as 3,000 years ago. It developed through the Bronze Age and then the Iron Age before disappearing around 600 A.D.. We haven't a single clue as to what caused their disappearance. It might have been severe climate change, a pandemic, an invasion, an epidemic or famine, but we really cannot say with certainty.

Their statues are extraordinary, astonishing, ageless, timeless and almost extraterrestrial. Each one is astounding, a unique masterpiece, concerning principally human subjects, men and women, treated with the highest attention to detail and refinement. Some are animal subjects, though they are rare, and even more rare are zoomorphic, even anthro-zoomorphic subjects. It would appear that a shamanic religion was established in the Nok society. Certain representations of bird-men, half-sphinx and half-sphinge can be linked to the animism of ancient Egypt.

Our virtual gallery presents a selection of objects principally found on the Nok excavation sites in the 1960s. The majority of the pieces are smaller objects, fragments of larger and more rare pieces that have been battered and rolled around in the alluvial deposits of rivers and in the rubble of mining excavations.

At more that 150,000 square kilometers, the surface area of the archaeological zone is enormous. Classified by the region in which the statues were discovered, you will find rare and classical examples of Nok sculpture in our gallery. Further away from the principal sites were found other statues with Nok characteristics but with a longer face or head. These statues are called Katsina Ala to differentiate the strong prognathiscism of this particular style. In the regions even further from the principal sites in the north and northwest of the zone, were found Sokoto and Katsina statues, contemporary with the Nok statues, but with different characteristics. The Katsina statues seem to date from a more recent period than the Nok or Sokoto statues.

By clicking on a piece in our gallery, you will find a detailed explanation, as well as several photographs of the statue from taken from different camera angles (front, back, and sides). The pieces presented in this virtual gallery were photographed in various other galleries, auction houses and exhibitions principally in France. Some of the pieces are in private collections. Most of the Nok statues presented here have been physically and chemically dated by thermoluminescence.

We opened a Friend's Gallery where we exhibit other Nok, Sokoto or Katsina statues that you may encounter and photograph as a way to share your experiences with the amateur community, with the utmost confidentiality, of course.

We would also like to be in contact with you, hear your reactions, expectations and suggestions. Whether you are a connoisseur of African art, African ceramics, the Nok civilization, or simply an admirer, welcome to memoire d'afrique. Thank you for taking a moment to visit us and the Nok civilization.

100 - Nok male head
100 - Nok male head
102 - Seated thinker with sideburns
102 - Seated thinker with sideburns
104 - Man, right hand holding a calabash-shaped hat
104 - Man, right hand holding a calabash-shaped hat
107 - Lady with richly pleated loincloth
107 - Lady with richly pleated loincloth
109 - Seated man with a harlequin hat
109 - Seated man with a harlequin hat
111 - Tall man with beard, skeleton-like back
111 - Tall man with beard, skeleton-like back
113 - Small thinker, seated
113 - Small thinker, seated
115 - Head of an old sage
115 - Head of an old sage
117 - Little seated man, hands on knees
117 - Little seated man, hands on knees
118 - Nok rider and his horse
118 - Nok rider and his horse
120 - Small female headless bust
120 - Small female headless bust
122 - Poterie neck, finely worked and ornamented
122 - Poterie neck, finely worked and ornamented
123 - Small head of a buffalo
123 - Small head of a buffalo
125 - Court lady richly dressed
125 - Court lady richly dressed
127 - Triangular man’s face
127 - Triangular man’s face
129 - Small feminine column-statue
129 - Small feminine column-statue
130 - Lady with long neck
130 - Lady with long neck
131 - Man with helmet in shape of a calabash
131 - Man with helmet in shape of a calabash
132 - Kneeling man with a lateral bun
132 - Kneeling man with a lateral bun
133 - Kneeling man on an upside down pot
133 - Kneeling man on an upside down pot
134 - Seated man with typical prognathism
134 - Seated man with typical prognathism
135 - Large conical male head
135 - Large conical male head
136 - Group of jar shards
136 - Group of jar shards
137 - Bird man, anthropo-zoomorphic beak subject
137 - Bird man, anthropo-zoomorphic beak subject
138 - Woman with hands on breasts
138 - Woman with hands on breasts
139 - Head with originally painted portions
139 - Head with originally painted portions
140 - Crowned male head
140 - Crowned male head
141 - Male bust
141 - Male bust
142 - Young girl, with right hand on the breast
142 - Young girl, with right hand on the breast
143 - Two fragmentary heads
143 - Two fragmentary heads
144 - Male bust with a sexual (?) goatee
144 - Male bust with a sexual (?) goatee
145 - Large man with penis cover
145 - Large man with penis cover
146 - Small scalped figure
146 - Small scalped figure
147 - Small cone shaped man
147 - Small cone shaped man
148 - Man/Woman Janus
148 - Man/Woman Janus
149 - Male bust in a royale posture
149 - Male bust in a royale posture
150 - Eroded male head
150 - Eroded male head
151 - Lady with hands on waist
151 - Lady with hands on waist
152 - Religious mantis woman, anthropo-zoomorphic
152 - Religious mantis woman, anthropo-zoomorphic
153 - Small owl
153 - Small owl
154 - Male head
154 - Male head
155 - Small male bust
155 - Small male bust
156 - Head of a young ram
156 - Head of a young ram
157 - Four legged animal, possibly a panther
157 - Four legged animal, possibly a panther
158 - Small figure of an old sage
158 - Small figure of an old sage
159 - Bat
159 - Bat
160 - Small ruminant head
160 - Small ruminant head
161 - Kneeling female figure
161 - Kneeling female figure
162 - Man of nature
162 - Man of nature
163 - Nursing mammal
163 - Nursing mammal
164 - Large male head
164 - Large male head
165 - Nok small zoomorphic figure
165 - Nok small zoomorphic figure
166 - Panther
166 - Panther
167 - Small male head
167 - Small male head
168 - Headless female bust
168 - Headless female bust
170 - Small Sokoto head
170 - Small Sokoto head
171 - Large prince male head
171 - Large prince male head
172 - Large young female head
172 - Large young female head
173 - Large standing male statue
173 - Large standing male statue
174 - Large eroded standing female
174 - Large eroded standing female
175 - Bent old man
175 - Bent old man
176 - Anthropozoomorphic statue of a bird-man
176 - Anthropozoomorphic statue of a bird-man
177 - Female column-statue
177 - Female column-statue
178 - Female column-statue
178 - Female column-statue
179 - Gobirawa male statue
179 - Gobirawa male statue
180 - Sokoto female statue
180 - Sokoto female statue
181 - Sokoto male head
181 - Sokoto male head
182 - Kneeling male dignitary
182 - Kneeling male dignitary
183 - Large Nok kneeling dignitary
183 - Large Nok kneeling dignitary
184 - Kneeling seated female dignitary
184 - Kneeling seated female dignitary

We will try, in as much as it is possible, to regularly update this online exhibit with the goal of informing the visitors to our site and to begin an exchange of ideas between aficionados and collectors to preserve make known the Nok civilization. For more information or to give us your comments, do not hesitate to click on the link above to contact us by e-mail, or by normal mail with any questions or comments.