Survey of African Art

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  • Reference Universe
    Searchable index of the library's entire reference collection, both print and electronic.
  • Oxford Art Online
    Oxford Art Online is the access point for Grove Art Online, and other Oxford art reference works covering all forms of the visual arts: painting, sculpture, architecture, graphic and decorative arts, and photography from prehistory to the present.
  • Grove Encyclopedia of Materials and Techniques in Art
    Provides information on a wide range of current and historical materials and techniques in both traditional and nontraditional media.
  • Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    Timeline which connects the Metropolitan's collections to chronologies, and contextual essays.

Print Reference:

A Brief History of Art: with special reference to West Africa / E.V. Asihene.  N7398 .A798 2004
African Art: a bibliographic guide / Janet L. Stanley.  Frost Reference N7380 .S77 1985
Key Events in African history: a reference guide / Toyin Falola.  Frost Reference DT20 .F35 2002
The Visual Arts of Africa: gender, power, and life cycle rituals / Judith Perani ; Fred T. Smith. (At Smith and UMass — request through Five College Catalog)
Icons : ideals and power in the art of Africa / Herbert M. Cole.  x N7391.65 .C63 1989


    • BHA: Bibliography of the History of Art (1973 to present)
      Bilingual database on the history of post-classical western art. Also includes RAA (Repertoire d'Art et d'Archeologie) from 1973 to 1989 and RILA (International Repertory of the Literature of Art) from 1975 to 1989.
    • International Bibliography of Art (IBA) (1973 to present)
      Covers scholarly literature on western art including traditional visual arts as well as new media, architectural history, museum studies and conservation, archaeology, and classical studies.
    • Africa Knowledge Project (1999-Present)
      Africa Knowledge Project, known as AKP, promotes Critical African Studies. It disseminates Africa-centered, evidence-based knowledge on Africa and African Diaspora.
      Content from newspapers, news agencies and publications from the African continent.
    • Art Abstracts (1984 to present)
      Index to leading English-language publications in the world of the arts.
    • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals (1934 to present)
      Indexes more than 2,000 periodicals on archaeology, city planning, interior design, and historic preservation.
    • Worldcat Art Libraries
      Access to Worldcat content, including the articles database of 200 million records, specific to the visual arts. Holdings information is also provided.
    • JSTOR
      Full-text backfiles of over two thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. (Alumni access)
    • AnthroSource (1988 to present)
      Developed by the American Anthropological Association (AAA), AnthroSource indexes 100 years of anthropological material.

    Images & Primary Sources

    Image databases and museum collections online:


      Class Slides: 

      Subject headings to search in Five College Catalog:

      Art, African
      Art, Egyptian
      Aesthetics, African
      Sculpture, African
      Egypt -- Antiquities
      Material Culture -- Egypt [insert relevant country]
      Africans -- Portraits
      Art movements -- Africa -- History -- 21st century
      Photography -- Africa --Exhibitions
      Church buildings --Ethiopia
      Ethiopia -- Buildings, structures, etc.
      Church architecture -- Ethiopia
      Lalibela (Ethiopia)
      Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Africa, Sub-Saharan
      Artists -- Senegal -- Exhibitions [insert relevant country]
      Signs and symbols -- Africa, Sub-Saharan
      Ceremonial objects -- Africa, Sub-Saharan
      Arts, Black -- Nigeria -- Exhibitions [insert relevant country]
      Arts and society -- Africa, West [insert relevant country]
      Igbo (African People) [insert relevant group]
      artists--nigeria--biography [insert relevant country]
      LinkArt objects, African

      Don't forget to use the subject headings from books you've already found!

      Title Keywords to search in Five College Catalog to find reference texts:

      bibliography                           atlas
      dictionary                               encyclopedia
      guide                                     history

      A note on searching for exhibition catalogs:
      Almost all Five College Library catalog records for exhibition catalogs contain the word "exhibitions," either as a subject term, or in the description. To find a catalog focused on a specific artist or topic, perform a keyword search that includes the artist's name (last name is often enough) or the topic word(s), and the word exhibition* (using the truncation symbol * searches for both the word exhibition and the subject term exhibitions). 

      Helpful name and vocubulary resources:

      Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)
      Union List of Artist Names (ULAN)
      Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)