I’m carrying the tradition of focusing on a certain country or continent instead of a particular artist. I’ve made a few clay masks in my life during various art classes. They are fun to make. African sculpture was first made from wood and other organic materials. You can deduce most of the earliest ones did not survive. Those that had a better chance were made from clay for religious ceremonies in West Africa. The earliest known sculptures in this region are from the Nok culture in Nigeria. These people lived between 500 BC and 500 AD. As time progressed, the sculptures included bronze casting for reliefs. Central Africa masks had features such as heart-shaped faces with dot and circle patterns. East Africa was known for their pole sculptures that had human shapes with geometric decoration. These poles were associated with death and the ancestral world. South African clay sculptures date from 400 to 600 AD. These sculptures had cylindrical heads with human and animal features. Here are some examples of the beautiful masks and sculptures from the the past.