"For fans of Africa" Top 5 Page for this destination Smithsonian Institute Museums / National Zoo Tip by matcrazy1
Smithsonian Institute Museums / National Zoo, Washington D.C.: 45 reviews and 69 photos
Favorite thing: I recommend National Museum of African Art (NMAfA) for all fans of the least visited and known continent and those who want to see African ceramics, textiles, furniture, tools, masks, figures, musical instruments (drums and very rare ones) etc. The large collection includes both tradition-based and contemporary works of art. Warnings: the interiors are mostly dark, you are not allowed to use flash, the use of a tripod requires permission; I wanted to buy a CD with "the best African folk music" but touristy price (over $20 for 30 min.) luckily discouraged me. The 70-min. CD of that music cost $3 - 10 in my hometown.
The creators of tradition-based art in Africa, in contrast to Europe and America, became known exclusively in their often small communities. Thus their names are unknown until now. Usually the name of local community or culture is marked. I've learned again that there is no one African culture but thousands ones made by numerous tribes, groups of people and communities.
Fondest memory: MASKS
I was a fan of African masks some time ago. I have finally bought one but in an African shop in Krakow, Poland. It's a wooden face mask painted in black and dark brown with a writing TAMBO, KENYA on the backside. It was made in Taiwan, China or noone knowns where else, I guess. I was dissapointed not to find any, even one, similar mask among tenths displayed in the museum. As I noticed, the real African masks are round or more often oval (sometimes unnaturally long), not almost rectangular ones like my fake mask. More, there have been masks from numerous African countries on display but to my surprise not from Kenya. Didn't they use them there?
I tried to make a research in the museum and point out where the most beautiful face masks are from. I coudn't find a single region but the masks from Liberia, Cote d 'Ivoire and Guinea attracted me most. Next travel destination for me?
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