Hausa Urban Art and its Social Background

ab 40,90 

Friedrich Wilhelm Schwerdtfeger

External House Decorations in a Northern Nigerian City

ISBN 978-3-8258-5643-4
Band-Nr. 6
Jahr 2007
Seiten 392
Bindung gebunden
Reihe Monographs from the International African Institute (London)


„When I started my investigation of decorated houses in the
walled city of Zaria in late 1976, it was above all to
record the rapidly disappearing external wall decorations.
Hence, the survey was perceived as a rescue operation to
collect as many photographs and drawings as possible before
these decorations disappeared altogether, and also to record
vital information about them from compound heads living in
decorated houses, and from the master craftsmen who created

During an introductory stock-taking survey we listed nearly
one thousand decorated houses. When I concluded the survey
in 1985 the material collected included 75 recorded life
stories of craftsmen. When I finally completed the
manuscript of this book hardly any of the old traditional
external wall decorations had survived. It was obvious that
traditional wall decoration had become a thing of the past,
no longer relevant to the younger generation of compound
heads in the city of Zaria, and indeed in most other
traditional towns in northern Nigeria.“

( From the introduction)


1. The Client in Hausa Society, 2. The Role of Compound
Heads in House Decoration, 3. The Perception of Decorations,
4. Decoration as a Status and Group Symbol;

1. Craftsmen in Hausa Society, 2. The History of the
Building Profession, 3. The Role of Decoration in the
Building Trade, 4. The Production and Perception of
Decoration, 5. The Training of Craftsmen, 6. Craftsmen and
the Supernatural, 7. The Use of Decorative Motifs by

1. The History and Development of Wall Decorations, 2. The
Aesthetics of Wall Decorations, 3. The Influence of Islam on
Wall Decoration, 4. Decoration in Hausa Society

F. W. Schwerdtfeger is professor at the Department of
Architecture, Ahmadu Bello University, Zarai, Nigeria.