West Africa - Whorrall - 7.4.4

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West Africa - Whorrall - 7.4.4 - Quiz


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

         The lack of a written language does not mean that the people of West Africa didn’t know their history, though. They passed along information through oral histories. An oral history is a spoken record of past events. The task of remembering West Africa’s history was entrusted to storytellers.  West African story tellers were called griots (GREE-ohz). They were highly respected in their communities because the people of West Africa were very interested in the deeds of their ancestors. Griots helped keep this history alive for each new generation. West African Epics      Some of the griot poems are epics—long poems about kingdoms and heroes. Many of these epic poems are collected in the Dausi (DAW-zee) and the Sundiata.      The Dausi tells the history of Ghana. Intertwined with historical events, though, are myths and legends. For example, one story is about a terrifying seven-headed snake god named Bida. This god promised that Ghana would prosper if the people sacrificed a young woman to him every year. Sculpture      Of all the visual art forms, the sculpture of West Africa is probably the best known. West Africans made ornate statues and carvings out of wood, brass, clay, ivory, stone, and other materials.      Most statues from West Africa are of people—often the sculptor’s ancestors. In most cases, these statues were made for religious rituals, to ask for the ancestors’ blessings. Sculptors made other statues as gifts for the gods. These sculptures were kept in holy places. They were never meant to be seen by people. Masks and Clothing      In addition to statues, the artists of West Africa carved elaborate masks. Made of wood, these masks bore the faces of animals such as hyenas, lions, monkeys, and antelopes. Artists often painted the masks after carving them. People wore these masks during rituals as they danced around fires. The way firelight reflected off the masks made them look fierce and lifelike. Music and Dance      In many West African societies, music and dance were as important as the visual arts. Singing and dancing were great forms of entertainment, but they also helped people honor their history and were central to many celebrations. For example, music was played when a ruler entered a room.      Dance has long been a central part of African society. Many West African cultures used dance to celebrate specific events or ceremonies. For example, they may have performed one dance for weddings and another for funerals. In some parts of West Africa, people still perform dances similar to those performed hundreds of years ago.  

  • 2. 

    1. Griots can be defined as

    • A.

      A. West African epic authors

    • B.

      B. West African musicians

    • C.

      C. West African storytellers

    • D.

      D. West African sculptures

    Correct Answer
    C. C. West African storytellers
    Explanation
    Griots are traditionally known as West African storytellers who pass down oral history, genealogy, and cultural traditions through storytelling. They play a crucial role in preserving and transmitting the history and culture of their communities. Griots are highly respected and are often skilled musicians as well, using music and poetry to enhance their storytelling. While West African epic authors and musicians may also exist, the primary defining characteristic of a griot is their role as storytellers. Sculptures, on the other hand, do not align with the traditional role of a griot.

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  • 3. 

    2. Griots contributed to West African societies by

    • A.

      A. fighting battles

    • B.

      B. collecting taxes

    • C.

      C. trading with the Berbers

    • D.

      D. perserving oral history

    Correct Answer
    D. D. perserving oral history
    Explanation
    Griots contributed to West African societies by preserving oral history. Griots were traditional storytellers and historians who passed down the history, culture, and traditions of their communities through oral narratives. They played a crucial role in preserving the collective memory of the society, ensuring that important stories and knowledge were passed on from generation to generation. Their storytelling skills and knowledge of history made them highly respected members of their communities, and they played a significant role in maintaining the cultural identity and heritage of West African societies.

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  • 4. 

    3. The importance of sculptures was for

    • A.

      A. identifying family members

    • B.

      B. religious ceremonies

    • C.

      C. spreading of religion

    • D.

      D. encouraging positive behavior

    Correct Answer
    B. B. religious ceremonies
    Explanation
    Sculptures have historically played a significant role in religious ceremonies. They were often used to depict deities or important figures in religious traditions, and were believed to hold spiritual power or serve as a connection between the divine and the worshippers. Sculptures were used as objects of worship, and were placed in temples or other sacred spaces during religious ceremonies. They were also used to convey religious stories or teachings, helping to educate and inspire worshippers. Therefore, the importance of sculptures primarily lies in their association with religious ceremonies.

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  • 5. 

    4. West African masks were mostly of

    • A.

      A. animals

    • B.

      B. ancestors

    • C.

      C. religious rituals

    • D.

      D. leaders

    Correct Answer
    A. A. animals
    Explanation
    West African masks were mostly of animals. These masks were used in various ceremonies and rituals, such as initiation ceremonies, harvest celebrations, and funerals. The masks represented different animals, each with its own symbolic meaning and significance. They were believed to possess spiritual powers and were used to communicate with the spirit world. Animals were chosen as the subject of the masks because they were seen as powerful and sacred beings in West African culture. The masks were also used to honor and pay tribute to the natural world and its connection to human life.

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  • 6. 

    5. Why was dance so important to West African culture?

    • A.

      A. it was used for entertainment purposes

    • B.

      B. it was used for honoring history

    • C.

      C. it was used for religious ceremonies

    • D.

      D. all of the above

    Correct Answer
    D. D. all of the above
    Explanation
    Dance was important to West African culture because it served multiple purposes. Firstly, it was used for entertainment, providing enjoyment and amusement to the community. Secondly, dance was used for honoring history, as it was a way to pass down stories and traditions from one generation to another. Lastly, dance played a significant role in religious ceremonies, serving as a form of worship and spiritual expression. Therefore, all of these reasons combined make dance an integral part of West African culture.

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  • Current Version
  • Mar 28, 2024
    Quiz Edited by
    ProProfs Editorial Team
  • Feb 16, 2012
    Quiz Created by
    Cajhist
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