Skip to Content

A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Caravans of Gold: Fragments in Time—Art, Culture, and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa

Smithsonian National Museum of African Art / Washington, D.C. / Art

It is little known that between the 8th and 15th centuries, before the arrival of Europeans along its golden coast, the Sahara Desert was the engine for global exchange. The gold of West Africa drove prosperity across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, yet very few archaeological fragments survive. The area’s history and cultural heritage remains largely mysterious. In this online exhibition, which includes two videos, the museum tells the story of medieval Africa—an Africa, according to the scholar Gus Casely-Hayford, “that was outward-looking, that was innovative, that dominated the thinking of the age.” —E.C.

Smithsonian National Museum of African Art 950 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560
Get Directions »
Start a New Search
Subscribers Only

Start your free trial to access the full Arts Intel Report

Subscribe to Air Mail to access every article
and search our entire Arts Intel Report.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in here.