The issue of authenticity of African art has been central to collectors for decades. Henri Kamer, who was president of the International Arts Experts Association at the time, published an outstanding account of the state of the matter in Artes d'Afrique Noire, No. 12 (1974). The text that follows is extracted from an English translation of that article, and has been edited further. The original includes a number of illustrations. They are not included here because I believe the text suffices without them.
The original version, including the illustrations, in French and with the English translation, is
Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area. With a billion people (as of 2009, see table) in 61 territories, it accounts for about 14.8% of the World's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Not counting the disputed territory of Western Sahara, there are 53 countries, including Madagascar and various island groups, associated with the continent.
Africa, particularly central eastern Africa, is widely regarded within the scientific community to be the origin of humans and the Hominidae tree (great apes), as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors, as well as later ones that have been dated to around seven million years ago – including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster – with the earliest Homo sapiens (human) found in Ethiopia being dated to ca. 200,000 years ago.
Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.