African goods are popular in some quarters. They include food, clothing, jewelry and art work. For example, wooden masks are used for decoration and handmade baskets for storage.
African art and artifacts are imported and sold through specialty retail stores. Many of the items are handmade. African clothing tends to be loose and made from bold fabrics. The same fabrics are used to make bags. Pottery is also boldly marked. Sculptures and carvings tend to be made of dark, tropical wood. Also popular are African drums and other musical instruments. Almost all African art items are hand crafted, although cheap, mass produced replicas do exist.
These products are popular as gifts, and African influenced fashion makes an appearance on the runway on fairly regular occasions. Hand crafted jewelry may be used as accents to more mundane clothing. African leather goods are also common, with South African leather having a good reputation. Leather is used to make bags, shoes and other accessories.
Trade maps show the origins of various African goods. Regional food is exported from Africa for use in traditional African cuisine that is prepared abroad. Retail stores in the United States, however, generally sell tropical specialties such as coconuts and mangoes or African spices. Some ethnic markets, including those which sell African goods, promote events which allow communities to gather in appreciation of different cultures.
The symbol of African art to most, however, is the African mask. Originating as ceremonial items, masks are now also displayed in many homes. Hand crafted originals can fetch large amounts of money.