Most of the contemporary wooden African Art & Crafts on the market either have a polished or painted finish. These finishes are fairly easy to maintain with some simple steps -
Try to keep your pieces away from excessive heat and humidity fluctuations to avoid fading, cracking, or warping. During winter, if heating makes your home too dry, using a humidifier helps. Generally, polished items can hold their luster for a long time with minor dusting. However, if the piece could use some shine, smear a little amount of shoe polish on the item with a dry cloth, wait a few minutes (15 minutes or so) and buff it with a soft, dry cloth. Depending on the color of the item, you may use black or brown shoe polish. I prefer to use neutral shoe polish which works just as well on any color.
Painted finishes require even less maintenance than polished ones; periodic dusting is all you need. Avoiding direct sunlight is always a good idea. On some occasions, I’ve wiped my tables with Orange Glo Wood Furniture Cleaner and Polisher. You can find it in most hardware stores. I do not recommend using water or detergents to clean your pieces. Caution – as with any cleaning or refinishing job, it’s always best to test a small hidden area to check results before proceeding. If you’re not sure, seek professional advice.
Hope this helps. Enjoy your collection.