African Ife bronze head of king



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Head of an oni (king) with facial striations. Ife style. Despite the disappearance of the people responsible for the ancient Ife art, people living on its territory continued to produce artwork inspired by the original masterpieces discovered during archeological excavations. The function of such pieces is far from certain. This bronze clearly represents the head of an oni. The eyes, lips, and ears are stylized according to ideal models. Yet the features are strongly individualized, and the head may well have been intended as a portrait. Holes along the hairline were probably used to attach some kind of headgear, most plausibly a crown. The holes along the lower part of the face may have been used to attach facial hair to heighten the effect of realism. More probably, however, they allowed a beaded shield to be attached, which hid the lower portion of the face. The custom of veiling a sacred ruler to protect him from the gaze of his profane subjects is found in many African societies. The holes at the bottom of the neck may have allowed the head to be attached to a carved wooden body, thus creating a full figure. Apparently it was cast in 20 century.


Product Details:

  • Size: 4 1/2″ x 3″ x 2 1/2″
  • Material: African Bronze
Weight 1 lbs


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