Tribal art > African bronze > Ifé bronze
Ifé Yoruba commemorative head in bronze (N° 20021)
Figurative bronze depicting the Oni, king of Ife the cradle city of the Yoruba, wearing a highly detailed crown. Nowadays the king of Ifé wears a similar badge of office, formed by a vertical braided segment ending in a pointed bulge. Such a head was attached to the top of a dressed wooden effigy to represent the deceased king at the funeral and then buried after the ceremony in a shrine near the palace. Grainy texture, greenish-black patina encrusted with ochre.
The city of Ifé in Nigeria was in the 15th century the center of a powerful forest state west of the Niger Delta. The work of bronze was a prerogative of the king "oni", according to the technique of lost wax. These prestigious objects embodying the rulers were placed on the royal altars for ceremonial use.
It would be an artisan from Ilé-Ifé who would have taught the Edo of the Benin kingdom the art of metals. The Ilé-Ifé craftsmen, however, were more concerned with the likeness of their portraits than those of Benin, who seemed to cast their iconic works in rather similar molds.
The parallel folds on the neck would evoke the flesh folds of prosperous notables, and the accompanying hollowed-out parts were to be used to attach the king's beaded veil.
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|Origin||Collection P. Malisse|
|Estimated dating||1ère halfxx°|
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