Bronze Head from Ife
Believed to represent a king, the beautiful bronze head in the British Museum is one of seventeen objects unearthed in 1938-9 at the town of Ife in Nigeria. The stunning naturalism and sophisticated craftsmanship of the objects challenged Western perceptions of African art at the time, which were largely based around abstract wooden figures. It was consequently assumed at first that they must have been made by Europeans or under European influence. In time, however, they came to be seen as wholly African, probably dating from the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, and representative of a hitherto unknown artistic tradition on that continent. The bronze head from Ife is one of the most prized objects in the British Museum's African collections. This book tells its fascinating story, from its discovery to its reception and exhibition in Britain, where it influenced and inspired several major artists. The author also describes how the head has taken on a new life and significance in its homeland, where images of it have abounded since Nigeria declared independence from Britain in 1960.
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The crowned heads from Ife
Folklore and history
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Adesoji Aderemi African art African artists African collections Airport Hotel Ancient Bronzes antiquities Art Collections Fund art of Africa artefacts artistic tradition Bascom Benin brass British artists British colonial British Museum crowned British Museum head British Museum Press carvings Commission for Museums crest crowned bronze head cultural discovery display Editha Platte Epstein ethnographic fascinating Festival of Britain found at Ita Frankfurt am Main Frobenius head Frobenius-Institut headdresses Henry Moore holes Ile-Ife Illustrated London institutions Ita Yemoo Jacob Epstein Kenneth Murray kingdoms Lagos Leo Frobenius Leon Underwood life-size logos lost-wax materials Modakeke Museum crowned head Museum's collection Museums and Monuments National Art Collections National Commission National Museum non-European Obatala objects Oduduwa Olokun grove Olokun head palace for safekeeping Photo photographed in 2007 region replica reproductions royal ruler sacred king sculptures shrines stool symbol terracotta heads town twentieth century West Africa Willett William Fagg Wunmonije compound Yorubaland