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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Ife : Ife Style Bronze Head of a Female
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Ife Style Bronze Head of a Female - PF.4667
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 14" (35.6cm) high x 5.5" (14.0cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Bronze

Location: United States
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According to the Yoruba people, Ife was the place where the gods descended from the skies to populate the world. The children of the first god, Odudua, created their own kingdoms, and the kings of Ife are still considered semi-divine by their subjects. Bronze heads marked the apogee of Ife art, with a unique style distinguished by extraordinary refinement and exceptional beauty.

The classic Ife features are found in this lovely bust. The expression on the young girl's face is one of absolute composure and dignity. Her eyes are like gentle curves of a petal; her mouth, part of the same flower, blooms with luscious fullness. The parallel lines covering the entire face probably represent ritual scarification, and create a hypnotic effect of harmony and serenity. Her cap fits tightly to her head, flowing gracefully with a seductive smoothness that contrasts to the texture of her skin. The chimney-like crest adds a masculine touch and further accentuates the feminine element of the entire bust. Since Ife art was a royal art, we may assume this girl was a member of the royal court. However, beauty is queen in its own kingdom, especially when immortalized by a master sculptor in the lasting medium of bronze.
- (PF.4667)


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