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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Ife Style Terracotta Head
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Ife Style Terracotta Head - PF.4684
Origin: West Africa
Circa: 1400 AD to 1700 AD
Dimensions: 14" (35.6cm) high x 6" (15.2cm) wide
Collection: Decorative Arts
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Ife was one of the numerous city-states founded by the Yoruba, who housed themselves in villages protected behind thick walls. Between 1100 - 1450 A.D. the city's prosperity permitted the development of a royal court art, along with the establishment of sanctuaries and cults. The style of Ife busts is unique and very profound, beginning with terracottas and culminating in bronze, of which many are true masterpieces.

It is a delight to see the beauty and grace in this handsome bust. As with others of its type, the modelling is done with such refinement it is difficult to distinguish male from female. Perhaps it is more accurate to include both elements as essential to its character and aura. Immediately we are captivated by the bust's presence; both dignified and friendly at once. The striations on the face represent ritual scarification and heighten the dramatic quality of the face. Ife headdresses are usually simple and elegant, perfectly complimenting the overall style. This particular one is like a soft cap with a crowning ornament in an arrow shape. As with other Ife sculptures this head possesses nobility and regal dignity; a legacy of the royal art of Ife and the sculptors who left behind such a noble art.
- (PF.4684)


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