Ife King's mask
Please double click on the menu item if necessary when sharing.
- Country of origin: Nigeria
- Size: 40 cm H x 19 cm W
- Materials: Brass (Copper + Zinc)
- Decorative african art
In Yoruba mythology the city of Ile-Ife situated in the southwest of Nigeria is “the navel of the world,” the place where creation took place and the tradition of kingship began.
Of all the centers of African art, there is none so remarkable for extraordinary accomplishments in many fields of art as the ancient town of "Ife", the ritual center of the great Yoruba tribe of western Nigeria.
The Yoruba tribe, according to tradition, came from Ife where all human life began.
West Africa has a long tradition in metalwork. In the ancient kingdom of Benin, in present day Nigeria, they began from the 15th century onwards to make sophisticated, highly realistic images and plaques cast in copper and brass. The quality of these so-called Benin Bronzes was so high that the British -who took most of the bronzes with them in the 19th century during a punitive expedition against Benin- would for years not believe they were actually made by Africans.
Due to the typical primitive handcraft process ('lost wax method', where the mold is lost during the making of the bronzes), the bronzes may show some small casting errors.
For authentic Benin Bronzes: see collection of the British Museum.
2nd half of the 20th century
©2017 Bert's Gallery of Tribal Art