One of the supreme achievements of West African Art, this head of an unidentified ruler of Ife, religious centre of the Yoruba in Southern Nigeria, wears a crown painted red to represent carnelian beads.

It has small holes surrounding the mouth, probably intended for inserting hair to depict a beard and a moustache. The bronze was cast by the cire perdue (lost wax) method and it was probably made for use at funerary ceremonies, when it may have been attached to a wooden figure.


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