Skip to product information
1 of 15


A head of Olokun in the style of Ife

A head of Olokun in the style of Ife

Regular price €5.000,00 EUR
Regular price Sale price €5.000,00 EUR
Sale Out of stock
Shipping calculated at checkout.

A head of Olokun in the style of Ife, from Nigeria, life-sized and cast using a lost wax technique. A crown-like headdress with a circular crest, and a tubular band that runs across the head ornamented with small studs running horizontally on the top and the bottom of the band. The face with a delicate features: almond-shaped eyes, small nose and full lips, with refined overall patterns. The neck is ringed which is a sign of beauty across many Ife and Benin heads. The holes in the neck were used to attach it to a wooden marionette, as described and shown by Frank Willett, Ife, pages Signs of oxidation. Certificate of origin and provenance.

According to the oral traditions of the Yoruba people, Ife is the place where life and civilisation began. Ife is regarded as the legendary homeland of the Yoruba-speaking peoples and its sacred ruler, the Ooni, is still revered as the descendant of the original creator gods. Ife is located in Osun State in modern southwestern Nigeria.

"Ife began to develop as a city-state in the late first millennium, around AD 800 and became a leading political, economic and spiritual centre in the lower Niger region. Between 1100 and 1400 it flourished as a commercial centre with access to the lucrative trade networks along the Niger River.

The art of Ife has produced a large corpus of sculptural works in terracotta, stone, brass and copper which were found at different sites in the city. Among these artworks, the representations of humans are striking for their naturalistic style. This life-like modelling is unique in Africa and when objects from Ife were first presented to the western world they were compared with the classical traditions of Ancient Greece and Rome. It was even suggested that such heads were evidence that Ife was the site of the lost civilization of Atlantis. In fact the sculpture of Ife is today rightly seen as one of the highest achievements of African art and culture.” Source: British Museum

E. Platte, 2010, Head of a Ruler, London, British Museum Company
E. Eyo and F. Willett, 1980, Treasures of Ancient Nigeria, London, Royal Academy of Arts
J. W. Langton, O. Akin Ige & T. Rehren "Early Primary Glass Production in Southern Nigeria" in Journal of African Archaeology, Vol. 4 (1), 2006

Height: 33 cm
Weight: 3,5 kg

View full details