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Figure of an Oni, in the style of Ife

Figure of an Oni, in the style of Ife

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A bronze sculpture of an Ooni (Oba), who shows the traditional signs of dignity that the king wore during the classical period: a crown, a heavy pearl necklace around the neck, another chain hanging from the neck to the knees and a net of fine strings of pearls with two knots in the middle covering the naked chest. In his left hand he's holding a sign of authority representing a ram's horn filled with magical substances called "ashe" and in his right hand a sceptre whose archetype is made of pearls and cloth, both symbols of his authority and power. He also wears wide bracelets around his wrists. He has got a small, gently bulging belly. His robe, over which his belly bulges has a sloping hem. The face is round and full and very even with an expression of calm serenity and quiet dignity. The head of this figure measures more than a quarter of the figures´ length, a proportion that is particularly characteristic of West African sculpture; oxidised bronze. TL Analysis on request.

Lit.: Frank Willett: Ife. Metropole afrikanischer Kunst, Bergisch Gladbach 1967, S. 32 ff, Tafel 6/7, S. 37.; Wunmonije Compound, Ife, Museum für Ife-Altertümer, Ekpo Eyo, Frank Willett: Kunstschätze aus Alt-Nigeria, Mainz 1983, S. 104 William B. FAGG: Bildwerke aus Nigeria, München 1963, S. 38 Elsy Leuzinger: Die Kunst von Schwarz-Afrika, Recklinghausen 1972, S. 145, Schätze aus Alt Nigeria, Ministerium für Kultur der DDR, Bode Museum 1985, S.117. Enid Schildkrout in: Dynasty and Divinity. Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria. Museum for African Art, New York, 2009, 4. Dynasty and Divinity. Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria. Museum for African Art, New York, 2009, 12, 22, Abb. 3. Ekpo Eyo, Frank Willett, Kunstschätze aus Alt-Nigeria. Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1983, 20f., Abb. 44, 45, 50. Gernot Feucht, Early Nigerian bronzes under Scientific Scrutiny. In: Ife, Akan und Benin. Westafrikanische Kunst aus 2000 Jahren. Arnoldsche Art Publications, 2000. 29ff. (Abb. 10, Statue of a dignitary, Ife/Nigeria). Frank Willett, Ife. Metropole afrikanischer Kunst. LübbeVerlag, 2. Auflage 1975, 20, 32, 59ff. (Bronzes from Ita Yemoo), 67ff. (lost-wax-method), Taf. 6 (Bronze Oni, Ita Yemoo). Taf. 7 (Bronze Oni, Wunmonije Compound). Taf. III and 10 (Bronze couple from Ita Yemoo). About the political significance of bronze images of dignitaries: Suzanne Preston Blier, Art and risk in ancient Yoruba. Cambridge University Press, 2017, 247ff., 337ff.

Height: 58cm
Weight: 9.5 kg

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