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Massive 7 kg Ife Bronze Head of Oni (Oòni) Yoruba

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: African: Sculpture: Pre 1920: Item # 1311867

Please refer to our stock # 0255 when inquiring.
Momoyama Gallery
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Richard van Norten - by appointment
Avenue Royal - Luxembourg / Europe


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This exquisite casting head is a fine example of one of the most famous metalworking traditions in world history. The details on this head are stunning, from the splendid facial expression, to the detailed rendering of its formal crown. One can only imagine the true splendor of the old court of Ife.

The present head is an early 20th Century copy modeled after the great Yoruba center at Ife dating originally approximately 1100 -1450 A.D. The famous archaeological site at Ife in Nigeria produced a number of remarkable objects and bronze heads cast in bronze.

Ife is considered to be the center and origin of the Yoruba people. This bronze cast head is of an Oòni (Oni), the ruler at Ife, who still hold sway over the Yoruba at Ife today. The skill of the Nigerian bronze and brass casters from the early 20th. cent. until today continue a tradition nearly 1000 years old and have not lost their skill in producing interesting works of art.

This antique Bronze is in good condition with no repairs. Only some oxidation and some tiny holes on the foot due to the high age of this bronze head.

Size: 35 cm height - weight about 7 kg.

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See more information and examples in:

Augustus Pitt-Rivers, Antique Works of Art From Benin, 1900.

Hagen, Dr. K., Altertumer von Benin, Jahrbuch der Hamburgischesen Wissenschaftlichen Anstalten, V. XVII, 1900.

H. Ling Roth, Great Benin, Its Customs, Art and Horrors, 1903 (1968).

Dark, P. J. C., W. & B. Foreman, Benin Art,1960.

Dark, P. J.C., An Introduction to Benin Art and Technology, 1973.

Ben-Amos, P. The Art of Benin, 1980.

Freyer, B., Royal Benin Art, 1987.

Ezra, K., Royal Art of Benin, The Perls Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992.

Duchateau, A., Benin, Royal Art of Africa from the Museum fur Volkerkunde, Vienna, 1994.

Anitra Nettleton (Ed), Nigeria Art. The Meneghelli Collection, 2002.