Monday, November 16, 2009

C12-15 Yoruba Art Across Nigeria, Benin and Togo

Head of an Oni (King) from Ife Oni Palace Vicinity, Nigeria C XII-XV

I've long been bowled over by Yoruba art of the C12-15 - though the Yoruba, who were spread across south-west Nigeria, Benin [Dahomey] and Togo, would probably rather see these as objects with particular social functions within their culture.

I got hooked a few years back after buying a late C19 Yoruba divination stick ...

The Yoruba are perhaps best known in the international tribal art world for twins figures, carved when women have twins ...

Yoruba mother holding her twins. Town of Share, North Oyo. Deborah Stokes 1980

... to mitigate the danger to one child if the other dies, as it is believed they share a single soul ...

Yoruba mother with memorial figures of her deceased twins Selia Alaka, town of Ikoyi, Ogbomoso. 1980 Deborah Stokes

Yoruba Carved Wooden Twins

But I'm getting distracted from what I set out to post - the astonishing beautiful C12-15 bronze, copper, brass and pottery heads of Oni (rulers) found at the Palace at Ife.

These sculptures speak so eloquently ...

Head of an Oni From Wunmonije Compound, Ife C12th-15th

Head of an Oni Brass CXII-XV

Head, Ife, Nigeria, 14th-early 15th century

Obalufon Mask, Ife Nigeria, C12 Copper

Copper Mask of Oni Obalufon II

Crowned Zinc Brass Head of an Oni C12-15 From Wunmonije

Terracotta Head of a Queen C12-13 From Ita Yemoo

Terracotta Head of Lajuwa, Oni's Palace, Ife C12-13

Terracotta Female Head from a Figure, C12-15

... that there's absolutely no need for any 'blah blah' from me!

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