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Bronze Yoruba Head
Bronze Yoruba Head
Bronze Yoruba Head
Bronze Yoruba Head
Bronze Yoruba Head
Bronze Yoruba Head
Bronze Yoruba Head
Bronze Yoruba Head
Bronze Yoruba Head
Bronze Yoruba Head
Bronze Yoruba Head
Bronze Yoruba Head

Yoruba Miniature Bronze Head 5″ – Nigeria – African Art

$95.00 $38.00

1 in stock

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A miniature bronze Yoruba Ife head standing at 5 inches tall and weighing only 1 pound. This small-sized replica would be a beautiful fit for any collection.

The Yoruba people’s primary living space is South-West Nigeria with substantial Yoruba communities in Benin, Togo and Sierra Leone but they are not bound by state or country borders. This area is often referred to as “Yorubaland”. Most of the terrain is either forest, woodland savannah, rich farmland or coastal swamps and lagoons.

Yoruba people are prolific artists and craftsmen. Most of the Yoruba artifacts date from between the end of the 19th century and the middle of the 20th century and can often be attributed to a specific carver by name – an exception in African art

An array of materials are used by the Yoruba including bronze, leather, terracotta, wood, glass and more. Many realistic bronze sculptures have been found that are believed to date back to the 12th century. When found by some Europeans, it was thought that the artwork had to have come from an outside source, many believed ancient Greeks or Romans. No one could believe the amount of skilled craftsmanship required could possibly come from a civilization once thought to be inferior to that of the Western world.

Most Yoruba art has a meaning or purpose behind it. Some items are carved for worship or for celebration, sometimes as a commemoration of Yoruba culture. Many carvers come from a long familial lineage of artists and spend many years studying new and ancient techniques.

A tradition of the Yoruba are annual and seasonal masquerades. Masquerades are held for different purposes and meanings such as worship, celebration, harvest etc. Huge festivals are held that can sometimes last days. A great amount of work goes into the construction of these events. Costumes and masks need to be made, performances rehearsed, food preparation etc. The masks and clothing associated with these festivities are considered sacred and are not supposed to be touched by an ordinary person or they may lose their power. Some costumes are passed down for generations.

Type of Object

Bronze Figure, Bronze Head

Country of Origin

Nigeria

Ethnicity

Yoruba

Material

Bronze, Copper Alloy

Approximate Age

Unknown

Height (Inches)

5"

Width (Inches)

2"

Depth (Inches)

2.5"

Weight

1lb

Overall Condition

Good with minor imperfections.

Tribe Information

About the Yoruba People

The Yoruba are the largest cultural group on the African continent, with nearly 40 million people. The word ‘Yoruba’ describes both the language and a tribe living across Nigeria and the Popular Republic of Benin, in an area of forest and savannah.

Geography
The Yoruba people’s primary living space is South-West Nigeria with substantial Yoruba communities in Benin, Togo and Sierra Leone but they are not bound by state or country borders. This area is often referred to as “Yorubaland”. Most of the terrain is either forest, woodland savannah, rich farmland or coastal swamps and lagoons.

History
The origin of the Yoruba people in Nigeria is heavily debated. Some believe they came from the east in Mecca, some say from the north in Egypt. Evidence shows that ethnically, Yoruba’s have been in the area known as Yorubaland since the 7th century BC. Scholars believe the area was probably inhabited earlier by peoples of the Nok culture. Yorubaland covers the modern-day countries of Nigeria, Togo and Benin. The term Yoruba to describe ethnicity, did not come about until the 16th century and wasn’t widely used until the 19th century. Before then, the Yoruba people were known by many names depending on who was acknowledging them. For instance, the Europeans referred to them as Akú, whereas in Cuba, they were referred to as O luku mi.

Read more about the Yoruba here.

Additional Information

About the “Ife Head” Object

This piece is a representation of the original Ife Head that was unearthed in 1938 in Ile Ife. Created by the lost wax casting method, these bronzes were compared to ancient Roman or Greek art due to the astounding detail, realism and craftsmanship. Pieces like these are believed to have been created by the Yoruba since the 9th or 10th century.

About Lost-Wax Casting Method

In-direct lost wax casting is the most basic form of metal casting seen in African cultures. Scholars have yet to establish exactly how it was introduced and developed in West African regions, but it is known that it was being used prior to Portuguese explorers’ arrival in the late 1400’s.
To use this method, the artist must begin with a low melting point material that can retain its shape but is soft enough to carve intricate details into, such as beeswax. Once the artist finishes carving the details, layers of clay are applied to the outside and then left to dry. The first layer of clay applied takes on the details, while the additional layers of coarser clay provide strength to the entirety of the mold. Once fired, the wax is then melted, leaving only the baked clay shell. Liquid metal is then poured into the empty clay mold. Once the metal has hardened and cooled, the clay exterior is then broken. This process reveals the finished metal object, which is always unique due to the mold being destroyed during the final process.
Many West African sculptors have altered this method by using multiple castings, which can be used to create hollowed and thin metal figures. One of the ways to achieve the hollowed result is creating the wax sculptures over a formed clay core. Iron spikes are used to attach the solid clay core to the clay layers of the mold. The metal is then poured inside and left to cool and hardened. At the end of the process, the clay core is then broken up and removed and the final brass work is finished. These hollowed pieces can then be united to create larger figures or vessels.

Source:
Apley, Alice. (2001, October) African Lost-Wax Casting Essay. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/wax/hd_wax.htm