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.