Monday 22 April 2024


In 1938, during some construction, some workers found a set of sculptures of cast human heads.

These bronze and brass sculptures were found in the Wunmonije complex, in the city of Ile Ife (Nigeria).

The discovery and sophisticated way of making these figures caused quite an impression at the time. Initially, there was a certain refusal to admit that they were the work of Africans and they were attributed to whether they were the work of ancient Greeks, Atlantis and an endless number of theories.

Finally it had to be admitted that they were native works and those of the Yoruba people, more so because the existence of an ancient artistic and metallurgical tradition present in Benin and Igbo-Ukwu was seen in the area.

The Ife heads represented members of royalty, especially the king designated with the title of Ooni.

It is considered that the period in which these heads were made was a prosperous time for the Yorubas, connected through trade by the Niger River to other peoples of West Africa.

Text by Oumar Xavier.


- Bronze Head from Ife by Editha Platte,  Musa O. Hambolu.

- Art and Risk in Ancient Yoruba

Ife History, Power, and Identity, C. 1300 by Suzanne Preston Blier.

- Oumar personal research.

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