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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Extended until 4 July 2010

Kingdom of Ife

Sculptures from West Africa

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Exhibition overview

This major exhibition presents exquisite examples of brass, copper, stone and terracotta sculpture from West Africa.

The Kingdom of Ife (pronounced ee-feh) was a powerful, cosmopolitan and wealthy city-state in West Africa (in what is now modern south-west Nigeria). 

Ife flourished as a political, spiritual, cultural and economic centre in the 12th–15th centuries AD, and was an influential hub of local and long-distance trade networks.

The exhibition features superb pieces of Ife sculpture, drawn almost entirely from the magnificent collections of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria.

The artists of Ife developed a refined and highly naturalistic sculptural tradition in stone, terracotta, brass and copper to create a style unlike anything in Africa at the time. The technical sophistication of the casting process is matched by the artworks’ enduring beauty.

The human figures portray a wide cross-section of Ife society and include images of youth and old age, health and disease, suffering and serenity.

 

King figure. Ife, Nigeria. Early 14th century

Image right: King figure. Ife, Nigeria. Early 14th century. © Karin L. Wills/Museum for African Art/National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria.

 

 

 

Co-organised by

Fundación Marcelino Botín Museum for African art

In collaboration with the National Commission
for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria.

Sponsored by

Santander

Additional support provided by

The A.G. Leventis Foundation