- Museum number
Cast; human head wearing a crown, made of plaster. Approximately 3/4 life size. Face is covered with narrow vertical striations. Two lines of holes run from ear to ear, above and below chin; further double line of holes across upper lip. Eyes very small; lips full. Crown in form of tiered band, open at the crown, with narrow projecting arc over forehead and elaborate panel covering back of neck. Some elements painted red, front arc painted red-brown. Centre of crown has crest in form of conical disc with upright element behind. Holes at either side of neck, at each temple and in two places on crown. Face is painted green to correspond to the patination of original. Number 21 painted in white inside head.
- Production date
Height: 34.50 centimetres
Width: 14 centimetres
Depth: 20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
In 1938-9 five cast copper and twelve cast brass human heads and one part figure were discovered during building works in Wunmonije Compound close to the Ooni's palace at Ife, Nigeria. Three of the heads are less than life size and are portrayed with crowns; the other fourteen heads are life size and are pierced with holes around the neck.
The original cast brass head (Af1934,39.1) was purchased in Ife by Mr Bate, editor of the Nigerian Daily Times; it was part of the second group of material discovered at Wunmonije in 1938. It was subsequently bought for the British Museum by Sir Kenneth Clark, Director of the National Gallery, acting on behalf of the National Art Collections Fund.
Several Ife heads had samples removed for testing in 1947-8. This head was sample number 18.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2007-2020 1 Oct-19 Feb, London, Museum of London Docklands, LTL London, Sugar and Slavery
- Good. Small chip from jaw (left proper). Hole in jaw (right proper). Extended hole at side of right proper ear.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number