- Museum number
Cast; human head made of plaster. Head is about life size and has a large circular hole in the top. Face is smooth and upper part of head is recessed. Nose convex in profile; lips are parted and pierced through centre. No grooves indicated on neck. Four holes through neck at front, back and sides. Single line of small holes around hairline. Two lines of holes running above and below chin from ear to ear. Further double line of holes around upper lip. Head is crushed on the left proper cheek and neck. Crack on right proper jaw through to neck. Head is painted green to correspond to patination of metal on original. White painted number 16 inside.
- Production date
Height: 33 centimetres
Width: 19.50 centimetres
Depth: 27.50 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.
This cast was taken in 1947-8 from the original head (Willett, 2004: M8) which is made of heavily leaded zinc-brass. It is in the collections of the National Museum Lagos originally numbered Ife 8, re-numbered 38.1.8. The original head was discovered in the first group at Wunmonije.
The original of this cast was displayed at the British Museum in a case with 11 other Ife heads , a mask (probably from July onwards) and a half figure from 24 June - September 1948.
Several Ife heads had samples removed for testing while they were at the British Museum in 1947-8. This head was sample number 8.
- Not on display
- Good. Chip from left proper ear. Minor chips from around base. Tiny chips from back of neck and head.
- Acquisition notes
- In 1946 the Keeper of Ethnography, Mr H J Braunholtz, visited Ife, Nigeria, while conducting a survey of museum needs in West Africa for the Colonial Office. Braunholtz suggested to the Ooni of Ife, Sir Adesoji Aderemi, that finds discovered at Wunmonije Compound, Ife, in 1938-9 should be sent to the BM for conservation treatment (cleaning) and exhibition. In 1947 14 heads and one half figure arrived at the British Museum.
Plaster casts were made of 11 of these heads (including this one) as well as the half figure. However, due to time constraints it proved impossible to complete the colouring of 4 of the heads.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number