- 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 quite plump, well modelled. Nose is straight, lips are parted with central hole. Neck has seven horizontal grooves at front and is pierced with irregularly placed holes at front, back and sides. Single line of holes runs around the hairline. Double line of holes run from ear to ear above and below the chin and a further two rows of holes run across the upper lip. Three cuts on the forehead. Crack runs from right proper ear to jaw. Head is painted green to correspond to the patination of the metal on the original. Number 9 painted in white inside head.
- Production date
Height: 35.50 centimetres
Width: 17.50 centimetres
Depth: 25.50 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: M9) which is made of heavily leaded zinc-brass. It is in the collections of the National Museum Lagos numbered Ife 11.
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 11.
- Not on display
- 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 the 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