Collection online

figure / cast

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Cast; human head made of plaster. Modelled face with raised weals across surface. Head has flaring nostrils, pronounced eyebrow ridge. Hairstyle is set above level of face and formed of a crest with three lines of projecting curls on each side. Surface of hair is stippled. Hole in top of head. Back of neck has four scarification marks. Head has vertical, ridged neck with necklace of tubular beads. Cast is painted terracotta colour to correspond to patination of original on outside; unpainted on inside. Bears traces of red paint in ears and on cheeks. Mounted on a black painted wooden block, inscribed on one face.


  • Date

    • 12thC-15thC (original)
    • 20thC(early) (cast)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 23.5 centimetres (with block)
    • Height: 19.5 centimetres
    • Width: 12 centimetres
    • Depth: 13.2 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Content

        Ife-Terrakotte der Frobenius Expediton, 1910
      • Inscription Translation

        Ife terracotta from the Frobenius Expedition, 1910
  • Curator's comments

    Original head from a two thirds life size terracotta figure collected by Frobenius in Ife in 1910. The terracotta body of the original is described as micaceous but without quartz suggesting that it did not derive from the Iwinrin Grove.

    Willett (2004) records a comment from the late Oni of Ife, Sir Adesoji Aderemi, that the raised weals on the orginal head (T709) might have been due to a custom followed ' certain festivals, for members of the royal family to paint lines on their faces with an extract of blister beetle to produce this effect but because it was so painful the practice was abandoned'.


  • Bibliography

    • Willett 2004 bibliographic details
    • Frobenius 1912 bibliographic details
    • Frobenius 1913 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Condition


  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Leo Frobenius undertook one of the first serious works in Ife as part of the 3rd German Inner Africa Expedition 1910-1912. He arrived in Ife on 29 November 1910 and spent three weeks exploring various sites and supervising excavations. BM register notes: 'Original Excavated near Ife, Nigeria. Frobenius Expedition, 1910'.

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: EAF90033

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