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.
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