Art in Ancient Ife, Birthplace of the Yoruba

  title={Art in Ancient Ife, Birthplace of the Yoruba},
  author={Suzanne Preston Blier},
  journal={African Arts},
  • S. P. Blier
  • Published 16 October 2012
  • History
  • African Arts
Artists the world over shape knowledge and material into works of unique historical importance. The artists of ancient Ife, ancestral home to the Yoruba and mythic birthplace of gods and humans, clearly were interested in creating works that could be read. Breaking the symbolic code that lies behind the unique meanings of Ife’s ancient sculptures, however, has vexed scholars working on this material for over a century. While much remains to be learned, thanks to a better understanding of the… 
Manifestations of Orí (Head) in Traditional Yorùbá Architecture
Yorùbá traditional architecture is not spontaneous. It is a product of a well-structured cultural and religious system. Every aspect from the choice of material, to the style of building, and even
Yoruba Art and Language: Seeking The African in African Art
This Review Forum, a new feature of the African Studies Review , is a space where leading scholars, representing a diversity of critical opinions, engage with a significant new book, followed by a
The Yoruba of South-Western Nigeria emerged as a distinct language group around 2000 BC to 1000 BC. The Yoruba developed kingship political system around 1000 BC. This article elucidates the
Facial Scarification on Ifè Brass Heads : An Alternative Hypothesis and Its Implications
The discovery of the Ifè heads in the early 20th century stirred the global art community. By the mid 20th century, the metal heads had become a sensation and source of pride to the Yorùbá nation.
Ontology Engineering in Yorùbá Cultural Heritage Domain
The design and implementation of an ontology representing knowledge embedded in YCH as a digital (documentation) resource and the formal digital documentation resulting from the study is a useful software artefact for the development of a semantic application for Yoruba heritage domain.
Development Control Regulations Compliance: Paradigm Change to Reinvent Disrupted Public Spaces and Make Future Great Place in Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria
Public spaces in the human society predate the built environment. Settlements expanding unto open spaces necessitate statutory control to ensure orderly development and mutual existence of various


The Historiography of Yoruba Myth and Ritual
The historiography of African myth begins by documenting, comparing, and interpreting variant traditions. Where documentation is inscriptive and comparison descriptive, interpretation is notoriously
Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures
Over the centuries, artists across sub-Saharan Africa have memorialized eminent figures in their societies using an astonishingly diverse repertoire of naturalistic and abstract sculptural idioms.
Traditions, Documents, and the Ife-Benin Relationship
Historians of Nigeria have been curious for many years about the relationship between the various states of the southern zone since the sixteenth century. The fact that the area has produced a rich
Black Critics and Kings: The Hermeneutics of Power in Yoruba Society
How can we account for the power of ritual? This is the guiding question of "Black Critics and Kings," which examines how Yoruba forms of ritual and knowledge shape politics, history, and resistance
Terracotta Sculptures From Obalara's Compound, Ile-Ife
In the ancient city of Ile-Ife, once described as a "museum of buried antiquities," there are people whose job is to report the discovery of antiquities, which have often been unearthed during the
Words about Words about Icons: Iconologology and the Study of African Art
If we understand “iconology” to mean “the study of icons” (“words about icons”) then “iconologology” may be said to refer to “the study of iconology” (“words about words about icons”). Discourse on
Kings, Crowns, and Rights of Succession: Obalufon Arts at Ife and other Yoruba Centers
The copper Obalufon mask from ancient Ife is integrally associated with Ife political rule. Identified with the king Obalufon II in his role first as historic ruler at Ife, then as deity of Yoruba
Four Millennia of Cultural History in Nigeria (ca. 2000 B.C.–A.D. 1900): Archaeological Perspectives
This essay is an analysis of archaeological contributions to the understanding of Nigeria's cultural history between ca. 2000 B.C. and A.D. 1900 focusing on the following themes: the origins of food
Àwòrán: Representing the Self and Its Metaphysical Other in Yoruba Art
This paper draws attention to the link between art and language in Yoruba society. It then focuses on the ontological, mnemonic, and ritual significance of aworan (visual representation) and the
The Yoruba Ogboni Cult in Oyo
Opening Paragraph The Yoruba Ogboni cult has been referred to as a typical ‘secret society’ for over fifty years, yet it has never been described in any detail, or analysed in accurate general terms.