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KINGDOM OF IFE

Header: Kingdom of Ife or Yoruba King. West Africa, Nigeria.

Top row: (1) Yoruba (Nigeria). Superb mask of Oni Obalufon II. 12th-15th century. Copper. Height 29.5 cm. National Commision for Museums and Monuments, Lagos. (2) Head with elaborate crown, Ife, Ita Yemoo. Terracotta, 12th-14th century. (3) Ife people celebrating their Obatala festival at Ile Ife. (4) Kingdom of Ife, West African Head.


Bottom row: (1) A Magnificent and highly important Benin head of an Oba, Nigeria, circa 1575-1625. (2) People performing an important Ifa ceremony. (3) Kingdom of Ife, West Africa, Lajuwa head. (4) Here, Olojo is the biggest festival on the Ife cultural calendar. This festival is held annually to commemorate Oduduwa’s descent from heaven. It is during the Olojo festival that Ooni wears Aare crown. Aare is a mysterious crown worn only once in a year and it is believed to possess the power that instantly transfigure Ooni to the rank of Orisa (god). With 201 traditional religious festivals, it is the only day that the people do not offer sacrifices at the various shrines that dot the town. This particular day remains a secret the chief and priests of the kingdom keep so dear to the heart.

Kingdom of Ife, West Africa. Ife head with crown, 12th-14th century.

Images above: (1) Ile ife women in their traditional dress (2) Benin, West Africa. Head of an Oba. (3) People at an Ife festival. (4) Ife Terracotta head.

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