Educational Resources for Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria
Download the Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria Gallery GuidePDF
In this exhibition you will see things made by the the Yoruba (say: Yoroo-BUH) people of Ife (say: EE-fay) in ancient Africa, from the nation we now call Nigeria. You will learn about the Yoruba through their royal portraits; their works in copper, stone, and clay; their royal jewelry; their sacred traditions; and their beliefs about life and death, heaven and earth.
The name of this exhibition is “Dynasty and Divinity.” Dynasty refers to a series of kings (and queens) who pass down their power from one generation to the next. Divinity relates to religion, gods, and goddesses.
The city (or kingdom) of Ife is very special to the Yoruba people. Of course, many Yoruba still live in Nigeria and the Republic of Benin, but others have moved to countries around the world. They all trace their roots to Ife.
Art Activity: Head for Inspiration through Ife Art
Download the Ife WorksheetPDF
The Yoruba people of Ife (Nigeria) are well known for their finely crafted portrait heads. These heads were made from materials such as terracotta (clay) and copper (metal). These impressive objects tell us about the people of Ife, including kings and queens.
Article on Ife Art and Technology
Red Gold for Royalty and Orisas:
Copper-Alloy Sculptures and Technology in IfePDF
Richard B. Woodward
This article on Ife art and technology appears in a special issue of the International Review of African American Art on the intersection of the visual arts and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The issue will be published by the Hampton University Museum in March 2011 (details).