These are among the most celebrated works ever created in Africa and for the first time they have been brought together with other objects from the same era, resulting in a fascinating depiction of Ife. Terra-cotta and brass figures show it to have been a dynamic society where idealized and serene citizens coexisted with their opposites—the diseased, the malformed, the old, and the imprisoned. Trade items illustrate Ife’s ancient prosperity. Its prized glass-beads—worn by royalty—were also exported across north and west Africa. Its metal casting technology was highly advanced, and is represented by works both from Ife and from neighboring regions that adopted the technology. Rare stone sculptures from sacred forest groves also present Ife as a place of vital ritual importance.
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