The Kingdom of Ife
The kingdom of Ife first emerged around AD 800. It was one of several competing West African kingdoms that developed during the medieval period. Ife’s power and wealth was probably partly derived from its access to the lucrative Niger River trade routes, connecting it to the wider trade networks of West Africa and the Sahara. Today Ife is regarded as the spiritual heartland of the Yoruba people of southwest Nigeria. Ife is celebrated as the place of origin of mankind, where the gods descended from heaven to populate the world.
Ife Heads in History
The first and most famous Bronze Head from Ife, or Ife Head was excavated in 1938 and is now located in the British Museum. When Frobenius discovered the first example of a similar head it undermined existing Western understanding of African civilization. Experts could not believe that Africa had ever had a civilization capable of creating artifacts of this quality. Attempting to explain what was thought an anomaly, Frobenius offered his theory that these had been cast by a colony of ancient Greeks established in the thirteenth century BC. He made a claim, widely circulated in the popular press, that his hypothesized ancient Greek colony could be the origin of the ancient legend of the lost civilization of Atlantis. It is now recognized that these artifacts represent an indigenous African tradition that attained a high level of realism and refinement
Female Ife Bronze Head