Shrine head, 12th-14th century


Terracottaexpand_more   95.84

The John R. Van Derlip Fundexpand_more


She is a beauty queen and a favorite of many museum visitors, her tranquil demeanor and introspective gaze expressing what the Yoruba people consider a person’s inner spirituality. Crowned by a simple ridged headdress, this royal portrait head was part of a larger figure now lost. Her neck is creased as though with fat, a sign of prosperity in Yoruba society. The vertical lines covering her face probably reflect the traditional scarification designs used in the Ife Kingdom or may represent the veil worn by the royal family.

Shrine head
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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