|Head, Possibly a King - terracotta|
|Ife King - bronze|
|Mask with Vertical Line Facial Markings - terracotta|
|King Obalufon II - copper|
The concept of the inner and outer head is also a central feature of the Yoruba portrait. These images above are sculptures completed in the city of Ife, following the depiction of the outer head (its naturalistic physiognomy). The city of Ife was particularly proficient during the period of the 13th to 15th century in creating highly naturalistic sculpture work, possibly by a handful of artists working in a close-knit setting.
Yoruba portrait sculpture can also be highly symbolic to better depict the inner head in its metaphysical state - here I have only posted the naturalistic "outer head" sculptures due to their visual accessibility to us. In the sculpture of King Obalufon II, it is interesting to note that the purity of the copper (96.8-99.7%) surpasses the sculptures of Ancient Greece, Rome, the Italian Renaissance and Chinese bronze casters. (Blier)
Although we do not have a great understanding of who these artists were or their technical process, their work speaks for itself and crosses time and space to reach artists and art appreciators. I hope you can appreciate it.