Figure of an Ooni of Ife


Kenya National Archives

Kenya National Archives
Nairobi, Kenya

The original sculpture of Ooni (king) of the old kingdom of ife was found in 1957. Although this sculpture was of brass, there were similar sculptures represented in terracotta. It represents the Ooni in the costume worn for his coronation, holding a horn filled with powerful medicine and a staff representing his authority. The beads around the neck and longer ropes of heavier beads probably carved of locally mined japer or agate which were used in regalia before the Portuguese brought in coral beads. Coral beads are still used in present day Ife and Benin in what is now Nigeria, although these royal fiefdoms are only a shadow of their past splendour.


  • Title: Figure of an Ooni of Ife
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 1100/1500
  • Location: Nigeria
  • Type: Terra Cotta Sculptures
  • Rights: Kenya National Archives

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