Kingdom of Ife Exhibition at the British Museum


http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/feb/26/kingdom-of-ife-british-museum-review

I know my remit is usually history and politics, but for those of you that are arts fans….

The British Museum has a Kingdom of Ife exhibition that includes rarely seen brass, copper, stone and terracotta sculptures from west Africa. The exhibition opened on March 4, 2010. Click below for photos of the exhibition.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2010/feb/24/kingdom-of-ife-british-museum

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5 responses

  1. […] of Ife Exhibition at the British Museum https://maxsiollun.wordpress.com/2010…ritish-museum/ __________________ […]

  2. that sounds awesome

  3. Re: ‘Kingdom of Ife’ Exhibition at the British Museum.
    It is unfortunate that reviewers of the above exhibition in the Guardian, Times, Financial Times, Telegraph, Independent and Sunday Independent have all ignored an important part of Africa’s history which may well have had a vital bearing on the Art of Ife in Nigeria,
    Since early in the first millennium AD,and possibly much earlier, Indonesian mariners had been regular visitors to the shores of Africa. The first inhabitants of Madagascar were Indonesians who came via the African mainland; and in all probability the ancient maritime people, the Zanj (Azania, Zanzibar and Tanzania) who occupied east Africa before Arabs and Persians took over were also Afro-Indonesians.
    Although they left no written records, there is circumstantial evidence that Indonesians went further and rounded the Cape, and settled along parts of the western coast of Africa, and penetrated up some of the great rivers. Such evidence can be found in the distribution of yams, plantains, maize and a number of other non-African plants; in elephantiasis (the disease famously depicted in an Ife sculpture), which had oriental origins; in musical instruments, for example the xylophone; in crafts connected with glass-making; in the use and distribution of Indian Ocean cowrie shells as ornments and money; and in connections between some of the most fundamental beliefs, such as Nigeria’s Ifa divination and very similar belief systems in the western Pacific.
    As it is generally accepted that the technique of cire-perdue casting was introduced to Nigeria from outside Africa, Southeast Asia must be considered as a likely source. It is also likely that Buddhist overtones in some of the Ife figures had a similar origin. Proof is hard to come by; but so much circumstantial evdience pointing to Southeast Asian connections should not be ignored by the critics.

  4. Indonesia

    Your veiled attempt at attributing the artistic merit of the artisans of Ife to an Asian influence is amusing at best and ridiculous at the worst.
    Equally preposterous is your mention of ‘non African plants’, the assertion of which actually comes from flawed sources, as well as your suggestion that Africans owe their religious practices, knowledge of glass making and the lost wax process to this same influence.
    Pray tell, what else may we attribute to this Asian connection?
    Perhaps the very existence of black people on the continent?
    Get over yourself.
    The artistic merit of these works belong to the craftsmen of Ife alone and to no one else and certainly not to any mysterious Asian connection.
    In the same vein, the ‘vegetable complex’ consisting of the plants you mentioned as well as the afore mentioned practices are solely the result of years of cultivation and observation by indigenous Africans who as all others elsewhere sought to master their environment to make it work for them, and not, as has been asserted by authors with a ‘Frobenius’ like train of thought, the boon of wandering travellers from afar.
    It is amazing to see how many in this day and age attempt to cling on in vain to age old myths which attribute any noteworthy accomplishment of Africans to the benevolent presence of outsiders, irrespective of the fact that these myths have no foundation in factual evidence or history.
    One last thought you may wish to ponder on concerning the issue of cultivation and the other practices you mentioned is this:
    Who is to say that it was not the Asians who learnt these skills from the blacks and not he other way round as has been claimed?
    Food for thought indeed.

  5. Indonesia

    Your veiled attempt at attributing the artistic merit of the artisans of Ife to an Asian influence is amusing at best and ridiculous at the worst.
    Equally preposterous is your mention of ‘non African plants’, the assertion of which actually comes from flawed sources, as well as your suggestion that Africans owe their religious practices, knowledge of glass making and the lost wax process to this same influence.
    Pray tell, what else may we attribute to this Asian connection?
    Perhaps the very existence of black people on the continent?
    Get over yourself.
    The artistic merit of these works belong to the craftsmen of Ife alone and to no one else and certainly not to any mysterious Asian connection.
    In the same vein, the ‘vegetable complex’ consisting of the plants you mentioned as well as the afore mentioned practices are solely the result of years of cultivation and observation by indigenous Africans who as all others elsewhere sought to master their environment to make it work for them, and not, as has been asserted by authors with a ‘Frobenius’ like train of thought, the boon of wandering travellers from afar.
    It is amazing to see how many in this day and age attempt to cling on in vain to age old myths which attribute any noteworthy accomplishment of Africans to the benevolent presence of outsiders, irrespective of the fact that these myths have no foundation in factual evidence or history.
    One last thought you may wish to ponder on concerning the issue of cultivation and the other practices you mentioned is this:
    Who is to say that it was not the Asians who learnt these skills from the blacks and not he other way round as has been claimed?
    Food for thought indeed.

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