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Gold jewellery made in Yorubaland used to be quite popular. Bracelets, collars, anklets, earring etc. Nowadays people count themselves as   fortunate to have seen samples of gold jewellery made in Yorubaland during their youth because they are very hard to find now. Unless of course you are the Ooni of Ife: “The beads that I am wearing, I went as far as Benin Kingdom to go and exploit the beads. People don’t wear it any longer but it is made in Nigeria and I am proud to say it. The gold in between it, I took it from Mokuru waters in Ife and it is one of the most purified gold in the world. It is a 23.9 karat gold, raw. We just decided to do surface mining.”

“We have it in Nigeria. We have it in Ife, Ilesa and in Niger State. All these things are just littered everywhere. But there is nobody to harness and put all those structures in place.”
“We have focused too much on oil and gas.”

“So I am very proud to say today that what I am wearing is made in Nigeria hundred per cent. This throne, the shoe that I am wearing are made in Nigeria. The soap I use is made in Ile Ife. That is the only way Nigerian economy can grow. So we must lead by example.” – Oba Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife

 

Yoruba also use jewellery for the purpose of storing currency. These samples are from the 18th – 19th Century

National Museum of African Art Keywords Trade Currency Notes Label Text: While objects such as bracelets, collars, earrings and anklets crafted from copper, gold and silver were used as jewelry, in some cases they also served as currency. These pieces of jewelry were not widely circulated and were never used in connection with routine transactions. Instead, they served as repositories of wealth in a form that was easy to store and transport.
Neck ring Source National Museum of African Art While objects such as bracelets, collars, earrings and anklets crafted from copper, gold and silver were used as jewelry, in some cases they also served as currency. These pieces of jewelry were not widely circulated and were never used in connection with routine transactions. Instead, they served as repositories of wealth in a form that was easy to store and transport. Maker: Yoruba peoples Date: 18th-19th century

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armlet Description Type Image Source National Museum of African Art Keywords Trade Currency Notes Label Text: While objects such as bracelets, armlets, collars, earrings and anklets crafted from copper, gold and silver were used as jewelry, in some cases they also served as currency. These pieces of jewelry were not widely circulated and were never used in connection with routine transactions. Instead, they served as repositories of wealth in a form that was easy to store and transport. Name Maker: Yoruba peoples Identifier Object number: 2002-10-22 Dates Date: 18th-19th century Physical Description Medium: Copper alloy Dimensions: H x W x D: 17.8 x 12.7 x 23.7 cm (7 x 5 x 9 5/16 in.) Additional Info See more items in: National Museum of African Art Collection Credit Line: Gift of Tom Joyce and museum purchase with funds donated by Carl Jennings Geography: Nigeria
Armlet

National Museum of African Art
 While objects such as bracelets, armlets, collars, earrings and anklets crafted from copper, gold and silver were used as jewelry, in some cases they also served as currency. These pieces of jewelry were not widely circulated and were never used in connection with routine transactions. Instead, they served as repositories of wealth in a form that was easy to store and transport.
Maker: Yoruba peoples
Date: 18th-19th century
Physical Description
Medium: Copper alloy 

See more items in: National Museum of African Art Collection Credit Line: Gift of Tom Joyce and museum purchase with funds donated by Carl Jennings Geography: Nigeria

 

 

 

 

Bracelet Description Type Image Source National Museum of African Art Keywords Adornment composite animal Notes Label Text: This Yoruba armlet features the extremely rare and important imagery of the "snake-wing bird" or bat. This motif appears in somewhat varying forms on the large-scale male figures from Gara and Jebba, as well as on a limited number of armlets. Related images appear on copper alloy stools from Ijebu-Ode, and in Benin art. Particularly noteworthy on this armlet is the grasping hand (or in this case bird foot) gesture with emphasized thumb, a staple of Benin iconography. The frontal face with its opposing crescent marks on the forehead is typically associated with the Oshugbo society, although research on the Ijebu region has found it in other cult contexts. The finials on the faces' projections have been described as python heads, but comparisons with the Ijebu-Ode stool offer other possibilities--such as antelope hooves or a shortened reference to the python devouring an antelope with three leaves. Label Text: Dating of this regional material continues to be problematic and published data seems to rely on cross-referencing motifs with more accepted chronologies in Yoruba and Benin and with major pieces that have oral histories. The iconography and the braided motifs are often given an 18th century date. The relative thickness of the armlet and the unpierced crotal free flanges are often cause for a 19th century date. Name Maker: Yoruba peoples Identifier Object number: 2002-14-16 Dates Date: 18th-19th century Physical Description Medium: Copper alloy Dimensions: H x W x D: 9.9 x 9.5 x 9.7 cm (3 7/8 x 3 3/4 x 3 13/16 in.) Additional Info See more items in: National Museum of African Art Collection Credit Line: Bequest of Charlton E. Williams Geography: Ijebu region, Nigeria
Bracelet
Source : National Museum of African Art
This Yoruba armlet features the extremely rare and important imagery of the “snake-wing bird” or bat. This motif appears in somewhat varying forms on the large-scale male figures from Gara and Jebba, as well as on a limited number of armlets. Related images appear on copper alloy stools from Ijebu-Ode, and in Benin art. Particularly noteworthy on this armlet is the grasping hand (or in this case bird foot) gesture with emphasized thumb, a staple of Benin iconography. The frontal face with its opposing crescent marks on the forehead is typically associated with the Oshugbo society, although research on the Ijebu region has found it in other cult contexts. The finials on the faces’ projections have been described as python heads, but comparisons with the Ijebu-Ode stool offer other possibilities–such as antelope hooves or a shortened reference to the python devouring an antelope with three leaves. Dating of this regional material continues to be problematic and published data seems to rely on cross-referencing motifs with more accepted chronologies in Yoruba and Benin and with major pieces that have oral histories. The iconography and the braided motifs are often given an 18th century date. The relative thickness of the armlet and the unpierced crotal free flanges are often cause for a 19th century date.
Maker: Yoruba peoples
Date: 18th-19th century
Physical Description
Medium: Copper alloy 
See more items in: National Museum of African Art Collection Credit Line: Bequest of Charlton E. Williams Geography: Ijebu region, Nigeria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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