Notes on Copper Alloy Metallurgy and Sculpture among the Yorùbá

Adeyemi Akande


The meaning and relevance of sculpture to Yoruba existence is complex and far reaching. To further understand the relationship one must investigate all aspects of the medium. One key area that may give insight to a better understanding is the choice of material and what it symbolises to the ancient people. The choice of cuprous metal for a select class of Yoruba (Ife) sculptural pieces are by no means spontaneous. Brass and bronze possess characteristic properties that endeared them to the Yoruba both physical and spiritually. This paper examines what these properties mean to the people and the consequence of this interpretation.

Keywords: Brass; Bronze; Copper Alloy; Sculpture; Yoruba.

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