Ife shrine head
Yoruba, Nigeria. 12th-14th century. Terracotta • H. 31 cm. The John R. Van Derlip Fund • # 95.84. Minneapolis Institute of Art.
She is a beauty queen and a favorite of many MIA museum visitors, her tranquil demeanor and introspective gaze expressing what the Yoruba people consider a person’s inner spirituality. Crowned by a simple ridged headdress, this royal portrait head was part of a larger figure now lost. Her neck is creased as though with fat, a sign of prosperity in Yoruba society. The vertical lines covering her face probably reflect the traditional scarification designs used in the Ife Kingdom or may represent the veil worn by the royal family.
More information here.
PS: this unique cultural heritage model was built using only CT-scan slices — no photography used at all, possibly (?) a world première in the field of cultural heritage documentation—Jan 7, 2016.