care has been taken in shaping this face to create the convincing
illusion of human flesh and its underlying muscles and bone structure.
Her almost perfect or IDEALIZED
beauty has led scholars to speculate that this and other shrine
heads, although depicting real people, were intended more as COMMEMORATIVE
representations than as true portraits. At Ife, artists may have
used idealization to represent the inner, invisible spirit of a
person, and realism to depict the outer, visible body. The Yoruba
believed in two distinct, yet inseparable, worlds: the tangible
world of the living and the invisible spiritual world inhabited
by the supreme creator, ancestors, and other spirits.