Visual Art Paper 1 ,May/June 2013  
Questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Main
General Comments


(a) Why is Ife art referred to as Court art?

(b) Describe the traditional method of bronze casting in Ife art.

(c) State two characteristics of Ife art.



The question was quite popular among the candidates and few of the candidates responded remarkably to it. Such candidates were able to describe the method of bronze casting, but some other candidates only mentioned the technique which is lost-wax or cire-perdue and this deprived them of the maximum obtainable marks. Candidates’ responses were expected to highlight some of the following points:

(a) - because the king, who is the spiritual head has total control of all artistic productions.
- because most of the works were created for the exaltation of the kings.
- the heads are portraits of royalty.

(b) - it is referred to as cire-perdue or lost wax method.
- the initial image is made in clay mixture (clay, cow dung and sand). This is called the inner core.
- the clay model (the inner core) is covered with bee wax.
- intricate details are made on the wax covering/layer.
- the wax layer is covered with clay (the outer core).
- pins are inserted at different locations to hold both inner and outer core together.
- vent and funnels are created at certain points.
- allow clay (inner and outer core) to dry completely.
- place form in fire to enable the wax layer to melt out (de-waxing).
- pour molten metal into vacuum created by the melted wax through the funnel.
- leave poured metal to solidify.
- break the outer shell to get the final bronze image.
- put finishing touches, e.g. filing, polishing, decoration.

(c) - they are mainly done in terra-cotta and bronze.
- they are highly naturalistic.
- they have profuse scarification.
- they have elaborate ornamentations, e.g. beads.
- human figures are mainly represented.
- heads are in life size.
- they are symbolic.
- eyes are round and without pupils.
- they have ringed necks.
- there are perforations along the hairline.

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