thermoluminescence date 20–620 CE
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This complete head’s bold modeling, deliberate asymmetry, and sensitive expression make it one of the finest known examples of Nok sculpture.


This Nok terracotta is an exceptionally well-preserved large head that was probably once part of a life-size seated figure, posed with knees drawn up and chin resting on the forearm. Whether or not such heads were meant to be an early form of portraiture is unknown. There is also the possibility that these heads were to honor ancestors, and in part to communicate with the spirit world of the deceased.


thermoluminescence date 20–620 CE

Africa, West Africa, Nigeria, Nok-culture style region, unknown maker

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