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2 Benin Leopards Bronze Nigeria African Art

Regular Price: $850.00

Special Price: $590.00

Product #: 100530
US Shipping: $69.98
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Title 2 Benin Leopards Bronze Nigeria African Art
Type of Object Sculpture, Statue
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Edo
Materials Bronze or brass
Approximate Age Unknown
Dimensions 1: 16.5 inches long x 11 inches tall; 2: 18 inches long x 12.25 inches tall
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair some casting flaws, tarnished surface


Additional Information: A pair of superb bronze / brass leopard castings from the  Benin in Nigeria. The famous royal center of Benin,  the center of the Edo people's power and the place of residence for the Oba, the ruler,  had produced a number of remarkable objects the best known being the portrait heads cast in bronze and a number of leopard castings such as this.  Benin examples of  leopards are known as being ritually used as aquamanile to pour water during ceremonies. The age of these figures is difficult to determine however what is important to note is that the skill of the Nigerian bronze (brass) casters of today who cast these leopards continues a tradition nearly 500 years old at Benin and have not lost their skill in producing wonderful works of art.


The Benin Kingdom was founded by the son of an Ife king around 1300, but it was not until the 15th/16thC that the kingdom reached its zenith. Sometime in the 15thC, members of the kingdom made contact with Portuguese traders living along the coast, and it is likely that some of the skills found in their metalworks were learned from these interactions. The originals of these castings date to the 12th to 15th centuries and are worth millions of dollars. The present day inhabitants, Edo and  Yoruba who live in Benin, continue to produce art today inspired by these famous early masterpieces.


Additional Reading:


Augustus Pitt-Rivers, Antique Works of Art From Benin, 1900 


Hagen, Dr. K., Altertumer von Benin, Jahrbuch der Hamburgischesen  Wissenschaftlichen Anstalten, V. XVII, 1900.


H. Ling Roth, Great Benin, Its Customs, Art and Horrors, 1903 (1968).


Dark, P. J. C., W. & B. Foreman, Benin Art,1960.


Dark, P. J.C., An Introduction to Benin Art and Technology, 1973.


Ben-Amos, P. The Art of Benin, 1980.


Freyer, B., Royal Benin Art, 1987.


Ezra, K., Royal Art of Benin, The Perls Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992.


Duchateau, A., Benin, Royal Art of Africa from the Museum fur Volkerkunde, Vienna, 1994