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Benin Royal Bronze Head of Oba Edo Nigeria African Art

Regular Price: $490.00

Special Price: $325.00

Product #: 83777
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Title Benin Royal Bronze Head of Oba Edo Nigeria Africa
Type of Object Bronze Head
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Edo people at Benin
Materials Brass / bronze Copper Alloy
Approximate Age 20th-21st Century. Modeled after an original dating approximately Early 1700s (After Dark & Foreman, 1960:53) but dating form the recent past.?
Dimensions Height: 11.25 Inches
Width: 6 Inches
Depth: 7.75 Inches
Overall Condition Fair. 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 oxidation, rusting surface in small places, dents

Additional Information: The famous royal center of Benin in Nigeria produced a number of remarkable objects and bronze heads cast in bronze including the original of this late replica that was also cast in Nigeria.  Benin City was the center of power for the Edo people and the place of residence for the Oba, the ruler. This bronze cast head is of an Oba, a ruler at Benin, who still rules today.  This head is based upon an early 18th century original and shows a stylized head with magical and symbolic motifs over its surface.  Serpents are shown emerging from the eyes and nostrils shown devouring frogs. Four birds stand as part of a crown like headdress most likely representing vultures that are prominent in Benin mythology and religion.  The head is a mixture of magical and symbolic motifs  known in other examples of Benin art.  The modern caster was true to his early model inasmuch as he has set small bits of iron into the eyes representing the pupils and retaining the overall sensibility of the original.   That this is a replica cannot be doubted, but what is important to note is that the skill of the Nigerian bronze and brass casters of today who cast this head continue a tradition nearly 500 years old at Benin and have not lost their skill in producing interesting works of art. 

Recommended 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.

I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD