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Benin Queen Mother's Head Edo Wood Nigeria African Art

Product #: 77210
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Title Benin Queen Mother's Head Wood Edo Nigeria
Type of Object Carved Queen Mother's Head
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Edo
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age Second half 20th Century
Dimensions 16 inches H. x 4.5 inches W.
Overall Condition Poor.   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 Old insect damage arrested, holes, scratches, large cracks in back, age cracks in places

Addition Information: A Benin Queen Mother's head carved after the original dating originally approximately 1550 1750 A.D.

The famous royal center of Benin in Nigeria produced a number of remarkable objects in wood and and bronze heads including this 20th century copy made in Nigeria.  Benin City was the center of power for the Edo people and the place of residence for the Oba, the ruler. This wood carved  head is of  the Queen Mother, who was the mother of the Oba, the ruler at Benin, who still rules today.  This head is carved after a cast bronze original and is shown on a well decorated base.. Her large headdress recalls the real royal hat made of  network of precious coral beadwork.  This is a rare Queen mother's head  made from wood; The   well carved head is also  marked by the fine detailing of the face and its sublime expression, hair and crown and a high degree of naturalism uncommon in African sculpture. That this is a replica cannot be doubted, but what is important to note is that  such headscontinue a tradition nearly 500 years old at Benin and have not lost their skill in producing interesting works of art.  Though a late example of Benin Art it is finely worked and carved with great skill. 

Recommended Reading:

Drewal , H. J. and J. Pemberton III, with R. Abiodun Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought, (New York, 1989)

Drewal, H. J. and M. Thompson Drewal., Gelede, Art and Female Power among the Yoruba. 1983.

 Fagg, W. and J. Pemberton III: Yoruba Sculpture of West Africa, (New York, 1982)

Lawal, B.: The Gelede Spectacle. Art, Gender, and Social Harmony in an African Culture. (Seattle, London 1996)

Mato, D., Chelsea Cooksey, Yoruba: Art of Life. The Bennett-Luther Collection, Denver 2004 

Witte, H.: A Closer Look; Local Styles in the Yoruba Art Collection of the Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal. 2004.