African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Benin Statue

Benin leopard figure (N° 14345)

The palatial tribal art of Benin
Before the destruction of the palace of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, the divine character of kings, the Oba , was illustrated by multiple works celebrating their power. War scenes were reproduced on narrative plates, in bronze, and affixed to the walls. Sumptuous bronze altars, commemorative figures of deceased chefs, heavy bracelets, hairs and recades were produced in quantity in many workshops of smelters according to the technique of cast iron with lost wax.
The killing of the king of animals associated with the legends, the leopard, was the privilege of the chief, the Oba. The feline could then serve as an offering for the worship of the chief's head. Sometimes tamed by various royal guilds, he accompanied the chief on his travels. The Oba, named " child of the house leopard", could also offer teeth or skin to commanders whose loyalty was evident. The rich benign iconography is therefore full of references to this animal. This copy decorated with lozenges evoking ocelles presents a brown patina with pink reflections. Indigenous restoration on the tail.  

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Originex-collection allemande
EthnyBénin
Countrynigéria
Material(s)bronze
Height cm26
Width47 cm
Weight3.35 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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