African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Benin rider
Benin rider (N° 22276)
Benin African art is described as court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as Oba. The tradition of bronze court objects from the Benin Kingdom dates back to the 14th century. The many brass heads and statues created by the artists of Benin were reserved for the exclusive use of the inhabitants of the royal palace and, more often than not, placed on altars consecrated by each new Oba. These rectangular altars were surmounted by heads, statues, carved ivory tusks, bells and staves. They were used to commemorate an oba and to get in touch with his spirit.
The craftsmen of Benin also produced figures of riders on horseback, representing according to the interpretations, either a Benin king, or a Yoruba emissary of the cavalry of Oyo. It could also be Oranmiyan, who imported horses around 1200 in Benin. To the Oba Esigie who also made his appearance each year perched on a horse followed by a procession of servants, the King of Portugal sent in 1505 a mount and a costume of silk and linen decorated with coral beads.
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(Source: Benin, ed. Snoeck)
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|Estimated dating||bronze tardif|
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