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

Benin bronze (N° 23520)

This sculpture depicting a Portuguese soldier, made using the lost wax casting process, has a blaster. Richly dressed, he wears a traditional tunic, hip dagger, helmet, and anklets. Shaded gray patina. The Portuguese arrived in Benin in the 15th century, equipped with a military arsenal which aroused great interest among the kings. The power of firearms was then naturally associated with the capacity for occult defense against invisible enemies. In the 16th century, Europeans played a major role in the court of the Oba: they imported corals and glass beads there, as well as shackles, highly coveted by the king and his courtiers.
At the same time, their soldiers took part in the military campaigns of Benin, in particular against the kingdom of Idah. The character's blaster therefore attests to the presence of cannons, an essential and extremely effective asset.

Within the royal palaces of the city of Benin where the Edo lived, speaking an eponymous language, the art of bronze was moreover exclusively reserved for the court.  

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OriginEx-collection Cordier
Material(s)alliages de bronze
Height cm45
Width20 cm
Weight5.75 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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