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

Bronze Benin leopard figure (N° 18970)

Ex-Corsican African art collection.
The leopard, representing the royal power, has a central place in the culture of the Benin kingdom because this animal appears in the founding myth of which King Ewuare is the hero. According to the legend, King Ewuare wakes up after spending a night next to a leopard and a snake without realizing it. As in other cosmogonies, animals are the manifestation or even the incarnation of supernatural forces. To be spared by these predators is therefore a sign of divine blessing. Before the destruction of the palace of the Benin kingdom in 1897, the divine character of the kings, the Oba, was illustrated by multiple works celebrating their power. War scenes were reproduced on narrative plaques, made of bronze, and affixed to the walls. Sumptuous bronze altars, commemorative figures of deceased chiefs, heavy bracelets, anklets and recades were produced in quantity in numerous workshops of founders according to the technique of the lost wax casting. The killing of the king of the animals associated with legends, the leopard, was the privilege of the chief, the Oba. The feline could then be used as an offering for the worship of the head of the chief. Sometimes tamed by various royal guilds, it accompanied the chief during his travels. The Oba, named "child of the leopard of the house", could also offer the teeth or the skin to commanders whose loyalty was evident. The rich iconography of Benin is therefore full of references to this animal. The sculpture, decorated with lozenge motifs representing the ocelli, has a brown and golden patina.  

Watch the video


This item is sold with its certificate of authenticity

Estimated shipping cost

Originex-colection corse
Height cm28
Depth11 cm
Width42 cm
Weight4.05 Kg
Estimated datingbronze tardif

You could also be interested by these items
Bronze MambilaCouple LobiPlaque BéninBronze VerrePlaque Bénin

You must login to access these options
   Warn me if a similar item is added to the catalog
   Warn me if the price decreases
Manage my alerts

You have question on this item ? contact us

Previously viewed items
African art  -  Brussels - Paris - London

© 2022 - Digital Consult SPRL

Essentiel Galerie SPRL
73A Rue de Tournai - 7333 Tertre - Belgique
+32 (0)65.529.100
visa Master CardPaypal