African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Bénin Statue
Bénin Statue (N° 24478)
Late sculpture of the Edo type, in bronze alloy. It features a seated dignitary, which could represent the Oba Ewuakpe who was forced to wear a European helmet after being deprived of his prerogatives because of a rebellion.
Black abraded patina.
Before the destruction of the palace of the kingdom of Benin 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, in bronze, and affixed to the walls. Sumptuous bronze altars, commemorative figures of deceased chiefs, heavy bracelets, anklets and recades were produced in quantity in many foundry workshops using the lost wax casting technique. The numerous 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.
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