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African art - Bénin:

Beninese art is described as court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as the oba. The tradition of Ifè bronze court objects dates back to the 14th century. The many bronze heads and statues created by Benin artists 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, the ethnic king. These rectangular altars were topped with heads, statues, carved ivory tusks, bells and sticks. They were used to commemorate an oba and to make contact with his spirit.


Royal equestrian figure Bini Edo Benin
African art > Bronze rider, wooden rider, dogon, yoruba > Benin rider

African art from Benin is described as court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as the Oba. The tradition of bronze court objects in the Benin kingdom dates back to the 14th century. The many brass heads and statues created by Benin artists 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 topped with heads, statues, carved ivory tusks, bells and sticks. They were used to commemorate an oba and to contact his spirit. Beninese artisans also produced figures of horsemen on horseback, representing either a Beninese king or a Yoruba emissary of the Oyo cavalry, depending on interpretation. It could also be Oranmiyan, who imported horses to ...

Benin horse rider
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African art > Bronze rider, wooden rider, dogon, yoruba > Benin horse rider

Numerous heads and statues out of bronze made by Benin craftmen were kept for personal use of the nobility., and , most of the time put on altars consecrated by each new Oba. These rectangular-shaped altars were surmounted by heads, statues, carved ivory tusks, bells and staffs. They were being used to recall a Oba and to get in touch with his spirit.


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Bronze Figure of King Benin
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Bronze Benin

Belgian tribal art collection.
The mastery of bronze in African art.
L'Oba has a so-called 'winged' headdress (ikekeze) which was introduced by the Oba Osemwede (1816 - 1848 as well as a ceremonial dress composed of numerous necklaces of coral pearls. Grainy patina.
The art of Bnin is described as a court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as oba . The tradition of bronze court objects by Ifè dates back to the 14th century. Before the destruction of the palace of the kingdom of Bnin in 1897, the divine character of the kings, the Oba , was illustrated by numerous 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 chiefs, ...

Figure of Portuguese soldier Benin
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Benin Statue

This bronze sculpture depicts a Portuguese soldier armed with a rifle, a dagger at the hip, dressed in his traditional military garb. The Portuguese arrived in Benin in the 15th century, endowed with a military arsenal that aroused great interest among kings. The power of firearms was then naturally associated with the occult defense against invisible enemies. In the 16th century, Europeans played a major role at the Oba court: they imported corals and glass beads, shackles also highly coveted by the king and his courtiers. At the same time, their soldiers participated in Benin's military campaigns, notably against the kingdom of Idah. The tremendous increase in imports of metal in the form of shackles, used as bargaining chips, provided bronze craftsmen with enormous quantities of raw ...

Bronze Benin dwarf figure
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Bronze Benin

Dressed in a loincloth, sporting necklaces of coral beads, the figure depicted realistically offers an imposing head in which the eyes appear blind. Satin black patina.
In African art, Benin art is described as a court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as Oba.
The dwarves of the king's entourage, which appeared in the 15th century, were intended not only for diversion, but also for surveillance. Occult gifts were indeed given to them. According to Fagg, these characters were also acrobats and illusionists. Their bronze figures were to adorn the altars of the ancestors.

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 codified works celebrating their ...


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

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, 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 numerous workshops of founders according to the technique of the lost wax casting. 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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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 ...

Head Queen Mother Benin Uhumnwun elao
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Head Benin

The African art of Benin is described as a court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as Oba. The tradition of bronze classroom objects from the Benin Kingdom dates back to the 14th century. The many bronze alloy 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 sticks. They were used to commemorate an oba and to get in touch with his spirit. This late sculpture, which was made on the death of the Queen, depicts a queen mother of Benin named the Iyoba , whose neck is surrounded by multiple necklaces of coral beads. Her high curved ...

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

The leopard, depicting the royal power, has a central place in the culture of the benign kingdom because this animal appears in the founding myth of which King Ewuare is the hero. According to legend, he 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 embodiment of supernatural forces. Being spared by these predators is therefore a sign of a divine blessing. Before the destruction of the palace of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, the divine character of the kings, the Oba , was illustrated by numerous 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 chiefs, heavy ...


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

The palatial tribal art of Benin.
This bronze sculpture engraved with lozenges indicating the ocelles of the coat has a black brown patina.
The killing of the king of animals associated with legends, the leopard, was the privilege of the chief, the Oba. The feline could then serve as an offering for the cult of the head of the chief. 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.
Before the destruction of the palace of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, the divine character of the kings, the Oba, was illustrated by numerous works celebrating their ...

Benin Bronze Portuguese Colon Plate
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Benin Bronze Portuguese Colon Plate

Ex-Belgian tribal art collection.
The mastery of bronze in African art. This exceptional and ancient piece depicts a Portuguese settler.
This character carrying in the right hand what appears to be a firecracker and in the left hand a sword. The shackles (open bronze ring) encircling the figure testify to the importance of the Portuguese to the Oba, king of the ethnic group, and the dominant class of the Kingdom Benin in the 16th century.
Indeed, the tremendous increase in imports of metal in the form of shackles, used as a bargaining chip, provided bronze craftsmen with huge quantities of raw material for their works and contributed greatly to the economic boom. Benin.
The Portuguese is therefore presented here as a provider of wealth. In the 16th century, they ...

Benin court dwarf in bronze
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Benin Statue

Simply dressed, the character with rounded volumes offers an imposing head with protruding cheekbones in which the sunken eyes could indicate blindness. The folded arms with clenched fists give the silhouette an idea of movement and vigour. The legs are proportionally reduced. Beautiful spotted patina, golden reflections. In African art, Benin art is described as court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as Oba.
The dwarves of the king's entourage, which appeared in the 15th century, were intended not only for diversion, but also for surveillance. They were given occult gifts. According to Fagg, these characters were also acrobats and illusionists. Their bronze figures were to garnish the altars of the ancestors.

Before the destruction of the palace ...

Bronze Benin statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Benin

Seric, intermediate between the spiritual world and the Edo people, this character is distinguished by a dress reminiscent of the sumptuous adornments of necklaces and talismans in agate and coral beads. Symbolic elements illustrating its power, its attributes are an offering horn and a scepter that consists of a feline paw. Sometimes tamed by various royal guilds, the leopard 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. Before the destruction of the palace of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, the divine character of the kings, the Oba , was illustrated by numerous works celebrating their power. War scenes ...


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Bronze Benin commemorative head
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Head Benin

Wearing a seaily that consisted of coral beads, from which laterally protrude from fins, this head with a circular border represents a ruler (oba) of Benin. Symbol of wealth, this coral reserved for kings and digesters of the palace had to be regularly anointed with the blood of the victims in order to acquire a magical power. The lateral appendages named ikekeze protrude from the crown. Golden beige patina.
Famous in benign art, altar heads, symbols of wisdom and receptacles of energy, were cast using the technique of lost wax like other bronzes. Benin art is described as a court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as oba. The tradition of Ifè's bronze classroom objects dates back to the 14th century.
The many bronze heads and statues created by the ...

Benin rooster figure Edo Okpa
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Bronze Benin

Metaphor of royal power in the African art of the Benin Kingdom
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, mainly bronze sculptures, celebrating their power. War scenes glorifying them were reproduced on narrative plates, in bronze, and affixed to the walls. Sumptuous bronze altars, commemorative figures of deceased chefs, majestic felines, heavy bracelets, hairs and recades were produced in quantity in many workshops of smelters according to the technique of cast iron with lost wax. Placed on the altar dedicated to the Queen Mother as early as the 16th century in Benin City in Nigeria, the bronze depicting a rooster, Okpa, glorified royal power by its alt-like appearance. Produced ...

Benin altar figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Benin Statue

The mastery of bronze in African art.

A rebellion in the 18th century would have forced the king, or Oba , Ewuakpe to leave the palace to escape in his native village. His royal crown was replaced by a European helmet. However, he is depicted with his ceremonial sword Eben , seeking to regain his throne. The second object he has would be a lightning stone, in the shape of an axe, symbol of Ogiuwu , god of death and thunder. Black brown patina, golden highlights and grey-green inlays.
The art of Benin is described as a court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as oba. The tradition of bronze classroom objects from Ifè dates back to the 14th century. Before the destruction of the palace of the kingdom of Benin in 1897, the divine character of ...


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Bracelet / Primitive Benin Currency
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Benin Currency

Steffen Patzwahl Collection.
African craftsmen and bracelets The state of Benin developed in southern Nigeria until the end of the 19th century, when the production of copper alloy ceremonial objects reinforced the divine character of the sovereign. Igueghae , a craftsman from Ifé, was commissioned to court Benin in the 14th century to teach the technique of cast iron with lost wax. The objects were made of brass (copper and zinc), more rarely bronze (copper and tin), extracted from the Bauchi mines in Nigeria, but also from the copper trade from the Maghreb. In the 15th century Europeans also imported metal in the form of shackles, which also became bargaining chips. (Laure Meyer) This adornment was a wedding bracelet that was part of the dowry. A chisel composed of fine linear and ...

Pair of Benin leopards
African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Benin leopards

The palatial tribal art of Benin.
Symbols of the Oba, these naturalistic zoomorphic figures, with neat details, form a majestic pair where leopards with slender bodies are depicted on alert, roaring. The tail coming back to rest on the neckline forms a graceful curve. The surface of the metal is printed with lozenges evoking ocelles. Grey-green oxidations. Slight gaps.
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 plates, in bronze, and affixed to the walls. Sumptuous bronze altars, commemorative figures of deceased chiefs, heavy bracelets, hairs and recades were produced in quantity in many workshops of smelters ...


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Couple of large leopards Benin Bini Edo
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Couple of large leopards Benin Bini Edo

Bronze in the African art of the Benin Kingdom
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 glorifying them were reproduced on narrative plates, in bronze, and affixed to the walls. Sumptuous bronze altars, commemorative figures of deceased chefs, majestic felines, 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 ...

Teite of Queen Benin Uhumnwun elao
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Bronze Benin

The African art of Benin is described as a court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as Oba. The tradition of bronze classroom objects from the Benin Kingdom dates back to the 14th century. The many bronze alloy 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 sticks. They were used to commemorate an oba and to get in touch with his spirit. This late sculpture, which was made on the death of the Queen, depicts a queen mother of Benin named the Iyoba , whose neck is surrounded by multiple necklaces of coral beads. Her high curved ...





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