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African art - Edos Bénin:

Benin art is a court art, closely linked to the kings, the Oba. Indeed, the Benin kingdom produced numerous objects, mainly in bronze, for the palace inhabitants. Countless heads, brass statues, ivory tusks, sticks, steeples, horsemen's figures, plaques, jewellery and anthropomorphic figures adorned the king's altars. The works allowed contact with the Oba spirit. Furthermore, the horsemen figures represented the king or the Yoruba emissary of the Oyo cavalry. The bronze plaques, on the other hand, narrated scenes of war, as a tribute to the power of the kings. Another work is very present in Beninese art; the figure of the leopard, a primordial animal in the culture. Beninese bronzes are highly valued in African art. Unfortunately, the kingdom was destroyed by Admiral Sir Harry Raweson of the British Royal Navy. The numerous works were then dispersed to Europe and are now in some Western museums.

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

This commemorative figure of dignitary forms an intermediary between the spiritual world and the Edo people, and stands out thanks to a garment including sumptuous adornments of necklaces and talismans in agate and coral beads. Perched on a barrel-shaped piedestal, his attitude reflects presence and dignity. The kings of Benin being soldiers above all, he is represented with symbolic attributes illustrating power. 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 glorifying them were reproduced on narrative plates, in bronze, and affixed to the walls. Sumptuous bronze altars, commemorative figures of deceased chiefs, majestic felines, heavy bracelets, ...

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