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African art - Bénin:

The art of Benin is described as a court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as the Oba. The tradition of Ifè bronze course objects dates back to the 14th century.


Benin court dwarf in bronze
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African art > African Statues > 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 ...

Leopard figure Benin
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African art > African bronze > 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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650.00 € 325.00 ( -50.0 %)

Bronze Benin statue
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African art > African Statues > 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 > African bronze > 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 > 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 > 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 > African bronze > 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 ...

Head Queen Mother Benin Uhumnwun elao
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African art > African bronze > 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 ...

Pair of Benin leopards
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African art > African bronze > 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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7950.00 € 3975.00 ( -50.0 %)

Couple of large leopards Benin Bini Edo
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African art > African bronze > 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 > African bronze > 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 ...

Benin leopard figure
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African art > African bronze > Bronze Benin

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. To be 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 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 ...


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Horn player Benin
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African art > African Statues > New product

In benign iconography, several types of horn players are denoted. It has a headdress, an oliphant and an embroidered tunic, many colirs. It is shown standing on a circular base with open outlines. Dark brown patina, grey-green inlays.

Many people thought they recognized in these figurines the ancestor of the dignitary of the court of Benin who, during royal processions, announced the arrival of the Oba and his entourage with the help of akohen or horn with side mouth, ivory cleverly carved.
This thesis is contradicted, however, by the leopard mask that these figurines sometimes wore on the left hip causing the tunic to be removed upwards, an attribute associated with military function.
In fact, between the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 17th century, ...


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Benin rider figure Bini Edo
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African art > African Statues > Benin Rider

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 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 sticks. They were used to commemorate an oba and to get in touch with his spirit. The craftsmen of Benin also produced figures of horseriders, representing according to interpretations either a benign king or a Yoruba emissary of the oyo cavalry. It could also be Oranmiyan, which ...

Figure of Portuguese soldier Benin
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African art > African Statues > 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 ...


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450.00 € 225.00 ( -50.0 %)

Leopard Benin in bronze
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African art > African bronze > New product

The palatial tribal art of Benin.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 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 Oba, named " ...


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Large Royal Altar Head Benin
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African art > African bronze > Large Royal Altar Head Benin

Ex private English collection of African art.

Altar heads are famous pieces in benign art. Like the other bronzes, they were cast using the lost wax technique. These pieces are very loaded with details and patterns. This royal head with realistic features has facial scarifications and many finely detailed ornaments. A recurring feature, the warhead headdress is imposing and beautifully decorated.

The art of Benin 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 artists of Benin were reserved for the exclusive use of the inhabitants of the royal palace and, more often than not, placed on ...

Figure Benin in bronze
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African art > African Statues > Statue bronze

This bronze statue depicts a member of the Blacksmiths Guild or a commissionaire in charge of trade with the Portuguese. Soberly dressed, he sports beaded jumpers between the traditional tattoos of the bust "iwu" and a long loincloth. The effigy probably formed the top of a cane. He carries an axe and a shackle, a symbol of trade with Europe. Abraded black skate, grey-green reflections. The many bronze 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, king of the ethnic group. These rectangular altars were surmounted by heads, statues, carved ivory tusks, bells and sticks. The commemorated Oba was subject to offerings in order to come into ...


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250.00 € 125.00 ( -50.0 %)

Benin Okpa rooster figure
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African art > African bronze > Bronze Benin

Ex-collection Spanish tribal art.
The royal iconography in the bronzes of African art of the benign kingdomThis animal evoking assurance and pride is a metaphor for the oldest wife of the Oba, the ruler of Benin. This is always the case in family harems. This is why the saying "the rooster sings the strongest" indeed qualifies the authority, wisdom and experience of the oldest wife. It was also part of the sacrificial offerings to the god Olokun. Produced by the guild of royal smelters, this zoomorphic figure is embellished with a finely streaked surface representing the plumage of the volatile. The animal is perched on a quadrangular base and an abundance of details are engraved on the whole. Black skate. Before the destruction of the palace of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, the ...


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Commemorative head Uhunmwum elao Benin
African art > African bronze > Head Benin

This bronze will be accompanied by his certificate of analysis from the German laboratory Ralf Kotalla. According to scientific expertise, the piece is estimated to be in the mid-17th century. At the time of the succession, the crown prince commanded a head of his late father, in bronze, which was arranged on the honorary altar of the ancestors. Coral beads made up the ornaments, headdresses, fins and necklaces, which are equipped with the royal head. The altar heads, symbols of wisdom and receptacles of energy, were cast using the technique of lost wax like other bronzes. Some were used as a base for carved ivory tusks. The walls of the bronze are relatively thick. Grey-green inlays, locally clearer patina.
This court art, closely associated with the king, known as Oba, dates back ...

Bronze Benin Dignitary
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African art > African Statues > Benin Statue

The fine execution of the details is representative of the work of excellence, in African art, of the craftsmen-blacksmiths of the benign court. This figure depicted on a cubic basis would be one of the heads of the palace, richly clothed dignitary identifiable by his ceremonial sword, or eben . He was responsible for accompanying the Oba, the king, during the palace ceremonies. The chiefs performed dances in which they threw their swords, but the task of picking them up fell to the guild Avbiogbe . The Oba also carried a ceremonial sword with which he greeted his ancestors during ceremonial rituals. The most prestigious sword, the Ada , was reserved for the chiefs of higher rank, the Omada . Before the destruction of the palace of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, the divine character of ...


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