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Benin Brass Head-Shaped Bell - SP.082
Origin: Benin/Nigeria/ Africa/
Circa: 16 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 6.3" (16.0cm) high
Collection: African Art
Style: Benin
Medium: Bronze
Condition: Extra Fine

Benin art is directly related to the king, used to glorify and immortalize the noble rulers. The king (oba) employed his own guild of artisans who lived in the same district of the city. Due to the importance of art in extoling the temporal power of the king, only the finest sculptors and artists were retained. This intriguing bronze head was probably made as an altar piece, depicting an oba as indicated by the crown. The facial features are very much in the Benin style, and the sculptor may have been influenced by the work of his neighbors.The Ife tribe. The expressive power of this sculpture is derived from its artistry, and the long tradition of splendid Benin bronzes. One of the principal historic kingdoms (12th–19th century) of the western African forest region. Founded by the Edo people, the kingdom was centred on present-day Benin City in southern Nigeria.With the accession of Ewuare the Great in the mid 15th century, the Benin kingdom was vastly expanded, including the founding of the city of Lagos. The Portuguese first visited Benin in the late 15th century, and, for a time, Benin traded ivory, palm oil, pepper, and slaves with Portuguese and Dutch traders. Benin stopped trading slaves with Europeans in the 18th century and focused attention on dependent regions around it. Succession struggles in the 18th and 19th centuries put a series of weaker kings on the throne. After the British attacked and burned Benin City in 1897, the kingdom was incorporated into British Nigeria. - (SP.082)


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