Benin Brass Head-Shaped Bell - PF.4924
Origin: Southcentral Nigeria
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 6.125" (15.6cm) high x 3" (7.6cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Benin
Medium: Brass



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 Yoruba style, and the sculptor may have been influenced by the work of Benin's neighbors. Another interesting feature is the different colors of paint used to decorate the head. Paint was introduced by the Europeans and adapted by some African artists. The expressive power of this sculpture is derived from its artistry, and the long tradition of splendid Benin bronzes. - (PF.4924)



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