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Benin Bronze Cup - PF.4893
Origin: Southcentral Nigeria
Circa: 18 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 4.75" (12.1cm) high x 4.875" (12.4cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Benin
Medium: Bronze

Bronze cups such as this one are used by Osun specialists for Ewawa divination rituals. Osun is the goddess of fertility and protector of children. She is said to have given birth to the deity Esu, whose image is often depicted on divination objects. When a divination is to be made, the diviner places small brass images of humans, animals, cowries and other objects into the cup, shakes it and then turns the cup upside down upon a drum. The arrangement is then analyzed by the diviner in context with the client's particular problem. The face on the side is beautifully created and emits considerable power. It is both human and mythical, surrounded by a lovely pattern of spirals alternating with bands of jagged lines which are in fact snakes. The head is crowned by a bird which is a symbol of the spiritual power of women, and also a charm against witches. The combination of artistry, cultural iconography, magic and ritual are fused together in this wonderful cup to create an object as powerful and bold as the bronze from which it is made. - (PF.4893)


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