The African art of Benin, a court art closely associated with King Oba, 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 placed on altars consecrated by each new Oba. This late, figurative sculpture, reminiscent of those made on the death of sovereigns, also reproduces the "masks-belt pendants" in ivory.
The fine-featured face is adorned with elements reproducing the coral bead necklaces and ornaments of the Obas of Benin. This would be Queen Benin named Iyoba Idia.
After the birth of the future king, the queen was "removed" from power and could no longer father. But at the end of the 15th century the Oba Esigie refused to conform to this practice and wanted to attribute the town of Uselu to his mother. She also received a palace and many privileges. In recognition she raised an army to go and fight the Igala of the North. The Oba cast a head in his effigy, among many works cast in lost wax, to place them on his altar after his death.
(Benin, B. Plankensteiner)
Black patina, khaki reflections.
Height on base: 48 cm.
This item is sold with its certificate of authenticity
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